Conclusion: What Is Vernacular in the Sufi Paradigm?



The construction of the Sufi paradigm as a matrix of vernacular knowledge has resulted from a number of complex processes, both internal to Sindh and external, including international factors. This complexity is primarily reflected in the diversity of actors and agents. This study has identified colonizers who were sensitive to the development of social sciences, primarily ethnology such as Richard Burton. Other key actors were Sindhi civil servants, mostly belonging to two main social groups: the Amils and downgraded Muslim groups. While the Amils had been professionally literate for several generations, other members of this intelligentsia belonged to declassed or marginal groups and did not belong to the traditional elites: there were, for example, very few Sayyids or Brahmins among them. As far as the construction of the Sufi paradigm itself is concerned, it was the choice of a paradigmatic text that made its appearance possible: the Shah jo risalo. Since the poet equates Muslim and Hindu beliefs, which can be subsumed as being the quest for the oneness of God, it promotes the identification of all sections of Sindh society. While the broadening of the paradigm reflected the entry of subcultures, whether geographical or sectarian, the intelligentsia was also able to promote a “modern being” within the Sindhis, adopting the aims of Western spiritual movements, especially those of the Theosophical Society.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for South Asian StudiesSchool for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS)/National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)ParisFrance

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