Syncretic Traditions and Peaceful Coexistence in India: the Case of Sufism

                                                                                       Prof. Rajendra K. Pandey

UGC - Centre for Federal Studies
Jamia Hamdard University
New Delhi-110062, India

As one of the most diverse and multi-religious societies, India has always been an enigma to locate an intrinsic unity and peaceful coexistence among its people. The key concern of such inquisitiveness lies in the fact that a large number of multi-religious societies are facing numerous challenges ranging from not only their survival as a nation but also of securing habitual and spontaneous peaceful coexistence of their people. On this count, the social cohesion and mutuality of interests of different sections of Indian society present a unique example of living together irrespective of multi-religiosity underpinning their life. In the quest to find the driving force behind such unity and peaceful coexistence, a perceptive clue is provided by the long-standing syncretic traditions in Indian society. This is, however, not to argue that syncretic traditions have been the only factor that lies at the root of unity and peaceful coexistence in Indian society. As a matter of fact, there have been a host of social, economic, political and cultural motives that have been working in tandem with each for numerous centuries that led to the emergence of a composite, multicultural and multi-religious ethos of social life in the country. Subsequent improvisations, adjustments, mutual respect and, probably most unique of all, conceptualisation of a transcendental life cutting across religious and cultural stereotypes, not only consolidated the roots of multicultural social setup but also led to its survival amidst various threats and challenges in time and space. Hence, what is being emphasised here is the pivotal role played by syncretic traditions such as Sufis, Bhaktas, Sants, among others, in cementing unity and peaceful coexistence by making it inalienable part and parcel of socio-religious life of common people. The paper, in turn, seeks to provide an analytical exposition of the role played by syncretic traditions in promoting unity and peaceful co-existence in India with special reference to the Sufi tradition.

