ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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September 11: Many Messages

The terrorist attacks of September 11 hold major messages for the US, the rulers of Muslim countries and for terrorists who speak in the name of Islam.

'Terrible Tuesday': Worm's and Bird's Eye Views

There are two views, the worm's and the bird's on every event, including 'Terrible Tuesday'. The worm's (or the FBI's) view might tell us how the tragedy was planned and who were involved in the act. In contrast, the bird's (or the scholar's) view tells us why the tragedy occurred and how long it has been in the making. To make sense of the disaster we need to look at it from both angles.

Shivaji's Myth and Maharashtra's Syncretic Traditions

Despite fears of increasing communalisation in public life and the attempt to portray Shivaji as a 'Hindu' raja, long-standing syncretic traditions observed by followers of different communities, from diverse caste backgrounds continue to flourish till date across Maharashtra. As borne out by several case studies cited in this article, Hindus and Muslims frequent dargahs, mazars and chillahs, and there are instances of temples in the Konkan region drawing followers of Islam. There are also shrines and sacred sites that possess a dual identity - they are both a dargah and a temple at the same time; deities bear both Hindu and Islamic names and priests of both communities officiate at ceremonies.

Situating the Gentoo in History

The rise of Islam in the seventh century and a fear generated by its consequent expansion and continued resurgence in the face of European aggression, exercised a strong hold on the European imagination. The search for a sea route was not merely to seek alternative trade routes to the 'Spice lands'; it was also an exercise, sponsored by the church and royalty to win Christian allies in the hitherto unexplored world for the battle against Islam. Vasco da Gama was followed by several other Europeans - yet the diversity and the rich complexity they enencountered gave rise to varying perceptions. It was the Portuguese who first labelled the native inhabitants - the 'gentoos' or 'gentios' - a term that was used as late as 1774 by the British, to denote this time, the religion of the natives.

Muslims in South Asia

Islam and Muslim History in South Asia by Francis Robinson; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2000; Rs 595, pp viii+299.

Understanding Islam and Its Influences

Essays on Islam and Indian History by Richard M Eaton, Oxford University Press, 2000, Delhi, Rs 595, pp x+275.


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