Contestations and Transformations: The Shared Religious Space of Jhule Lal in Sindh, Pakistan

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Muhbat Ali Shah
Aisha Anees Malik, PhD

Abstract

Syncretic and shared religious spaces have long been perceived as reflections of tolerance. This does not imply that tolerance is completely liberated from multiple clashing components and the coexistence of interfaith practices do not suggest that hostility is entirely missing. In recent times, a transformation is taking place at the shared space of the Jhule Lal by the dominant religious group. However, there remains an appearance of tolerance at the shared space of the Jhule Lal among believers of both Islam and Hinduism, which blinds the observer of the deep internal contestation and process of transformation between both Sindhi Hindus and Sindhi Muslims who revere the same saint of the Jhule Lal. A syncretic space does not simply absorb different religious groups, and by studying the practices, rituals and interactions of the custodians, visitors and devotees at the shrine, this paper aims to unearth the processes through which shrine is contested in multiple identities, discourse (written, textual, verbal) authority, and belief systems.

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