Jyoti Gulati Balachandran, "Narrative Pasts: The Making of a Muslim Community in Gujarat, C. 1400-1650" (Oxford UP, 2020)

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Jyoti Gulati Balachandran's Narrative Pasts: The Making of a Muslim Community in Gujarat, c. 1400-1650 (Oxford University Press, 2020) explores the complex power of Sufi texts in creating Muslim communities in Gujarat from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries. Balachandran focuses on three main Sufi saints, including Ahmad Khattu, whose disciples chronicled his life and legacy through various literary productions in Persian and Arabic. The study provides a social history of Gujarat through a deep analysis of Sufi textual traditions, such as compilations of public assemblies (malfuzat) and genealogical and biographical (tazkirat) texts. The complex process of textual production and architectural developments, such as Sufi shrines, in Gujarat showcases a vibrant and complex history of Islam, one that hinges on Gujarat sultans, Suhrawardi Sufis, and local Muslim communities. The book provides significant insights into Gujarat’s sultanate and Sufism, while also further complicating the history of medieval and early modern South Asian Islam. This book will be of interest to those who think and write about Sufism, South Asian Islamic history, sacred spaces and textual production and much more.

Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at shobhana.xavier@queensu.ca. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier.

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