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The Marriage of Lat Bhairava and Ghazi Miyan: Sexuality, Death and Transgression in Hinduism and Islam

[Dedicated to all those who still continue to celebrate the marriage of Hinduism and Islam in the Indian subcontinent] by

Sunthar Visuvalingam (with the collaboration of Elizabeth Chalier-Visuvalingam)

[#819 West Cuyler Ave., Chicago, IL 60613- 11 , !"A. #el. $ %a&' ())3* 868-10)0 (ho+e*, +o-ile' ())3* 398300. Expanded version of paper already published in

Islam and the Modern Age

(Za ir Husain Institute of Islamic !tudies" #uc now$ and to be appear in rewor ed and condensed form in a monograph by

Sunthar Visuvalingam (with Elizabeth Chalier-Visuvalingam)

Between Mecca and Banaras: An Acculturation Model of Hindu-Muslim Relations

Transgressive Sacrality and the Processual Approach to Religious Traditions The Marriage and Cult of Lat Bhairava: What it means to e a Banarasi even Today The Marriage !urs" of #ha$i Miyan: Muharram and the Sacrificial Pole !qutb" of !%ndian" %slam &ivide' Rule and (nify: Religious &ualism and the &ialectics of )uman *iolence Lat Bhairava' the scapegoat of the Lord of the (niverse: +rom the )indu,Muslim Riots of -./0 to the 1#andhian2 Civil &iso edience of -.-Bet3een Banaras and Mecca: )ierarchy' 4galitarianism and Autonomy The +elling of the World Pillar: An %slamic +ulfillment of *edic Cosmogony5

The Marriage of Lat Bhairava and Ghazi Miyan: Sexuality, Death and Transgression in Hinduism and Islam
[Dedicated to all those who still continue to celebrate the marriage of Hinduism and Islam in the Indian subcontinent] %y heart is capable of every form" a cloister of the mon " a temple for idols" a pasture for ga&elles" the votary's (a'ba" the tables of the )orah" the *uran+ #ove is the creed I hold, -herever turn His camels" love is still my creed and faith+ (Ibn al./rabi" Tarjuman 00+01234 cited from 5eters 1,67$

Between Mecca and Banaras: Towards an Acculturation-Model of Muslim-Hindu Relations

brahmanical" %uslim" fol loric and political approaches to syncretism )he Indo.Islamic cult of 8ha&i %iyan is representative of a religious syncretism99 once prevalent among both Hindus and %uslims99that has become a source of embarrassment to (especially modernists of$ both the high traditions+ :or the

