The Sufi Paradigm and the Normative Regimes of Knowledge



This chapter analyzes the different normative regimes of knowledge that challenged the dominance of the Sufi paradigm. From the late nineteenth century, a multitude of factors, both internal and external, led to re-readings of sacred texts by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and others. This intricate process led believers to build normative regimes of knowledge that intended to harmonize and uniformize each religious tradition. We observe this same dynamic among Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. In Sindh, the publications made in the late nineteenth century show the will to “codify” the different religious traditions. This development was critical to the rise of communalism, as well as the spread of nationalism under several different framings. Beside the codification process, many reformist movements aimed at modernizing the religious traditions. The reformist movements could be universalist or paving the way to communalism and nationalism. However, most of the time, the Sindhis saw no contradiction between the Sufi paradigm and the emergence of reform movements, both operating in different registers. Nevertheless, the chapter concludes with an analysis of the new situation that emerged in the late 1920s, which shows that the Sufi paradigm was weakened in the face of the rise of communalism in the province.


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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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