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PDF Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory

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Tracing the development of the story from the earliest historical sources to the beginning of the twenty-first century, Hyder demonstrates the incredible flexibility of the idea of "Karbala". For millions of Muslims, Karbala serves as the archetypal martyrdom story, but Hyder shows that this is far from the only way the tale is used.


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In fact, he demonstrates, Karbala means many things to many people, and is even invoked in contexts that are explicitly anti-religious. It serves as a celebration of martyrdom, a source of personal and communal identity, and even a tool for political protest and struggle.

Reliving Karbala

Nielsen Book Data Supplemental links Table of contents. Publication date ISBN cloth: Rather than a unified reading of Islam, Hyder reveals multiple, sometimes conflicting, understandings of the meaning of Islamic religious symbols like Karbala. He ventures beyond traditional, scriptural interpretations to discuss the ways in which millions of very human adherents express and practice their beliefs. By using a panoramic array of sources, including musical performances, interviews, nationalist drama, and other literary forms, Hyder traces the evolution of this story from its earliest historical origins to the beginning of the twenty-first century.


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Today, Karbala serves as a celebration of martyrdom, a source of personal and communal identity, and even a tool for political protest and struggle. Hyder explores how issues related to gender, genre, popular culture, class, and migrancy bear on the cultivation of religious symbols. He assesses the manner in which religious language and identities are negotiated across contexts and continents.

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At a time when words like martyrdom, jihad, and Shiism are being used and misused for political reasons, this book provides much-needed scholarly redress. Through his multifaceted examination of this seminal event in Islamic history, Hyder offers an original, complex, and nuanced view of religious symbols. Hyder adds vitality and depth to his analysis through a range of personal anecdotes, including memories of his own experience of growing up between cultures.

This book is an invaluable resource from whcih students of various disciplines will benefit.


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