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Reflections on South Asian Islam. Carl Ernst, UNC-CH International Studies Schools Association “ Muslim Diasporas ” panel Durham NC, Feb. 17, 2006 . Significant historical dates (war and politics). 711: Arabs conquer Indus valley (Sind)

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Reflections on south asian islam
Reflections on South Asian Islam

Carl Ernst, UNC-CH

International Studies Schools Association

“Muslim Diasporas” panel

Durham NC, Feb. 17, 2006


Significant historical dates war and politics
Significant historical dates (war and politics)

  • 711: Arabs conquer Indus valley (Sind)

  • Ca. 1000: Turkish empire based in Ghazna raids northern India

  • 1206: Delhi Sultanate established

  • 1526: Mughal Empire established

  • 1757: British victory at Plassey (Bengal)

  • 1857: Indian “Mutiny” against British

  • 1947: Partition of British India into India and Pakistan

  • 1971: Bangladesh independence from Pakistan

  • 1979: Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

  • 2001: US overthrow Taliban

Akbar tames a wild elephant


South asian muslims 1 3 of world s muslims
South Asian Muslims: 1/3+ of world’s Muslims

  • Pakistan 162 million (97%)

  • India 145 million (13.4%)

  • Bangladesh 120 million (83%)

  • Afghanistan 30 million (99%)

  • Sri Lanka 1.5 million (7.6%)

  • Nepal 1.2 million (4.2%)

  • Maldives 350,000 (100%)


Some aspects of islam in south asia
Some aspects of Islam in South Asia

  • Local languages (Urdu, Bengali, etc.) plus influence of Arabic and Persian

  • Sufi spirituality and saints’ shrines

  • Indian customs of marriage, food, art, clothing, and music

  • “Anglo-Mohammedan”legal system from colonialperiod

  • Modern Islamic religious schools (Deoband)

  • Debates over Islamic state

Tomb of Burhan al-Din, Khuldabad


Cool thing no 1 where did adam fall to earth
Cool thing no. 1:Where did Adam fall to earth?


Answer adam s peak sri lanka
Answer: Adam’s Peak – Sri Lanka

Shrine visited by Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta in 1347

Contains footprint of Adam*

*or the Buddha, or Shiva


Revisiting a symbol of islam in south asia cool thing no 2
Revisiting a symbol of Islam in South Asia (Cool thing no. 2)

Tourist cliché of royal romance?

Taj Mahal as Qur’anic text: quotations from 28 different suras are inscribed; mystical symbol of the Garden of Resurrection


Further resources
Further resources 2)

  • South Asia Resource Access on the Internet (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/southasia/cuvl/)

  • Islam in South Asia (Prof. Frances Pritchett) (http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/index.html)

  • Novels from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other resources including this presentation (http://www.unc.edu/~cernst/)

Shrine of Shahul Hamid, Nagore)