Hindus" it is an outrageous travesty of their proverbial tolerance that less enlightened co.religionists could have participated so massively in celebrating a proselyti&ing %uslim warrior, one whose sole pleasure in life99and in death99was to eradicate the timeworn practices of their ancestors" slaughtering them in the very process of converting them+ :or the %uslims" it is simply scandalous that those who daily profess the unicity of 8od (shahadah$ could have given themselves up to such idolatrous worship (shirk$ under the thin veneer of Islam, to the extent of transforming this &ealous iconoclast" the nephew of %ohammed of 8ha&ni" into so transparent a Hindu idol+ ;n the other hand" and despite the ethnocentrism inherent in the discipline" some Indologists" moved by sympathy for the <sub=ects' (rather than the mere ob=ects$ of their study" have glorified these muffled and rapidly fading testimonies of an earlier symbiosis" in order to argue that Hinduism and Islam could very well accommodate each other at the popular level+ /nthropologists among them find it easy to pose as champions of an Indian fol religion that would conform neither to the brahmanical nor to the (oranic models, the ideal hunting ground for leftist Indian intellectuals in search of a <subaltern' (pre.$ consciousness that would have resisted domination by both church and state+ / -estern political historian has gone so far as to adduce Hindu participation in %uharram" and %uslim participation in the >amlila" in order to assert that <Hindu' and <%uslim' as categories did not exist in (the ?anaras of$ the early nineteenth century@ It is even possible for a %uslim historian of religion" proud of his Indian heritage" to oppose such acculturated or <Hindui&ing' forms of his faith to an otherwise %eccan.oriented Islam+ In this way" secular scholarship" when it does not simply write off such syncretism as a mindless aberration" continues to abet the dichotomy between high and fol religion+ )he latter may well remain informed by symbolic molds deriving from classical religion" but it is of little relevance" so it would seem" for understanding the self.consciously distinctive pro=ects of either Hinduism or Islam+ /ll the more so because the annual marriage festival of 8ha&i %iyan culminated in the brea ing not only of caste barriers" but even of religious barriers between Hindus and their %uslim neighbors+ !urely" such blatant transgression of the law99the (temporary$ dissolution of both shariat and dharma in an atmosphere of general licence and promiscuity99could hardly constitute the true end of Islam nor of Hinduism" nor of any other religious tradition" at least as observed and understood by the ma=ority of its adherents@ critiAue, syncretism provides a handle on both Hinduism and Islam -hat has become" within the cult of 8ha&i %iyan" of the violence of that initial confrontation between iconoclastic fervor and the adoration of the gods on earthB !ecular scholarship feels no obligation to dispel this genuine bewilderment of both Hindu and %uslim+ It was" nevertheless" within the shared sacred space of such syncretic practices" among the common devotees of 8ha&i %iyan and #at ?hairava" that there ignited the unprecedented Hindu.%uslim riots of 07C6" which polari&ed the whole of ?anaras along religious lines+ -ould the %uslim weavers99whom colonial anthropology had already labeled as <bigoted' and even <fanatical' in their faith99 have become the purists they are now" if they had not once been staunch devotees of 8ha&i %iyan" to whom they still attribute the conversion of their ancestorsB )he %uslim modernist is unable" or unwilling" to conceptuali&e the facilitating role of such <polytheisi&ing' tendencies in the expansion and consolidation of an otherwise uncompromising iconoclasm+ )hough this is clearly what the 5rophet himself did in conserving the pilgrimage rites around the pagan (a'aba as the most tangible symbol and central pillar of the monotheistic creed+ -ould the untouchable Doms of ?anaras99whose funerary services are indispensable for the salvation of even the purest brahmans99have remained such fervent pilgrims to the tomb of the %uslim martyr at ?ahraich" if Islam were indeed so alien an intrusion upon Indian soilB )he Hindu modernist is unable" or eAually unwilling" to conceive of the <eternal order' (sanatana dharma$ itself as the cumulative product of such a continuous process of acculturation that goes bac to (pre.$ /ryan times+ -hen properly analy&ed" especially from a semiotic perspective" the Hindu.?uddhist syncretism that is so generali&ed among the Dewars of the (athmandu Ealley" rather reveals the

manner in which the incorporation of ?uddhist values and innovations allowed the brahmanical paradigm to extend and consolidate its hold in areas of the subcontinent that would have otherwise forever remained outside the Eedic symbolic universe (Fhalier.Eisuvalingam and Eisuvalingam 0661$+ )he abstract exercise of comparative religion tends to reify the doctrinal differences between the traditions being compared and" even in the process of attempting to bridge these differences" ends up imposing reductionist categories that often do not do =ustice to either tradition+ )his is the inevitable strategy of <divide.and.rule' that the discourse of modernity exercises over religious dialects in a world that has already outgrown their categories+ Deciphering the <processual' logic of religious syncretism offers us" by contrast" a vantage point for understanding how the rival religions were able to define a common ground99as expressed through shared sacred space and time99in their struggle to enlist" and eventually <coloni&e'" communities (nominally$ adhering to the opposing faith+ !yncretism" thus approached" could even provide the empirical and theoretical basis for a reversal of perspective wherein the opposing traditions reveal themselves as overlapping99and not entirely exclusive99possibilities derived from a set of shared assumptions+ )hough rewor ed into an overtly sacrificial model within the Hindu worship of divine images" and into proselyti&ing martyrdom within Islamic iconoclasm" the identification of death and sexual union is a common denominator that unites the two great religions, it is the central theme of the peculiarly Indo.Islamic cult of 8ha&i %iyan+ monograph, Between Mecca and Banaras In a boo under preparation99entitled Between Mecca and Banaras: the Marriage of Lat-Bhairava and Ghazi Miyan99I use my paradigm of <transgressive sacrality' (Eisuvalingam 067G" 0676" 0661b$ to derive" from such syncretic practices" a general model of Hindu.%uslim relations+ )his endeavor feeds into a <processual' but non.reductive approach to religious traditions in general" and to their differing modes of interaction with the discourse of modernity+ -hile underlining the crucial religious differences and socio.historical processes that provided the immediate context for the ?anaras riot of 07C6" the study at the same time99and without contradiction99depicts and interprets this <-ar of the #at' upon the bac drop of the pre.existing rituali&ation of human violence" and the accompanying mystical valori&ation of death" within each tradition considered separately+ In rewor ing three of its sections here" I have restricted my efforts to showing how this model can not only account for the peculiar logic underlying the development of the cult of 8ha&i %iyan" but also provide unexpected insights into the symbolic strategies through which Islam has succeeded in imposing and consolidating itself as a world.religion well before it reached the confines of !outh /sia+ %ore than a mere strategy" it suggests that such incorporation of pagan practices is at the very roots of the monotheistic faith" and perhaps central to its self.definition+ /bove all" this essay offers fresh conceptual tools for analy&ing the intimate relation between the popular and esoteric dimensions of a religious tradition" how they transgress and yet complement99even fulfill99the distinctive pro=ect embodied within its orthodox self.representation+ Hinduism and Islam as opposing collective pro=ects, violence )he specificity of a religious tradition would be defined by a reigning idea.value. intention" encoded into its dogmas" institutions and practices" that slowly develops into a tentacular collective pro=ect+ )he egalitarian paradigm of Islamic practice" which insisted in principle on the political sovereignty of the community of believers (umma$ as the precondition even for the individuali&ed pursuit of salvation" would in this way have come into conflict with the hierarchic model of Hindu caste.society" which insisted on the primacy of purity and renunciation as the determining criteria in a continual process of ran ed acculturation which in principle precluded any exclusively sectarian self.definition of polity+ %uslim society in India was certainly stratified into castes" especially at its lower levels, there was often no intermarriage nor commensality+ :or all their reputed bigotry" the <faithful' (momin$ weavers were among the most caste.conscious" and

