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Terrains of ExchangeReligious Economies of Global Islam$
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Nile Green

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190222536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190222536.001.0001

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The Invention of A Hindu Sufism

The Invention of A Hindu Sufism

(p.177) 5 The Invention of A Hindu Sufism
Terrains of Exchange

Nile Green

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses a case study of a Hindu religious impresario who championed a Muslim holy man to show how, in the social production of religion, agency is more important than identity. Focusing on the Urdu pilgrimage diary of Kishan Parshad, the Hindu prime minister of Hyderabad State, the chapter shows how he created a “Hindu Sufism” as a means to overcome the increasing disunity of Hindus and Muslims in the early twentieth century. Written by the leading Hindu politician of the Muslim-ruled state of Hyderabad, Parshad’s printed diary described to the Indian public his devotion to the miracle-working former Muslim soldier, Taj al-Din of Nagpore. Sprinkled with his reflections on the essential unity of all religions, in the context of late colonial India the diary reflected Parshad’s wider religious innovations aimed at reducing inter-communal conflict. Turning to Parshad’s Muslim contemporaries, the chapter shows that such cosmopolitan religious innovations were also undertaken by various Muslim religious entrepreneurs in Hyderabad, who created such new hybrid systems as Muslim Freemasonry and Sufi Vedanta. In this way, the chapter’s case studies show that the outcomes of religious exchange could be cosmopolitan and co-operative no less than antagonistic and competitive.

Keywords:   Islam, Sufism, Hinduism, Yoga, Freemasonry, religious economy, colonialism, missionaries, India, Hyderabad

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