Traditions of Mysticism and Syncretism
Generally, mysticism is considered to be the belief that there is hidden meaning in life and that each human being can unite with God. It is a religious practice based on the conviction that knowledge of spiritual truth can be gained by praying or thinking deeply. In India, the pall bearers of mystic traditions are known as Sufis and Bhaktas. The movement heralded by these mystics brought about a new phase of renaissance in the life and thought of the Indian masses. This movement began in India at such a juncture when some people of both the prominent religions i.e. Hinduism and Islam sought to bring about an exclusivist perspective in their interpretation and following. Thus, in a way, both the Sufi and Bhakti movements were initiated as a reaction to very strong and rigid ideologies and expressed reactions of the common people. They were not elitist reactions, and were not confined to the scholars or princes. They were indeed the flexible methodologies for the masses to express their innermost sentiments and to participate actively in the process of ‘loving the Divine.’
Likewise, historically, India has long and cherished traditions of syncretism right from the ancient times even when religions like Islam and Christianity had not arrived in the country. The diversified and locally-divergent nature of Hinduism had ordained such a mosaic of deities and gods within its fold that without the tradition of syncretism, many of the followers of different sects within Hinduism would have turned hostile to each other. Moreover, in the course of time, the advent of other indigenous religions such as Buddhism and Jainism further complicated the socio-religious complexion of India, the best way to deal with which was none other than the tradition of syncretism. Above all, the faith system of Indian masses in different parts of the country had been so variegated that a single faith system could never be their fait accomli. For instance, while worship of nature and natural objects such as rivers, mountains, trees, animals, seasons and likewise are omnipresent, there existed a lot of differences on issues like animal sacrifices, prevalence of Tantric or Shaivaite traditions, and acceptance of a reigning deity for the village, area or the region. This amazing heterogeneity perplexed the minds of the seers and pioneers who sought to unify the religious affinities of the masses through means of certain common marks of reverence and identity. In this direction, the efforts of Adi Shankaracharya appear to be momentous given his move to establish the spiritual and cultural unity between different sections of Indian society by founding four unique seats of worship in four corners of the country. This unparalleled and colossal contribution of Adi Shankaracharya undoubtedly helped in bringing about some degree of syncretism in Hinduism.
But the real syncretic tradition in Hinduism was introduced by the proponents of Bhakti tradition. Consolidating the tradition of ‘Sants’[i], the Bhakti movement sought to promote eclectic faiths and loosen religious orthodoxy amongst the followers of Hinduism. Significantly, ‘the Sants stressed the fulfilment of essential social obligations such as the need to support one’s family through personal effort…Although socially involved, the Sants advocated an inner detachment from worldly ties. Seeking a true guru, keeping the company of likeminded seekers, and dedicating themselves to the incessant remembrance of God, they abandoned traditional rituals and rejected caste and religious barriers. Their creed of love embraced humanity as well as the abstract being.’[ii] Later on, the syncretism of Bhakti movement proved to be the most formidable bridge between Hinduism and Islam by harmonising the orthogenetic and heterogenetic elements of the distinct faith systems of the two religions. Their espousal of an uncharacteristic philosophy of life rooted in social ethics and worldly worries of the masses helped them become so attractive to the plebeians that they tended to break loosen their traditional religious bonds and embrace a faith that would address to their daily chores of life. The Sants like Kabir tried to ridicule the orthodoxies of both Hinduism and Islam in most crisp and intelligible manner. They articulated the complexities of mundane life in such a simple and touching vein that the masses flocked to their faith system effortlessly breaking loose of their rigid religious customs and traditions. Though many of such people retained their broad religious affiliation, they, nevertheless, became staunch followers of these Sants cutting across their religions. In the long run, the coming together of people of heterogeneous religious background to the fold of the Sants created a syncretic space where the exclusivity of a particular religion had become, more or less, irrelevant.
Writing about genesis of Islamic mysticism in India, Riaz Hassan observes, ‘Muslim mysticism reached India almost simultaneously with the foundation of the Delhi Sultanate through the mystic orders of Chistiyya and Suhrawardiyya. In the 14th century these orders were all established in their respective zones with extensive network of khanqahs… there were around 2,000 khanqahs in Delhi and its surrounding areas. The khanqahs, numerous and extensive as they were, soon wove themselves into the complex cultural pattern of India and helped to remove that spirit of mistrust and isolation which honeycombed relations among the various cultural groups there.’[iii] Interestingly, the descent of Islamic mysticism in the form of Sufism tended to offer an alternative perspective of life and its relationship to God in contrast to the perspectives of more orthodox elements in Islam represented by the Ulama. Bringing out the subtle differences between the two, Madan points out that the Ulama stressed the realisation of the true spirit of Islam through submission to “the way” (sharia) God had ordained for his true followers and faith in the example and sayings of Muhammad. On the contrary, the Sufis evolved their own way (tariqa) of realising God - through love and intermediary role of saints. Thus, while the original tradition emphasised living in faith through the material world, the Sufi quest was essentially spiritual. “If knowledge strikes the heart,” the Sufis taught, “it is welcome: if it strikes the body it is a burden.”[iv] Thereby, the Sufis appeared to be echoing the same philosophical moorings for Islam that pervaded Hinduism for ages through Upanishdas. As Madan continued, the Sufis’ quest was very similar to that of the Upanishadic seers: the latter’s soham (“I am He”) was echoed by the former’s anal-haqq (“I am Truth”).[v]     
