By David Gilmartin, Bruce B. Lawrence
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Extra resources for Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia
Where the justification does frame the story, it makes explicit several key features of the narratives that lend Satya P•r his broad appeal and certainly contribute to his endurance and adaptability. 16 While yavana is often translated as “Muslim,” its derivation is a word indicating “Ionian” or “Greek,” with the implication that a yavana is someone who comes overland from the west (about the only direction from which new peoples entered Bengal in numbers until the colonial period). , Pathan or Turk).
6 A number of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century texts relate new exploits, but it is in the period of easy access to inexpensive printing and the concomitant creation of great entrepreneurial fortunes, the midnineteenth to early twentieth centuries, that his literature burgeons into one of the most prolific in Bengali. It is then that he moves into the rapidly expanding metropolitan areas of Calcutta and Dhaka. With the political realignments of the twentieth century, his popularity has shifted and today clings to the metropolitan fringe, while resurging in more rural areas that one might characterize as the new frontier of development, especially where population densities are still very much constrained by geophysical barriers, such as the mangrove swamps of the Sunderband and the mountain fringes ringing Bangladesh from Chittagong in the southeast to Rangpur in the north.
Not only are the institutional structures of the p•r and vairåg•, then, analogous in a general way, but their operational and theological underpinnings are closely equivalent, and this is borne out in comparisons of both general and historically specific dimensions of theology, such as the nature of the godhead and the injunctions to ritual practices. While it is easy to speculate in purely intellectual or theological terms why these two traditions may be inclined to find a mutual alliance, it is their operational dimension that bears out the practicality of it—and that allows the Vaißn$avas to appropriate the image of Satya P•r with virtual impunity—in fact, one might even argue, with a very unsurprising anticipation if not expectation of its inevitability.
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