even patroni&ed their own mosAues li e the one at #at ?hairava+ /dmittedly" such ineAualities in practice were not simply a deviation imposed by the all.embracing Hindu milieu but had their roots in social institutions that were well entrenched in 5ersia and even /rabia, the literati and the warriors were superior to the peasants and artisans4 some occupations considered vile" li e that of the weavers or sweepers" were at the limit of untouchability+ H)his hierarchical doctrine was reaffirmed in the last great =uridical compendium compiled on the orders of the very orthodox /urang&eb under the name of Al-fatawa al-alamgiriyyaH (8aborieau" 066I,073$+ /re the pan.Islamic egalitarian convictions of the %uslim modernist then due to a gross misreading of his tradition or" at best" the reclamation of %eccan values that had fallen into a long Indian slumber under the seductive spell of a pagan but highly civili&ed cultureB If %uslims already constituted a unified community" the pilgrimage to the (aaba would amount to no more than a <mere ritual' albeit a grandiose one+ #i ewise" if the egalitarian ideal had already been reali&ed" what need to impose the common submission of the :riday prayerB >ather" the ideal must be understood as wor ing itself out in history not only through" but also within" and even in spite of" its imperfect reali&ations in the spatio.temporal conditioning of any given community+ %uslim dynasties were able to maintain their grip over a predominantly Hindu society only by respecting or at least conceding to its norms+ ?ut such adaptive acculturation ran the increasing ris of blissfully succumbing to that Hindu capacity for absorption that earlier invaders had found so irresistible+ )he religious elite (ulema$" particularly those of foreign descent99 who depended on %uslim rule for their sustained patronage and socio.political influence99would legitimi&e such concessions only to the extent that the basic tenets of Islamic doctrine and practice were not irredeemably compromised+ Hence the constant oscillation between genuine accommodation and outright re=ection99 between / bar and /urang&eb99that ensured the continued survival and predominance of a distinct Islamic polity in India" and thereby provided the politico.religious context for the further penetration of Indian society" at all levels" by the latent egalitarian thrust of Islam+ %ore significant than Islam's connivance at the contraband of hierarchical values inevitably smuggled in by native converts" is the extent to which it inspired 99if only by way of violent opposition (as in the case of !i hism$99(religious currents embodying$ the same ideal even within the ran s of Hinduism+ Jnli e the secular ideologies of today" however" the socio.religious paradigms simultaneously encode a commitment to certain transcendental and even esoteric aims which address themselves to universal human aspirations+ )he identification of death and sexual union" especially as revealed in the syncretic cults of #at ?hairava and 8ha&i %iyan" is very much a part of this common symbolic core shared by Hinduism and Islam+ Jltimately" this eAuation does not ma e sense except as the mythico.ritual pro=ection of a lived experience of <initiatic death' that has come to grips with and inwardly transformed those primary" largely unconscious" undifferentiated energies that are channelled into otherwise structured expressions of human sexuality and violence+ )hese scenarios of the sacred thus also reveal the shared concern of containing and productively re.directing an innate human violence+ ?ut the differing reAuirements of an expanding polity (umma$ unified around an egalitarian ideal" and of a hierarchic society" based on the opposition of the pure and the impure and strained by regional" inter.caste and sectarian tensions" resulted in a divergence of emphases in the shared sacrificial paradigm+ 5rimarily directed outward through holy war (jihad$ in propagating the monotheistic creed which encoded the universalism of Islam" violence" in Hindu society" was instead repressed through the ascetic.brahmanical ideal ( ahimsa$" only to be ultimately turned bac upon itself through (the multiple transpositions of$ a Eedic paradigm centered on the identification of iller and victim in an (at least symbolic$ act of human sacrifice+ )he difficulty of subordinating the inherent logic of human violence to even religious constructions of such power and magnitude is revealed in the constant resurgence of a <primitive' dualistic pattern which

