In January 2016, Christophe Jaffrelot (Sciences – Po), Manpreet Kaur (Columbia), Mariam Elnozahy (IRCPL), and Vatsal Naresh (IRCPL) embarked on a research trip in a joint IRCPL-Sciences Po effort to Gujarat, India as a part of the Shared Sacred Sites Initiative. The team sought to make preliminary inquiries and interviews as part of the larger project investigating the choreography of Shared Sacred Sites in South Asia. This trip expanded the comparative approach to the study of shared sacred sites beyond the Mediterranean Region, the Balkans, and the Middle East to include South Asia, encouraging perspectives on the mingling between polytheism and monotheism in times of identity and ideological tensions, where coexistence between followers of different faiths is contested.
Ajmer is a significant node in the history of Chishti Sufi activity, as the dargah of the Chishti saint Khwaja Moinuddin is at the commercial, social, and spiritual center of the city. A few kilometers south of this centre, atop a hill called Taragarh, sits a shrine to a saint, Miran Syed Hussain Mashahadi, locally known by the beloved epithet “Miranji.” The shrine bears an intriguing relationship not only to the avowedly significant centre, i.e. the Chishti dargah, but also to several small shrines that dot the local landscape within a few kilometers’ wide radius around Taragarh.
View the Taragarh’s Miranji report here.
During this trip we spent three days in Ahmedabad, Gujarat to visit six major dargahs (sufi shrines) as important destinations for practitioners of Islamic, Hindu, and Sikh faiths, including the Shah-e-Alam Roza and the Qutub-e-Alam Roza, which will be topic of this particular study. The first one is Shah-e-Alam’s Tomb and Mosque, which is a medieval mosque and tomb complex (Roza) in Shah Alam area of Ahmedabad, India. The second one, Qutub-e-Alam’s Mosque and Tomb, also known as Vatva Dargah, is a medieval mosque and tomb complex in Vatva area of Ahmedabad, India.
View the Ahmedabad report here.