Apart from Hinduism and Islam, the mystic and syncretic traditions are also prevalent in the other prominent religions of India like Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Insofar as Buddhism is concerned, it emerged as a distinct religion in clear departure from the rituals and orthodoxy of Hinduism. Gradually, its spread in other parts of the world brought it in close proximity with the established norms, practices, values and customs of people of particular places. This induced the element of syncretism in it in order to make it acceptable to the masses and deep root its preaching and teaching in the psyche of the people. Similarly, Buddhism has its own glorious mystic traditions both in India and abroad.[vi] In India, though Buddhism fell out of favour of the masses by the eighth century, many of its ideas and ideals appeared to be incorporated in the broader fold of Hinduism so that a person remained a Hindu despite following the basic belief system of Buddhism.  
Of all religions, Sikhism may arguably be reckoned as the most syncretic religion in India. Highlighting the context of such a high degree of syncretism in it, Madan writes succinctly about Sikhism and its founder Guru Nanak, ‘Born a clean-caste Hindu, deeply influenced by the Sant tradition as well as by Upanishadic metaphysics, and clearly aware of the teachings of Islam and the practice of the Nath Yogis (members of a Hindu sect who focus on self-perception and inner awareness), Nanak revolted against ritualism and caste rigidities, particularly the former. He also sought to combine element from the various religious traditions of India and transcend them. Worship of and submission to the will of God, honest labour, and collective sharing of the fruits of labour are believed to be the principles of his teaching.”[vii] In fact, the holy book of Sikhs – the Grantha Sahib – consists of the couplets and creations of the people belonging to different religions. Even in their behaviour, the Sikhs share a large of number of styles, symbols, customs and ideals found in various faiths, confirming the syncretic nature of their religion.[viii]  
As regards Jainism, despite its foundation as a distinct religious order different from Hinduism, it remained deeply embedded in the long held ideals and virtues of Hinduism. The philosophical stipulations of Jainism appear to be nothing more than a revisit of the loftier ideals enshrined in the Hindu scriptures. Hence, when it comes to the practical aspects of Jainism, there seems to be very little divergence between the Hinduism and Jainism. Thus, on the whole, the traditions of mysticism and syncretism have become inalienable ingredient of socio-religious life of people in India. Given the predominance of Hinduism and Islam in the life of the masses, what has turned out to be the defining syncretic tradition is in the form of Bhaktas and Sufis who have found a number of parallels between them to secure a life of unity and peaceful co-existence for the people.
We have also great traditions of Bhaktas singing in devotion to Krishna or Shiva. The durveshas’s dance also is akin to our devotional dance. In this, everything revolves around ‘Love for the Divine’. The Shaikh sits in the middle and young devotees sit around him. Then they get up and start dancing whirling and whirling about; they go round and round and it really moves the heart and spirit. It is really astounding and it is still in practice. Raslila may also be considered almost similar to this. Thus, whether it is ‘Chaitanya Bhaktas,’ who do their ecstatic kirtans or the whirling Durveshes, all of them are symbolic of the essential golden thread that links together all the great religions of the world. The Christian mystics also practice identical things. This is what is said to be ‘many splendoured light of the Atman’, what the Bible calls a ‘light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world’, what the Sufis call the Noor-e-Ilahi, what the Sikhs call the ‘Ek Onkar’, and what the seers of the Upnishads say: I have seen that light shining like a thousand Suns beyond the darkness. It is that Inner Light which represents the core of the human personality and it is that Inner Light which represents the core of the human personality and it is that Inner Light which expresses itself through both the Sufis and Bhaktas. In Kashmir, there was until recently a tradition of everybody going to the shrines for worshipping. In fact, there is a temple in Srinagar where on its upper portion there is a mosque and a dargah and in the lower portion, there is a temple of Kali. There is a Shah Hamadan mosque in the same building where seven hundred people came from Iran and practised Sufism. In nutshell, our mystic traditions need to be kept intact and promoted. Our intellectuals need to shoulder the responsibility in projecting our rich traditions of composite culture in the right earnest. The land of India has been the land of great saints encompassing all the three religions – Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism. The sayings of Baba Farid, Nizamuddin Auliya and Amir Khusro are part of our tradition. Thus, ‘the Sufi and bhakti movements blurred the differences between the two religions so much that it was very common till very recently to have a  sadguru or a pir having a common following of Hindus and Muslims. And no pir or sadguru ever forced a Hindu or Muslim to give up his religion for any other. The medieval age was the period when sufi and bhakti thought and practice blended and coalesced at many points.’[ix]
Sufism in India
