South Asia Graduate Students Forum

2010 - 2011

Simranjeet Singh (Religion, March 21, 2011): Re-Textualizing Sheikh Farid: Anamnetic Authorship in 17th Century PunjabThis paper explores the ways in which oral and written texts have been transmitted across linguistic communities of premodern Punjab. It will focus specifically on the understudied but critically important personage of Sheikh Farid ad-Din Masud Ganj-e Shakkar (d. 1265 CE). Popularly known as Sheikh Farid or Baba Farid, this figure continues to be revered for his contributions to the religious and cultural milieu of South Asia. This paper will look at representations of Sheikh Farid through two closely connected Gurmukhi texts: the Adi Granth, which was compiled in 1604 by the Sikh community, and a hagiography entitled Masle Sheikh Farid Ke, which was composed in the middle of the 17th century by the Mina community. With the help of Christian Novetzke's recent work on Saint Namdev and Christopher Shackle's linguistic analysis of Southwestern Punjabi, this paper aims to explore the transmission of writings ascribed to Sheikh Farid through orality, performance, textualization, and "anamnetic authorship," while also shedding light on three underrepresented entities: Sheikh Farid, the Mina tradition, and Masle Sheikh Farid Ke.

Monday, February 21, 2011
Presentation by Mohsin Mohi-ud-Din (SIPA):
"Kashmir: The Quiet Fire of South Asia" Monday, January 24, 2011
Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 W. 122nd Street
(Between Broadway and Claremont)

Presentation by Patton Burchett (Religion):
"Two Hanumans in One: Rasiks and Yogis in Early Modern Bhakti"Andrew Ollett (MESAAS, March 7), Monday, March 7, 2011
4:10-6:00 p.m.
Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street
(Between Broadway and Claremont Avenue)

Presentation by Andrew Ollett (MESAAS):
"Metrics and the History of the Natyashastra"
The Natyashastra is the fundamental text on Indian dramaturgy and related subjects, from aesthetics to dialectology. But the text is often confusing, and its role in literary and intellectual history far from clear, owing to circumstances of its compilation and transmission about which we know relatively little. The two sections of Sanskrit and Prakrit meters, however, provide some important indirect evidence for those circumstances: the form of the definitions, the content of the examples, the sequence of meters, their treatment in the only surviving commentary, and the sources of the text can help us to understand the processes by which this important text took shape.

Wednesday November 3, 2010 4:10-6:00 p.m. Knox Hall, Room 208, 606 West 122nd Street (between Broadway and Claremont Avenue)

Presentation by Pasha Mohamad Khan (Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies)

"Marvelous Histories; Or, Ghalib and the Simurgh"

In Delhi in the 1860s, the eminent Urdu/Persian poet Mirza Asad Allah Khan Ghalib wrote a preface to a romance (dastan/qissah), in which he defended the romance genre from the belittlement of partisans of the history (tarikh). Evoking the Shahnamah to further his argument, Ghalib raises questions regarding the line between romance and history, two genres that were often opposed, but which exhibited an alarming tendency to infect one another. The paper will consider how it is that Ghalib could regard an event, creature or object as simultaneously impossible and historical. In order to do this it will distinguish between two genres of history, the intellective and the transmission-based (`aqli and naqli), and their situations in late Mughal India.

The Forum format is as follows:
20-30 minutes: Presentation
20-30 minutes: Q & A and discussion
60 minutes: Reception (food, samosa etc., and drink provided)