Islamic deshbhakti: Inscribing a Sufi shrine into the Indian nation-space

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This article presents an analysis of an iconographical series that has recently emerged in video compact discs (VCDs) devoted to Sufi Chishtiyya shrines (dargahs) in central and north India. This series superimposes the image of the important shrine of Ajmer onto the map of India, hinting at and employing the popular iconography of Goddess Bharat Mata, especially in its relatively recent versions employed by the Hindu right as a significant agent for constituting a Hinduised nation and public space. What significance does the application of this loaded Hindu formula hold in the spaces of popular Islam? Following Bourdieu's (1985) theory of the Social Space, I address this iconography as an economy of signs hinting at the shifting contours of Hindu nationhood while simultaneously endowing Islamic symbols with a powerful position, claiming for enhanced political participation and, at times, for authority over the Indian nation-space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-277
Number of pages29
JournalContributions to Indian Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Hindu nationalism
  • Indian Islam
  • Sufi dargahs
  • VCDs
  • visual culture

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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