tends to feed upon and rituali&e other sources of (economic" political" clan.based" etc+$ tension within both these societies+ )he Dew Kear festivals of the Dewars ((athmandu Ealley$ and the !unni.!hia conflicts of %uharram in" and well beyond" Indo.5a istan bear testimony to the continuing need for such safety.valves+ Even the global conflict on the doctrinal level between Hinduism and Islam has been undermined" distorted and compounded by this dualistic deep.structure" by the fact that neither tradition has been wholly successful in domesticating violence for its own purposes+ -ithout such mechanisms of relative control offered by the domain of the sacred" however" the increasingly global society of today runs an even greater ris of succumbing to a generali&ation of violence (8irard 06LL$+ Islamic esoterism and <polytheism' )he egalitarian universalism of Islam rests primarily upon its five pillars which have a monotheistic iconoclasm as their legalistic basis" for the polytheistic pantheon serves precisely to legitimi&e a segmented and even hierarchical model of society (Dumont 06GG,MGC$ which can easily slide from relations of ran ed interdependence into a hegemonic system of domination+ )he esoteric values have been especially encoded into the symbolic paradigms that unite the literature and ecstatic practices of the !ufi elite with the popular Auasi.polytheistic cult of the mara outs and !irs+ )hough the tension and oscillation between the two poles is bridged by an implicit sacrificial ideology" which can even become the explicit center of gravity in certain configurations li e !hia messianism" this fundamental paradox of monotheism is resolvable only in teleological terms" as favoring a process of interiori&ation of both the social and the mystical values encoded within a single symbolic framewor + It corresponds to the inherent tension between material forms99in the absence of which the symbols remain inaccessible or impotent" and in the presence of which they ris becoming idols99and the structured meanings they serve to convey+ %ore than a grudging concession to the vulgar masses" Islamic <polytheism' was not only rarefied through its insertion within the greater %eccan tradition" but also served to extend and propagate the latter through peaceful syncreti&ing99as opposed to violent conversion99among (ex.$ polytheists deriving from or still adhering to another great tradition li e Hinduism+ !uch an attempt to incorporate local forms of Hindu idolatry into the otherwise exclusive Islamic universe necessarily came into silent or overt conflict with a parallel process whereby such popular cults were being drawn into the independent symbolic universe of high brahmanism+ :or Hindu polytheism was instead informed by the values of brahmanical hierarchy" that proceeded by gradually purifying even tribal cults of their impure and violent elements while continuing to reinscribe the latter within the symbolic paradigm of the Eedic sacrifice+ ?y countenancing the multiplicity of gods and sacred centers" the brahmanical model of society favored a fragmented decentrali&ed polity" and even a diversity of cultures" held together by a shared mythico.ritual universe dominated by the ideal of purity+ /t the same time" it was supplemented99and partly neutrali&ed99by a tantric paradigm which explicitly favored the interiori&ation of image worship within a scheme of individual salvation+ -hether it functioned as a strategy of social stratification that too even %uslim <castes' into its non.sectarian politico.economic framewor " or as a techniAue of self.perfection that could enter into a fruitful spiritual symbiosis with certain !ufi orders" Hinduism as a religious process contradicted the Islamic pro=ect of a universali&ing egalitarian community to whose law all individual aspirations are also subordinated+ -hereas the political strength of Islam thus lay in its exclusive but open self.definition as an iconoclastic monotheism" the social strength of Hinduism lay in its inclusive but hierarchical self.definition in terms of an elaborate and elastic mythico. ritual universe whose values were most tangibly embodied in the visible pantheon of the gods on earth+ )he uneasy compromise of the two opposing models is manifest in the idolatrous Hindu worship of the iconoclast 8ha&i %iyan" and the %uslim appropriation of #at.?hairava in his non.anthropomorphic form as the world.pillar+ transgressive sacrality in Islam

