Behind the Veil in Khuldabad, India: 14th Century Sufi Saints, 21st Century Islamic Reformers, and Muslim Women

Abstract

In January of 2009, I traveled to India to interview women in Khuldabad, a small Muslim town in the state of Maharashtra, about religious customs and rituals. With the help of my multilingual friend and colleague from this area, Surekha Shah, I interviewed twenty-nine women using a blend of Urdu and English. These women, from different economic and social levels, invited me into their homes. Their dwellings ranged from single, earthen floor rooms to family compounds built around ancient courtyards housing several generations. The rough streets and well-worn pathways, bounded by high stone and wooden walls, give the feel of a small medieval town with goats and people and bicycles meandering through, but the autorickshaws and state buses belching blue-purple smoke anchor one in the more nuanced mix of centuries that is Khuldabad. Behind the purdah of walls and veils, women welcomed me with warmth and openness. And each time I left their homes, they graciously invited me to return.

How to Cite

Benton, C., 2009. Behind the Veil in Khuldabad, India: 14th Century Sufi Saints, 21st Century Islamic Reformers, and Muslim Women. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 17(1), pp.26–48. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.213

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Catherine Benton (Lake Forest College)

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