Talk on Urs, Qawwali and Memorialising Sufi Saints of Punjab by Dr.Yogesh Snehi (5 March 2020)

Talk on Urs, Qawwali and Memorialising Sufi Saints of Punjab by Dr.Yogesh Snehi 



Partition history informs us about the huge migration of Punjabi Muslims from East Punjab to Pakistan in 1947, leaving behind a large spectrum of Sufi shrines in its rural and urban landscapes. Unlike mosques and other Muslim institutions which were put to alternate use, Sufi saint shrines soon recovered their character. This process of recovery was mediated through processes of memorializing the Sufi saints of Punjab by existing and new non-Muslim caretakers. However, not much is known about the memorial practices of Sufi saint veneration brought to India by migrating Hindu and Sikh refugees. What inspired these non-Muslims to reinstate saint veneration practices? Even more intriguing are new set of shrines which were established by these non-Muslim refugees in east Punjab post-partition. Several of these emerged in the twenty-first century, soon after the terrible period of militancy. Through audio-visual presentation will Dr. Yogesh Snehi share some field insights to understand and make sense of memorializing Sufi saint shrines and practice in post-partition Punjab.

 Dr.Yogesh Snehi teaches history at the School of Liberal Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi, India.  Previously, he was a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla (2013–15).  Snehi’s major teaching and research interests focus on Punjab and debates on popular religion and its practice.  Through a Tasveer Ghar fellowship (2010-11), he created a digital repository of images for the ‘heidICON’ image and multimedia database of Heidelberg University.  This repository has more than five hundred images ranging from postcard-size and pocket-size prints, CD-DVD and book covers, posters, large flex-banners, Photoshop collage, digital photographs, etc. are in circulation at Sufi shrines in contemporary Punjab (  Snehi’s recently published monograph Spatializing Popular Sufi Shrines in Punjab: Dreams, Memories, Territoriality (2019, London & New Delhi: Routledge) uses this and other audio-visual collections to situate saint veneration practices in the partitioned (Indian) Punjab. This audio-visual collection captures the form and content of worship, rituals, and practices at Sufi saint shrines which present an enchanted world of non-Muslim veneration of Sufi saint in the contemporary east Punjab.


Day: Thursday

Date: 5 March 2020

Time: 4:00pm


Venue: Himalaya-105

Page last updated on March, 2020