/ny totali&ing hermeneutic of a religious tradition has to sooner or later confront the impossibility of deciphering its symbolic universe without coming to grips with the <liminality' that paradoxically pervades the whole system" and even seems to govern its functioning from within+ )he problem is that many" if not most" instances of liminality99li e the anonymous condition of the tribal initiates" status reversals during festivals li e Holi" the transgressions of the sacred clown" the rituali&ed conflicts characteristic of %uharram and the Dewar festivals of ?hairava99serve =ust as much to cement and reinforce as to undermine the social order+ !tructure" as I use the term here" refers primarily to the binary classification of signs as a function of their opposed values" an organi&ation" reflected in both social institutions and individual motivations" that serves as the matrix for the generation of meaning through varied modes of symbolic behavior and discourse+ )he distinctive structure of a religious tradition is ultimately based on the specific networ of prohibitions and in=unctions which determine the positive or negative values attributed to particular ob=ects or acts+ )he Hindu social strategy of caste.ran ing is organi&ed around the opposition of the pure and the impure" whereas the universali&ing egalitarian pro=ect of Islam has been translated into a law.code that in principle disallows any hierarchy within" or mediation with respect to" the one transcendent god" and any other sacred center that may rival %ecca+ If liminality seems to overflow the limited category of events that transgress these normative rules to the extent of pervading" entering into a dialectical relationship with" and even contributing towards the finality of structure" it does so primarily through a shift of perspective from that of social order to that of totali&ing meaning+ )his shift from a psychologi&ing approach in terms of functions and norms" or a sociologi&ing approach in terms of conflicts and rules" to a semiotic approach in terms of signification and system" allows the same configuration of signs to be interpreted simultaneously as reinforcing andNor as undermining the structure of the religious tradition+ Even in those /brahamic traditions which accord primacy to political sovereignty over individual salvation" the messianic age remains defined by the universal suspension of the law, the figure of the messiah" despite and because of his centrality to the system of values" is itself surcharged with a transgressive sacrality+ %ore than providing the doctrinal basis for an alternative" rival and hierarchi&ed community within Islam" the Auasi.theistic figure of the !hia Imam becomes the messianic focus for a systematic rereading of the (oranic law in the hidden light of a transgressive hermeneutic+ !een in this light" discreet violations of the shariat by !ufis of the lawless variety assume a religious significance far greater than that of an individual techniAue of self.annihilation grudgingly tolerated by the enveloping !unni society+ :ol religion99 syncretism" in particular99seems to have provided the diverse strands of an otherwise elitist esotericism with a privileged locus for the exteriori&ation" conservation and propagation of a tabooed dimension that had to necessarily remain hidden within the exoteric forms of their respective traditions+ :acilitated by the shared perception of violent death as the consummation of a mystical marriage" the transgressive celebration of 8ha&i %iyan's festival not only transcended the distinction between !unni and !hia+ In the larger context of the growing communali&ation of Hindu.%uslim relations99Auestioned and yet abetted in so many ways by the discourse of modernity99it has become all the more urgent to reconsider how this marriage of 8ha&i %iyan and #at ?hairava also dissolved the opposition between Hinduism and Islam+

