The dancing girls of Lahore inhabit the Diamond Market in the shadow of a great mosque. The twenty-first century goes on outside the walls of this ancient quarter but scarcely registers within. Though their trade can be described with accuracy as prostitution, the dancing girls have an illustrious history: Beloved by emperors and nawabs, their sophisticated art encompassed the best of Mughal culture. The modern-day Bollywood aesthetic, with its love of gaudy spectacle, music, and dance, is their distant legacy. But the life of the pampered courtesan is not the one now being lived by Maha and her three girls. What they do is forbidden by Islam, though tolerated; but they are gandi, “unclean,” and Maha’s daughters, like her, are born into the business and will not leave it.
Sociologist Louise Brown spent four years in the most intimate study of the family life of a Lahori dancing girl. With beautiful understatement, she turns a novelist’s eye on a true story that beggars the imagination. Maha, a classically trained dancer of exquisite grace, had her virginity sold to a powerful Arab sheikh at the age of twelve; when her own daughter Nena comes of age and Maha cannot bring in the money she once did, she faces a terrible decision as the agents of the sheikh come calling once more. ISBN: 9780060740436 Publisher: HARPER PERENNIAL Subtitle: Author: LOUISE BROWN
This authoritative work sheds light on the religious world of the Kalasha people of the Birir valley of the Pakistani district of Chitral, focusing on their winter feasts which culminate in a great winter solstice festival. The Kalasha represent the last example of the pre-Islamic cultures of the Hindu Kush/Karakorum, but are also the only observable example, worldwide, of an archaic Indo-European religion. Cacopardo addresses the historical and cultural context of the area and, referencing an array of relevant literature, offers comparisons with the Indian world and the religious folklore of Europe. Interdisciplinary and based on extensive field research, Pagan Christmas is the first extended ethnographic study devoted to this little known Kalasha community and represents a standard international reference source on the anthropology, ethnography and history of religions of Pakistan and Central South Asia. Augusto S. Cacopardo has conducted anthropological research in Pakistan under the aegis of the Institute Italianoper l’Africa e l’Oriente and is Professor of Ethnography at the University of Florence. His publications include the monograph Gates of Perstian: History, Religion and Society in the Hindu Kush (2001), co-authored with his brother Alberto M.
Cacopardo. ISBN: 9781909942844 Publisher: GINGKO LIBRARY Subtitle: WINTER FEASTS OF THE KALASHA OF THE HINDU KUSH Author: AUGUSTO S. CACOPARDO
Sindh represents a unique geopolitical entity in the history of the Indian subcontinent. Drained by the Indus, its fertile plains stretch between the mountain ranges of Balochistan’s to the west and the Thar desert in the east. Across the passes through Balochistan, Sindh connects with Iran; on the eastern side the desert cuts it off from the mass of India barring a few caravan routes. The Indus delta makes up for this acting as a trade artery along its length and giving Sindh strong maritime links with Kutch and Gujarat and across the Arabian Sea with the Persian Gulf. Situated at the crossroads of diverse cultural influences, its physical terrain has fostered a variety of crafts from the time of the Indus Civilization to the present. Three major events have contributed to the shaping of Sindh’s history, politics, and culture: the Muslim conquest in 711, the British conquest in 1843, and the Partition of India in 1947. The last has been the most dramatic and far-reaching, altering the demography of the region when the Hindus moved out and Muslim refugees from other parts of India moved to Pakistan. This is the first lavishly illustrated book to look at the heritage of Sindh, with chapters by scholars from both India and Pakistan. The first half takes note of the famed Indus Civilization; the Buddhist Stupas and Sculpture, Hindu temples, Islamic monuments and tombs; the port city of Banbhore; and the coinage and economy up to the time when the British annexed Sindh. Later chapters evoke a sense of cultural nostalgia on a range of subjects: the colourful woven and embroidered fabrics of Sindh; the visual records of the region by British artists and photographers; Karachi, cosmopolitan city of Sindh, modelled on Bombay, as remembered by those who once lived there; the sense of tumult and displacement which still resonates in works by artists on both sides of the border; and the distinctive cuisine of the province as remembered by Diasporic Sindhis.
ISBN: 8185026882 Publisher: MARG PUBLICATIONS Subtitle: Past Glory, Present Nostalgia Author: PRATAPADITYA PAL
This remarkable record of Marcel Kurpershoek expedition and encounters in the Saudi Arabian desert in the late 1980s details his search for the living chronicle of Saudi Arabia—the oral poetry of the Bedouins. In the vast desert, Kurpershoek discovered poets who composed verses celebrating bravery and feats of arms, especially those of the poet ad-Dindan—proof of the authenticity of the pre-Islamic tradition in Arabian oral poetry. Part travelogue, and part book of poems, this book offers valuable insight into contemporary and traditional Saudi society.