Chapter

Introduction

Saurabh Mishra

in Pilgrimage, Politics, and Pestilence

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780198070603
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080007 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198070603.003.0001
Introduction

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Considered the epicentre of the Muslim universe, Mecca attracts hundreds of thousands of believers every year. It is this pull of Mecca which induced people to undertake difficult journeys in the days before air travel became the norm. During these early years, it took several months for pilgrims to complete their journey, the length of which was prolonged by the restrictions and checks imposed upon their movements. These restrictions were a product of larger medical and political developments. This introductory chapter begins by reviewing the experiences of Indian pilgrims based on colonial accounts and from pilgrims' own travelogues, a whole genre of which had emerged by the late nineteenth century. It then discusses the role of Indian Muslims in transforming the nature of the Haj during the late colonial period, and the medical dimension of the pilgrimage. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords: pilgrimage; Haj; Indian Muslims; experiences; travelogues; colonial accounts

Chapter.  6144 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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