The Marriage (urs) of Ghazi Miyan and Lat Bhairava: Death and Cosmogony in Banaras
%ost %uslims recogni&e the centrality of ?anaras for Hinduism and the sacredness of the 8anga as an <ob=ective' fact+ ?ut what Hindus do not reali&e is that for the %uslims of ?anaras" even while %ecca and %edina remain the nuclei of Islam" ?anaras is an important Islamic centre+ )he older mosAues of ?anaras" Dhai (angura" 8an= !hahida"

and /bdul >a&&a !hah" and the tombs of #al (han" :a r.ud. din" and 8ha&i %ian are all seen as testimony to the legitimacy of the %uslim presence and the %uslim share in the city's culture+ /mong those that date from /urang&eb's time" the 8yanvapi" #at" and Dharhara mosAues are regarded with special pride" and are indeed imposing architectural artifacts ((umar 0677,L32LG4 cf+ 0676,0GL$+ Fult of 8ha&i %iyan 8ha&i %iyan was born into <history' at /=mer in 0C0I as !alar %asud" the nephew of %ahmud of 8ha&ni" who led the first %uslim invasions of India+ %ahmud is particularly renowned" at least among the Hindus" for his destruction and looting of the magnificent temple of !omanath in 8u=arat+ Disgusted with his uncle" who was moved more by greed than by missionary &eal" !alar %asud set off on his own to eradicate the pagan religion" and to convert the infidels to the true faith+ /s his desire for martyrdom was as intense as his proselyti&ing &eal" he headed the %uslim warriors in their numerous incursions into the 8angetic plain" until he was felled in battle in 0C11 at the tender age of 06 by the Hindus+ -hen %uslim domination over north India was permanently established towards the end of the 0Mth century" his tomb at ?ahraich (north.eastern Jttar 5radesh$ was rediscovered+ It became such an important pilgrimage site that" already by the 01th century" the poet /mir (husru could spea of the whole of Hindustan being embalmed by the fragrance from the perfumed tomb+ )he ballads" which are sung by low.caste %uslim musicians (dafali$ belonging to a fraternity devoted to his cult" ma e ?ahraich itself his birthplace+ He was cursed even before his birth to be martyred on his wedding.day+ ;n the fateful day" he has to exchange his marriage garments for armor" and the wedding music becomes martial as he rides out to battle+ He annihilates the aggressors4 it is only while returning that he is illed by the arrow of a survivor+ In India" poles whose summit is ornamented with an effigy of the head of the martyred hero are ta en out in procession4 in Depal" it is the pole itself which receives the blood of ids offered to obtain rain4 no doubt that in these rites" it is the saint himself who is represented by the poles through a symbolism which is widespread in the %uslim world (8aborieau 06L3,10I$+ !acrifice to M 5oles at (uraha ;n !aturday afternoon in the %uslim village of (uraha in Depal" the pole is carried from the forest" preceded by untouchable Hindu musicians ( damai$" to be deposed beside the mango tree in whose shade is the replica of the ?ahraich tomb+ In (uraha this stone platform (mazar$ is housed in a small sAuare building constructed exactly on the model of the Hindu temples of the region+ ;n !unday morning" the %uslim men attach an oriflamme to the summit of the new pole before raising it against the mango.tree+ )hey then level the pole raised two years ago leaving that of the previous year intact" so that there are always two poles standing permanently against the tree+ )he three ids to be sacrificed are made to give their consent in the well. nown Hindu manner+ )he two white ids reserved for /llah alone are sacrificed facing %ecca" according to the rules of halal so that the blood flows into the earth+ )he throat of the third id" the blac one" is slit at the foot of the new pole so as to impregnate the wood with its blood+ HEveryone agreed that the blood was destined not for /llah" but to the pole" linga" itself" to which it is offered (carhaunu$ li e a victim to a Hindu godH (8aborieau 06L3,1CL$+ transgressive marriage.festival In India" as opposed to Depal" there is a Hmassive participation of Hindus in the offerings to the tomb and to the pole" symbols which they could easily assimilate to the material supports of their godsH (8aborieau 06L3,103$+ -illiam Froo e (076G"

