Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory by Syed Akbar HyderReliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory by Syed Akbar Hyder

Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory

bySyed Akbar Hyder

Hardcover | May 4, 2006

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In 680 C.E., a small band of the Prophet Muhammads family and their followers, led by his grandson, Husain, rose up in a rebellion against the ruling caliph, Yazid. The family and its supporters, hopelessly outnumbered, were massacred at Karbala, in modern-day Iraq. The story of Karbala is thecornerstone of institutionalized devotion and mourning for millions of Shii Muslims. Apart from its appeal to the Shii community, invocations of Karbala have also come to govern mystical and reformist discourses in the larger Muslim world. Indeed, Karbala even serves as the archetypal resistanceand devotional symbol for many non-Muslims. Until now, though, little scholarly attention has been given to the widespread and varied employment of the Karbala event. In Reliving Karbala, Syed Akbar Hyder examines the myriad ways that the Karbala symbol has provided inspiration in South Asia, home to the worlds largest Muslim population. Rather than a unified reading of Islam, Hyder reveals multiple, sometimes conflicting, understandings of the meaning ofIslamic religious symbols like Karbala. He ventures beyond traditional, scriptural interpretations to discuss the ways in which millions of very human adherents express and practice their beliefs. By using a panoramic array of sources, including musical performances, interviews, nationalist drama,and other literary forms, Hyder traces the evolution of this story from its earliest historical origins to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Today, Karbala serves as a celebration of martyrdom, a source of personal and communal identity, and even a tool for political protest and struggle. Hyder explores how issues related to gender, genre, popular culture, class, and migrancy bear on the cultivation of religious symbols. He assesses themanner in which religious language and identities are negotiated across contexts and continents. At a time when words like martyrdom, jihad, and Shiism are being used and misused for political reasons, this book provides much-needed scholarly redress. Through his multifaceted examination of this seminal event in Islamic history, Hyder offers an original, complex, and nuanced view of religioussymbols.
Syed Akbar Hyder is Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and Islamic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2000.
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Title:Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian MemoryFormat:HardcoverDimensions:278 pages, 6.42 × 9.41 × 0.98 inPublished:May 4, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195189302

ISBN - 13:9780195189308

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Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"Akbar Hyders wide-ranging study examines the Karbala metaphor not just in the Urdu language but in fact in the full richness of the lives of the over one hundred million speakers of that language in South Asia. His chapter on the use of the Karbala story by and among Sufis is a brilliantexpose of just how wide-spread in use and non-sectarian in purpose the Karbala story has always been. His juxtaposition of the Muslim Muhammad Iqbal, the Poet-philosopher of Pakistan, with the Hindu Premchand, the Gandhian champion of Indian peasantry, allows us to comprehend the amazing range ofthe metaphorical force of Karbala. These and many other insights make this book an exhilarating read, not only to Urdu scholars but to all humanistic scholars interested in Islamicate literatures and societies." --C. M. Naim, Professor Emeritus, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University ofChicago