Architect Builds Narrative of Reconciliation in ‘Shi’ism In Kashmir’

Srinagar- Hakim Sameer Hamdani’s book Shi’ism in Kashmir—A History of Sunni-Shi’i Rivalry and Reconciliation was released at Kani Home, in the outskirts of the city on Saturday.

Academician Prof Siddiq Wahid was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The event was presided by Convener INTACH Saleem Beg.

The book release function was attended by scores of people across political and sectarian divides. On the occasion, book reviews were presented by noted columnist Muhammad Maroof Shah and Media Lecturer Raashid Maqbool.

Muhammad Maroof Shah described the book as the first attempt to trace the ‘problematic’ relationship between the Shias and Sunnis in Kashmir and try to move to the reconciliatory paradigm which the book has tried to unearth primarily in the 19th century.

“The book helps us to demystify and demythologize various notions and ideas that are cropped in the popular imagination. I think all of us should read it.” Maroof said.

Maroof further said that various sources from material, textual history and other sources have been quoted in this book and in contemporary times it is important to converge on more important points and try to evade issues which can cause sectarian divide.

“The book also shows clear inaccuracies in major notions regarding the othering of Makhdoom Sb in the Shia community and his role against the Shias. The way we have been told about the conflicting history of Shias and Sunnis, it is true to some extent but the conflict was not primarily religious” he noted.

Media lecturer Raashid Maqbool, in his review said that the way Sameer has examined the sources of Kashmir’s past is ‘incisive and insightful’. “It is a wonderful book and an important read” Raashid said.

Academician, Prof Siddiq Wahid said that the book provides an academic perspective on the Shia Sunni divide and it is important to go through the book for fostering unity.

“When we go through Kashmir’s modern history, we do have fault lines but it is important that the middle ground is explored”

Convener INTACH, Saleem Beg the idea behind such initiatives is to be as objective as possible.

“A lot of literature has developed in isolation on parallel streams about Shias against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shias and we can’t put it under the carpet.

“The book makes a successful attempt to interrogate the literature that is available about these sects & contradictions and bring out the reality about what has been written so that we can reach a sensible conclusion” Saleem said.

“History writing is a dialogue between the present and the past. The spirit of dialogue has been maintained in the book and what we understand as a religious idiom has not been a foundational allium of the conflict. It has been political”

Hakim Sameer Hamdani, author of the book said that he hopes that the book opens up a field of research for future study.

“I was always interested in the material culture of Kashmir. In researching my previous work which was on the Muslim shrines of Kashmir, I repeatedly went through the textual history through tazkiras and tareekhs. I had an engagement with the text that predates my previous book” Sameer said.

He said that it took him around a year to write this book.

Speaking about the high cost of the book, Sameer said it was not in his hands.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a South Asian edition. It is a global edition which is costly. I have written to the publishers to lower down the price. Let’s see what happens.”

The 232 page book has been published by I.B. Tauris, UK and is available on amazon.

Follow this link to join our WhatsApp group: Join Now

Be Part of Quality Journalism

Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.



Syed Mohammad Burhan

Syed Mohammad Burhan has Masters in Mass Communications and works as City Reporter at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @syedmohammad313

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.