O laal meri : jhulelal and the Sindhi identity
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In a discussion with my professors I told them about my interest to research and work on my own Sindhi culture in which I’ve been born and brought up but neither was I fluent in speaking our native language nor did I knew anything about it as we did not lived in Sindhi surroundings and celebrated and followed the local rituals than our own. Listening to this, my professor suggested to look into the God Jhulelal and his multiple identities. Till then I didnot had any idea that the deity was worshipped by Islam and so many other communities as well. The thought of it fascinated me and my curiosity was fueled thoroughly to dig more about the topic. Then while researching for it I got to read the paper written by Michel Boivin on Jhulelal and the Identity of Indian Sindhis’. The paper was so informative and gave me a push to work on. Since then it was never looking back and kept reading and researching everything about the history, mythology, the Sindh diaspora, its rich cultural heritage and more about the Jhulelal and Sindhis. The project started taking shape at the end of the third semester and I knew that I have to work on the multiple identities of the deity and his changing ways of worship. The final project mentions the physical spaces of worship shared by Muslim and Hindu devotees equally in the name of Khwaja Khizr, Jhulelal, Uderolal, Zinda pir, in Sindh from Pre-partition India, the partition times, the stories of struggle, the resettlement of the community, efforts put in to continue the tradition, defining the term Sindhiyat, efforts of the scholars to re establish the identity of the community, the recent times of establishing a cultural centre and more. The title of the book is “O Laal Meri” Jhulelal and the identities of Sindhis is taken from the most famous sufi song ‘Dama Dam mast Qalandar’ which addresses that the deity is worshipped by both the communities in different names of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and Jhulelal, representing, praising and binding the communities and their supreme power together. The story is a result of struggle and adaptation and the shift in the definition of ‘home’. The movement that was not limited to physical displacement, but movement in identities of individuals and hence, the entire community.