12 August, 2012

Society, Religion and Patriarchy: Exploring Medieval Punjab Through Hir Waris

Society, Religion and Patriarchy: Exploring Medieval Punjab Through Hir Waris

By- Ishwar Dayal Gaur

The kind of social history of medieval Punjab, which has been attempted in this book, does not subscribe to a narrow communitarian emplotment of the people of the region. The author, has endeavoured to construct a fresh profile of the Punjabis from their own socio-cultural point of view.

The book involves investigations of the lived experiences and representations of everyday life of the people of medieval Punjab, who in the colonial and post-colonial historiography are presented as ‘Muslim’, ‘Sikh’ and ‘Hindu’ Punjabis. Gaur has assigned them a prefix ‘Punjabi’ and hence has presented the social and cultural profile of the ‘Punjabi’ Muslims, instead of reading them as ‘Muslim’ Punjabis. The book reveals the evolution of socio-cultural fusion in the land of five rivers, which a student of history discovers by employing folklore/people’s literature as source-material. Thus the selection of Hir Waris, as an unconventional source of history writing, is a methodological departure, particularly when intervention of political ideologies in the craft of writing social history has been active since long, and when the semantic of culture has shifted from diversities to difference.

The present study does not simply ‘reproduce’ the medieval Punjabi society as ‘reflected’ in Hir Waris; rather it seeks to unfold the folk legend of Hir-Ranjha in the wider political, social, cultural and religious contexts of medieval Punjab. The volume suggests that a society, its folklore and history are organically linked with one another.

Ishwar Dayal Gaur is Reader in History at the Department of Evening Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. He specializes in culture, literature and folklore. He has versified the cultural mosaic of Punjab in two collections of poetry.

ISBN  978-81-7304-826-5    2009   260p.   Rs.675/ Pounds 45

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