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“Sindhis are Sufi by Nature”: Sufism as a Marker of Identity in Sindh

Abstract : This article questions the place of Sufism in Sindhi identity construction in independent Pakistan. I explore the political implications and the intellectual genealogy of a statement often made in the Pakistani province of Sindh by people who claim to be “Sufi by nature”. The first section examines the construction and diffusion of the now-dominant Sindhi identity discourse in which being Sufi is presented as an essential trait of being Sindhi, from its colonial roots to its formalization by G.M. Sayed. The second part of the chapter turns to the “contested nature of Sufism”, or Sufism at the heart of the “struggle over representations” in Sindh. I show that the wide diffusion of Sufism as a symbol of Sindh in the public arena should be understood as the spread of an “empty signifier” that can act as a symbol of unity so long as it remains loosely defined.
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Julien Levesque. “Sindhis are Sufi by Nature”: Sufism as a Marker of Identity in Sindh. Deepra Dandekar; Torsten Tschacher. Islam, Sufism and Everyday Politics of Belonging in South Asia, Routledge, pp.212-227, 2016, 9781138910683. ⟨halshs-02464387v2⟩

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