2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Religious Fundamentalism Versus Pluralism: The Rise of Sufi Music in South Asia
Syed Muhammad M. Zaidi
Dr. Marc Rice, Faculty Mentor

The Indian Subcontinent has historically been prey to civil discord, bloody religious factionalism, ethnic clashes and massacres. An evaluation of current affairs reveals that these incidents continue to plague South Asia. Perhaps it is due to such violence and strife that new social movements have embraced the message of community, peace and love found in Sufi poetry and music. Indeed some commentators go so far as to claim that South Asia is witnessing a dramatic revival of Sufi music, often in the form of modern pop music (Manuel, 2008, 385). In this study I primarily aim to explain this phenomenon as the product of genuine expression by educated youth to their polluted socio-political environment. A deeper investigation also reveals that such efforts are supported by secular political elites seeking to encourage norms of pluralism, tolerance and non-violence, commonly found in Sufi shrine culture, against the backdrop of rising religious fanaticism.

Keywords: politics, music, Islam , Sufi, religion, violence, pluralism, asia

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary
Political Science
Music

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 37-2
Location: MG 1098
Time: 3:00

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