Sufism has always been the hallmark of unity and peaceful co-existence of people in India.[x] Even in times, when the material aspirations of the people were not as astounding as they are today, spirituality and Sufi thought were considered by many as the only way of attaining unity and peaceful coexistence amongst different sections of society. It would probably not be an exaggeration of fact that syncretism has been the mainstay of Indian society and many other cultures and civilizations in the world sought to imbibe its one or the other facet. The basic role of Sufism in securing unity and peaceful coexistence between different people of the country has been through its emphasis on establishing a harmonious spiritual chord with the Almighty God by focusing on the belief that knowledge of God and of the real truth can be found through prayer and meditation, rather than through reason and the senses alone. Indeed, the unity of Hindu civilization itself may be argued to have found its inception in the legendary and divine efforts of Adi Shankaracharya to establish a spiritual and cultural affinity between different sections of people in the country. Later, this effort at bringing about a further consolidation of spiritual bonding amongst the people was heralded by the tradition of Sufism in which the idea of Oneness of God was emphasized with a view to create a seamless web to enable people to live a life in unity and peaceful co-existence.
Generally, Sufism is defined as ‘a theory, doctrine, or view that considers reason to be incapable of discovering or of realizing the nature of the Ultimate Truth, whatever be the nature of this ultimate truth, but at the same time believes in the certitude of some other means of arriving at it.’[xi] Sufism is considered to be the belief that there is hidden meaning of life and that each human being can unite with God. It is a religious practice based on the credence that knowledge of spiritual truth can be gained by praying or thinking deeply. Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean complete renunciation of the world and the denial of significance or value of the social dimension of life. In essence, Sufism is a way of establishing ones intimate relationship with the Almighty in whatsoever form one finds suitable. Sufism, thus, seeks to liberate the people from the clutches of the traditional religions in their pursuit to be in sync with God.  
Considered as the ‘very kernel of Islam’,[xii] Sufi tradition in India was deep rooted through the institution of khanqahs, a sort of socio-religious organisations representing a particular strand of Sufism. These khanqahs were very broadminded organisations where the basic thrust was on their identification with problems and issues of life of local people. As Nizami articulates, ‘what mystics call nafs-i-gira – an intuitive intelligence that could understand, comprehend, control and direct the mind of the disciples – was needed in an abundant degree to fulfil the purpose of khanqah organisation. Unless they identified themselves with the problems of the people, their worries, their hopes and aspirations, these khanqahs could not gain the confidence of the people.’[xiii] However, the trajectory of Sufism did not remain confined to the abstraction of khanqahs and gradually metamorphosed into other incarnations as well. In this regard, the analysis of J. S. Trimingham[xiv] is quite illuminating. As Hassan summarises, ‘He suggests that in its organisational aspect Sufism has passed through three stages: The khanqah stage, the tariqa stage and the ta’ifa stage. The khanqah stage, characterised by a relatively unstructured and undifferentiated religious and social life centred around the khanqah; the tariqa stage, referring to development of mystical schools and gradual systemization of mystical techniques and Sufi learning, leading to development of the pir-murid paradigm and its development of devotional saint cults; and finally, the ta’ifa stage, describing cult associations.’[xv]
Significantly, for Sufis, every religion looks upon the Divine as Merciful. Drawing parallels between the essence of Hinduism and Islam, a renowned scholar of Indian philosophy argues that for a devout Hindu who is a worshipper of Shiva, the recital of the shloka ‘karpoor gauram karuna avataram’ expresses his profound feeling about his Almighty which is nothing but an incarnation of love and compassion. Muslims similarly begin in the name of God by reciting ‘Bismillah-ir-Rehman-i-Rahim’. Rahmat means blessings, compassion and love.[xvi] Such similarities in the outlook of the people of both the religions presumably brought a confluence of sorts as a result of which the mystic movements were started to offer a befitting reply to the orthodox elements of both the religions. Indeed, in the present scenario of India. when some people are flaring up the issues of faith and religions in a parochial and exclusivist fashion, the need of the hour seems to be the Sufism and Bhakti traditions. These movements cut across religious barriers. For instance, the Bhakti movement had a number of Muslim proponents such as Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana and Malik Mohammad Jayasi. It is remarkable that when these poets were in love with the Divine, their religious and theological differences made little difference.
The Sufis and the Bhaktas had really fallen in love with the Divine, and this love binds the two socio-religious movements. In Hinduism, we have four main paths to the Divine. Jnana Yoga, the Intellectual Approach, is the way of the mind. Ibn al-Arabi and Shankaracharya are the great theologians of this path. Karma Yoga is the way of action or the way of good deeds. Raja Yoga is the way of Pranayam and inner spiritual practices. Bhakti Yoga is the way of love, where the heart overflows with love of the Divine. Maulana Jalalluddin Rumi’s work deals with this aspect where there is reflection of ecstatic statements of ‘Love for the Divine’. That love could be for human and for Divine, for in love there is no difference. Ultimately, it is the transcendental power and sovereign vibration of love that really brings about the meeting of hearts, which Rumi calls ‘the wine of Divine intoxication’. The greatest moments in human history were the meetings of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi and Shams Tabrez, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, Plato and Socrates, and Hazrat Amir Khusrau and Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia.[xvii]
Sufism and Peaceful Co-existence
