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Reliving KarbalaMartyrdom in South Asian Memory$
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Syed Akbar Hyder

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195373028

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373028.001.0001

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Visions and Re-visions of Karbala

Visions and Re-visions of Karbala

(p.13) 1 Visions and Re-visions of Karbala
Reliving Karbala

Syed Akbar Hyder

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the texts and contexts of the majlis by reflecting on commemorations by Shii Muslims. It discusses the aesthetics of the majlis by focusing on Karbala’s contribution to Urdu literature and poetics. This discussion entwines itself around issues of shifting cultural and regional codes, that in turn facilitate a localization of Karbala in South Asia. It also draws attention to the ways in which Karbala is invoked to mediate the personal sorrows of the devotees. The styles of Shii mourning, the texts and formats of the commemorative gatherings, and the general discourse surrounding Karbala vary over time and space, and what appears in this chapter are just a few reflections of Shii commemorations. This chapter brings to light the imaginative aesthetic and devotional frameworks within which Karbala and martyrdom are articulated, re-articulated, and localized within Shii contexts.

Keywords:   Karbala, majlis, commemorations, Urdu literature, poetics, South Asia, mourning, martyrdom, Shii Muslims

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