Punjabi Sufi Poetry from Farid to Farid

Christopher Shackle

in Punjab Reconsidered

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780198078012
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080984 | DOI:
Punjabi Sufi Poetry from Farid to Farid

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The chapter offers a critique of the continuing influence of Lajwanti Rama Krishna’s pioneering English-language monograph Panjabi Sufi Poets (1938). It is argued that consequent misunderstandings of both pre-modern Punjabi literary history and of the Islamic character of early Punjabi Sufi poetry may be corrected by taking account of comparative evidence, including the better preserved later textual and hagiographic materials which are available for the major Sufi poets of the nineteenth century. The comparison with early Sindhi literature is used to illuminate the character of the first Punjabi Sufi poetry by Farid. It is then argued that the major poets of the Mughal period (Shah Husain, Sultan Bahu, and Bullhe Shah) are each to be understood in their own terms, as Sufis rather than as exponents of some universalized Indian spiritual understanding.

Keywords: Punjabi; Sindhi; Sufi poetry; literary history; comparative literature; Islam; Farid; Bullhe Shah; Mughal period

Chapter.  12189 words. 

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