The outstanding Sufis who played a ground-breaking role in the social, cultural and religious life of the people were Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti of Rajasthan, Shaikh Fariduddin Ganj-i-Shakar in Punjab, Shaikh Bahadddin Zakariya of Punjab, Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, Mir Saiyid Ali Hamedani of Kashmir, Saiyid Muhammad Gaisu Daraz of Deccan, Shaikh Latif, Shaikh Jalal Thanesri and others.[xviii] These Sufis had divided the whole of north India and some parts of south to Deccan into their Vilayats (spiritual territories). Sufis also preached and worked in Kashmir, Sindh, Punjab, Bihar, Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Awadh and Deccan. Through their incomparable moral standards and sweet spiritual voice, they propagated Islam in India and opened a new epoch in Indian history by bringing the cultures nearer for a better understanding of religions, culture and human values and relations.[xix]
Sufis also adopted local idiom and preached message of love and universal brotherhood. Shaikh Fariduddin Ganj-i-Shakar established his khanqah at Ajodhan, a town in Punjab.[xx] He was the first Indian Sufi, who had cordial relations with the Hindu thinkers. He wrote excellent poetry in Arabic, Persian, Punjabi and also in the local Hindavi dialect. His shlokas and shabads have been incorporated in the ‘Holy Guru Granth Sahib’ by the fifth Guru Arjan Dev. Baba Farid adopted Punjabi, and vice versa, the Sikhs adopted Persian. Baba Farid’s shlokas and shabads won the hearts of people in Punjab. His Punjabi and Hindavi poetry became immortal, as even today his verses are being sung in Punjab. Significantly, Amir Khusrau, born of an Indian mother and the Turkish father, provided diffusion of two cultures, imbibing the best of both. Extremely proud of being an Indian, he was intensely devoted to Hindavi. He occupies a prominent position among the spiritual benefactors of mankind by his love towards the common people of India. Khusrau endeared to transform the common speech of the people into a literary language called Hindavi which he regarded as not being second to either Arabic or Persian. Khusrau brought about a synthesis of Indian and Iranian music also. ‘It is not surprising, therefore, to realise that the composite culture in India originated in an environment of reconciliation, rather than refutation, cooperation, rather than confrontation, coexistence rather than mutual annihilation of the politically dominant Islamic strands.’[xxi]
In the socio-religious life of Deccan, Burhanuddin Gharib Saiyid Zaninuddin Daood, Shaikh Ainuddin Saiyid Muhammad Gaisu Daraz and Shaikh Sirjuddin Junaidi played a very significant role.[xxii] One of the most celebrated figures in the early history of Sufism in Deccan was Saiyid Muhammad Gaisu Daraz, who played monumental role in the region. Hindus also frequently visited him and stayed in his khanqah without any inhibition. He also read Sanskrit books to know the mythology of Hindus. Saiyid Muhammad Gaisu Daraz’s father Saiyid Yusuf composed ‘Manan Suhagan Nama’ in Dakkani. Gaisu Daraz also wrote Mairajul Ashiqin in Dakkani which is a symbol of composite culture and social integration. The liberal attitudes of Sufis created a pleasant atmosphere, and their khanqahs became centres of cultural synthesis and communal harmony. Their endeavours led to the origin of a new language known as Dakkani, to take the teachings of Sufis nearer to the people without any inhibition. Similarly, Shaikh Muhammad Baba of Shirgonda of Ahmadnagar district gave his message in Marathi. With Marathi, the sufis established a dialogue with and within the entire Marathi knowing community of Maharashtra. Thus, what their pursuits point out is an uncharacteristic path followed by the Sufis to be as closer to the natives as possible by imbibing and co-existing with their language, custom, culture, rhymes and belief systems. That way, they were able to create a long lasting synergy between the followers of Hinduism and Islam that lie at the root of peaceful co-existence even till date.[xxiii]
In the literary realm, some poets joined the romantic band of liberal poets of love and beauty. Such a manifestation of the eternal feminine is radical departure from the feudal cultural system. They believed that love is not realized without beauty and one must sacrifice oneself in the fire of love. Yet, they were clearly against the sexuality and lust. Rather, they sought to transform their ‘Ishq-i-majazi into the Ishq-i-haqiqi.[xxiv] They certainly elevated the status of women from that of a figure of pleasure and dance to that of divine feminine. Among such romantic rebels of the late medieval period were Bodha, Thakur and Ghananand. Almost all of them were under the deep influence of the Sufis. Ishq Nama by Bodha and Ishq Lata by Ghananand are the glowing examples of this tradition. It appears that the Sufi influence had become a strong archetype in our cultural pattern. Rubaiyat-i-Umar Khaiyam are popularly tinted with Sufi thought.
A remarkable feature of Indian Sufism is that the Sufis refrained from hallow argumentation and lived a life of poverty, piety, trust, patience, resignation and love. They practised and preached these values and tried to annihilate the satanic share from human societies; and thereby they helped create a peaceful and progressive society. They shared their life with downtrodden and marginalized people in order to share their pain. They prepared them to help humanity in its progress and to hold off from the dehumanizing acts of certain people and groups. The Sufis had never been sectarian in their outlook or approach, because they never identified with any particular sect. All the Sufi poets had condemned communal hatred and religious bigotry and preached communal harmony and social integration. Sufis stood for cultural co-existence of different sections of the people in the country. In fact, the Sufi idea of cultural co-existence became the norm of mutual relations during the medieval period in India. This is a great legacy which Sufis have left for the succeeding generations in India. Respect for cultural diversity is perhaps the greatest contribution of Sufis to Indian civilization.
Through Padmavat, Malik Muhammad Jayasi opens the eyes of all those, who advocate separation between the followers of the two religions. He says that ‘viyog’ of Ratan Sen for Padmavati was the same as that of Alauddin for her. It evokes emotions and feelings irrespective of caste, colour or religion. There is unity of emotion amongst all human beings. The total aim and objective of Padmavata is the extension of broad and liberal human values and refinement of human sentiments and feelings. During the course of his interaction, the bonds of religion, caste, sect and nationality break down automatically and there emerges a perfect being, whose heart becomes tender,

