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Muslim Devotional Art in India

Yousuf Saeed
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"This book highlights the history of Islamic popular devotional art and visual culture in 20th-century India, weaving the personal narrative of the author’s journey through his understanding of the faith. It begins with an introductory exploration of how the basic and universal image of Mecca and Medina may have been imported into Indian popular print culture and what variants it resulted in here. Besides providing a historical context of the pre-print culture of popular Muslim visuality, the book also explores the impact the 1947 Partition of India may have made on the calendar art in South Asia. A significant portion of the book focuses on the contemporary prints of different localised images found in India and what role these play in the users’ lives, especially in the augmentation of their popular faith and cultural practices. The volume also compares the images published in India with some of those available in Pakistan to reflect different socio-political trajectories. Finally, it discusses why such a vibrant visual culture continues to thrive among South Asian Muslims despite the questions raised by the orthodoxy on its legitimacy in Islam, and why images and popular visual cultures are inevitable for popular piety despite the orthodox Muslims’ increasing dissociation from them. This work is one of the first books on Indian Muslim poster art, with rare images and simple narratives, anecdotes about rituals, ceremonies and cultural traditions running parallel to research findings. This second edition contains a new Afterword that discusses challenges to religious plurality arising on account of changing political landscapes, economic liberalisation, technology and new media, and socio-religious developments. It will appeal to the lay reader as well as the specialist and will be especially useful to researchers and scholars in popular culture, media and cultural studies, visual art and performance studies, and sociology and social anthropology."