0,MCL$ had already suggested an original sun cult with a cosmogonic marriage" and 8aborieau adds that the pole itself" Hin the rites meant to obtain rain" appears as a sort of phallic symbol uniting heaven and earthH (06L3,101$+ 8ha&i %iyan" the martyred youth" is not =ust the lord of rain and the harvests" his tomb dispenses all boons" particularly sons to the childless+ It is thus not so much the martyr's union with /llah that is the popular focus of the %uslim cult" but rather the regenerative forces unleashed by his tragic marriage" which begins to be celebrated in India even M to 1 days before the !unday festival+ / bed" a couch and other accessories are sent to the tomb in the belief that 8ha&i %iyan annually re.enacts his wedding+ He is even said to have been wearing his wedding robes when he was struc down+ )he men call him <the delight of the fiancO' ( gajna dulha$ and the women call him <!alar the libertine' (salar chinali$+ H)he women who enter the tomb fall down in a faint believing that the saint has suc ed them /nd the water pressed out from the under.garment (lungi$ of the saint is distributed to the faithful as a sign of fertilityH (8aborieau 06L3,M6L$+ In the Depali cult at the %uslim village of (uraha" the exchanges of love songs between the otherwise rigidly segregated sexes on !aturday night invariably develops into promiscuous flirting and even extra.marital unions+ Dot only is the distinction of caste momentarily suspended" as in every Hindu festival" but the distinction between Hindus and %uslims ceases momentarily to operate+ )his licence is associated everywhere in India with the festival of 8ha&i %iyan and this since a long time for protests by the orthodox authorities have been noted since the beginning of the fifteenth century (8aborieau 06L3,101$+ Despite some persisting rules of the game regarding social distances" the carnival. li e atmosphere tends to dissolve all restraints among the revelers+ Dulha.deo and marriage of two pillars 8ha&i %iyan is the %uslim counterpart of the generic DPlhadeo" <the bridegroom deity'" whose cult His widely spread from the Fentral 5rovinces up to the hills which rise above the valley of the 8angesH (Froo e 06MG,0C0$+ !tone pillars are often associated with the tragic fate of this fol .deity who died on his wedding day+ In the Darbada valley" there are two such pillars" the shorter being the affianced bride of the taller bridegroom who was arriving in the marriage procession ( arat$, they were both transformed into pillars" in their very eagerness" when they first saw each other at the same moment+ HIn the %ir&apur District DPlhadeo presides over marriage" being worshipped in the family itchen at marriages (harwQrs worship him at the house hearth when a newly married pair come home" the goat for sacrifice being fed on rice and pulse" and the worshipper folding his hands says" <)a e it" DPlhadeo@' /s a rule he abides in a corner of the hearth" and the animal offered to him must be a goat of dar colourH ( loc# cit#$" usually red+ )he basic elements of the marriage of 8ha&i %iyan at (uraha99 the two poles" the goat" and especially the notion of a tragic death99are thus already present in the sacrifice of the <bridegroom deity' practised by tribal groups at various rungs on the ladder of acculturation towards the norms of classical Hinduism+ Islami&ation of Hindu fol .cult 8ha&i %iyan's continuing fame as the <messiah of lepers' (%ahmood 0676,1L.17$ attracts multitudes of patients especially during the great fair of the wedding+ )he ancient worship of the sun in order to heal leprosy and s in.diseases in general is based on a symbolic association which finds sanction in Hindu astrological treatises+ >epresented by a phallic pole planted upon the earthen (termite.$ mound within which he lives as the serpent. ing" 8ha&i %iyan incorporates the same embryogonic symbolism as the solar %artanda.?hairava in the Deccan where the cow" the 8anga and the mound all signify the maternal womb+ He is