[i] For a lucid account of the tradition of Sants in India, see, Karine Schomer and W. H. McLeod (eds.), The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, (Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass, 1987)

[ii] T. N. Madan, “Religion in India”, Daedalus, Vol. 118, No.4, Another India, (Fall, 1989), pp. 134-35, Accessed through:, on 05-12-2014.

[iii] Riaz Hassan, “Religion, Society, and State in Pakistan: Pirs and Politics”, Asian Survey, Vol. 27, No. 3, (May, 1987), p. 554.

[iv] T. N. Madan, op. cit, p. 131.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] For an insightful discussion on various dimensions of Buddhist mysticism, see Trevor Ling, “Buddhist Mysticism”, Religious Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, (April, 1966), pp. 163-75,  Accessed through:, on 03-02-2012

[vii] T. N. Madan, op. cit, p. 135.

[viii] For a standard reference on Sikh religion, see, W. H. McLeod, Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1976)

[ix] S. T. Lokhandwalla, “Indian Islam, Composite Culture and National Integration”, in Rasheeduddin Khan (ed.), Composite Culture of India and National Integration, (Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, 1987), p. 121.

[x] For the most authoritative exposition of various aspects of Sufism in India, see, Saiyid A. A. Rizvi,  A History of Sufism in India, 2 volumes, (Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1982)

[xi] S N Dasgupta, Hindu Mysticism, Oriental Press, Calcutta, 1926, p. 18.

[xii] Sumit Paul, “Sufism is the very kernel of Islam”, The Times of India, (New Delhi), February 22, 2017, p. 24.

[xiii] K. A. Nizami, “Some Aspects of Khanqahs Life in Medieval India”, quoted in Riaz Hassan, op. cit., p. 555.

[xiv] J. S. Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971)

[xv] Riaz Hassan, op. cit., p. 557.

[xvi] Dr. Karan Singh, “Sufism and Bhakti Movement as Part of Great Indian Culture” in Hamid Hussain (ed.), Sufism and Bhakti Movement: Eternal Relevance, (Delhi: Manak Publications, 2007), p. 3.

[xvii] Ibid.

[xviii] For a useful though select survey of prominent saints and shrines, see, A. R. Saiyad, “Saints and Dargahs in the Indian Sub-Continent: A Review”, in C. W. Troll (ed.), Muslim Shrines in India, (Mumbai: Oxford University Press, 1989)

[xix] S M Azizuddin Hussein, ‘Sufis and Communal Harmony’ in Hamid Hussain (Ed.), op. cit.,  pp. 296-97.

[xx] A vivid account on the subject is given in , K. A. Nizami, The Life and Times of Shaikh Farid ud Din Ganj-i-Shukar, (Aligarh: Oriental Publications, 1955)

[xxi] Rasheeduddin Khan, “Composite Culture as a New National Identity” in Rasheeduddin Khan (ed.), op. cit., p. 36.

[xxii] An illustrative and insightful study on role of Sufi saints in Deccan has been presented in, R. M. Eaton, Sufis of Bijapur, 1300-1700, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978)

[xxiii] For a good account of Hindu-Muslim Syncretism, see, J. J. Roy Burman, “Hindu-Muslim Syncretism in India”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 31, No. 20, (May 18, 1996), pp. 1211-15.

[xxiv] S M Azizuddin Hussein, op. cit., p. 300.

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