2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

The Cultural Weight of Agha Shahid Ali's "Prayer Rug"
Douglas M. Taul
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Agha Shahid Ali was a politically active and religiously attuned poet whose sense of identity was firmly rooted in a history that appears to be fading far too quickly. In his poem Prayer Rug, a poem dedicated to his grandmother, Ali juxtaposes the annual ceremony of Hajj, the Muslim piligrimage to Mecca, with tones of sadness and exhaustion. He creates a sense of potency and importance within the prayer ceremony by using religious allusions and imagery, but unfortunately these Islamic characterstics are becoming outdated and unwanted by the younger generations in the poem. This essay will analyze Agha Shahid Alis use of religious references as well as his utilization of imagery and symbolism, particualrly in relation to the grandmother, in an attempt to give this poem as much cultural identity as it can capture.

Keywords: Religion, Poetry , Islam, History, Generations, Mecca, Culture, Identity

Middle Eastern Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 309-4
Location: VH 1232
Time: 1:45

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