especially worshipped by the Hindu Doms" among whom some sub.castes identify 8ha&i %iyan with #al ?eg" the warrior son of their ancestor Ealmi i+ )hey are no doubt continuing with a tenacious tradition which pre.existed the cult of this %uslim <!un of %artyrdom' (Afta -i $hahadat$" who was buried under a %ahua tree beside a sun.temple so much so that his head is still supposed to rest on the image of the sun+ Held sacred by the forest tribes" the %ahua tree is intimately lin ed to death, an adult may be cremated under it+ )he 8onds in ?engal even fasten the corpse in an erect posture to its trun + #i e the bamboo" mango" Fhampa" ?ilva and some other trees (Froo e 06MG,ICI207" esp+ IC6" I0320G$" the %ahua is also an integral element of the ordinary marriage rituals of many castes and tribes" such as the ?Qgdi" (urmi" %unda and !antQl+ %any tribes and castes ma e bride and bridegroom wal around a post fixed in the centre of the marriage shed" and each group selects their special holy tree for this purpose+ ?in=hwQrs in the Fentral 5rovinces plant a trun of the %ahua tree ( Bassia latifolia$" with two branches" in the marriage shed+ [)he (urmis place two posts"] one longer than the other" to represent the bride and the bridegroom" [in the shed] which represents the hut in which" among the lower castes" consummation immediately follows the marriage rite+ )he most significant example of a marriage pole is that used by the ?harvQds of 8u=arQt+ )his is called %Qni .stambha" <a ruby.pillar'" because it gleams with blood+ )he tree is decorated and the astrologer orders the chief man to cut his little finger and mar the stem with blood+ If the astrologer finds that the time is unsuited for the use of human blood" the ear of a blac sheep is cut and the stem is smeared with its blood (Froo e 06MG,ICI$+ Identified with both bridegroom and bride" the <androgynous' tree is often the surrogate victim that assumes" especially in the case of remarriage" what may aptly be called the latent <marital violence' (Froo e 06MG,06L27" I03$+ /mong such tribes undergoing <hindui&ation'" the marriage ritual was in this way already eAuated to a sacrifice+ /s a proposal of marriage" >a=puts and other high castes" for example" send to the bridegroom a coconut" a regular substitute for the human head in the worship of the %other.8oddess (Froo e 06MG,I0C200$+ )he sun itself is believed to reside at the top of certain trees" and remains symbolically identified with the <head' of the wooden pole made from their trun + / bachelor from the tumbler caste ((olhQti$" for example" may marry a widow if he first undergoes a <sun marriage' (arka-vivaha$ with a >ui tree ( %alatro!is gigantea4 Froo e 06MG,067" cf+ I0C for the DRm tree$+ (illed in his attempt to annihilate the !haiva sun.cult of the ?hars at ?ahraich" !alar %asud paradoxically ended up merely obscuring its pagan character+ )he proselyti&ing saint succeeded in eradicating human sacrifice" only by promoting the underlying tribal paradigm in an Islamici&ed mould focused upon himself as a martyr (!chwerin 0670$+ %arriage of 8ha&i %iyan in ?anaras ?ut what is the relevance of this <popular' fol .cult" thriving on the fringes of classical brahmanism" to the larger Auestion of Hindu.%uslim relations in the Indian subcontinentB -hile heading for ?ahraich in 0C1I213" !alar %asud had dispatched a portion of his army and its retinue under %ali /f&al /lavi to ta e Earanasi" the sacred city of the Hindus (!u ul 06LI, 03M23" 06LL,MI2MG$+ )he invading contingent was thoroughly defeated on the northern outs irts beyond the boundary wall of the city at the site where the %as=id 8an=.i.!hahidan now stands near the (ashi >ailway station (the mosAue was unearthed only during this construction activity$+ )he %uslim civilians" with their women and children" were permitted to settle down in that area as townsmen+ ;ver the following century" they peacefully served the Hindu ings even as soldiers+ /fter *utb.ud.din /iba " the chief general of %uhammad 8hori" had devastated the city in 006I" destroying nearly one thousand temples" the %uslim locality was renamed <!alarpur' or </lavipur N /laipura' (which today includes the two wards of /dampura and Saitpura$+ )he lower.

caste %uslims of the area" who are primarily weavers" still celebrate the <marriage' (urs$ of /lai !hahid (/lavi" the martyr$ and !alar %asud+ ;n the first !unday of the solar month of Syestha (falling between 0I and M0 %ay$" they reenact99 li e %uslims elsewhere in Dorth India and western Depal99the annual wedding procession ( arat$ of 8ha&i %iyan's tragic marriage with Sohara ?ibi+ It moves from the Saitpura crossing to the domed mausoleum which houses (the replica of$ his <tomb' at whose head is a high pillar+ )he custodians of %uslim tomb. shrines elsewhere in the city generally <digress' into the story of 8ha&i %iyan when Auestioned about the particular saint of their locality (!earle.Fhatter=ee 0661$, the martyred bridegroom provides the very archetype of the !ir who shows the way to salvation for the Indian %uslim+ Description of #at ?hairo )he same %uslims also used to =oin their lower.caste Hindu neighbors in venerating a pillar that stands in the middle of the large idgah where they congregate for :riday prayers+ )his #at ?hairava pillar was almost completely levelled during the <unprecedented' Hindu.%uslim riots of 07C6+ )oday this Hindu icon is a mere stump" 1 feet thic and L to 7 feet high" that stands stubbornly but precariously on a slightly elevated stone platform in the midst of the %uslim idgah" where the devout of both faiths continue to pray and offer their respective sacrifices+ Entirely encased under protective copper sheeting installed after the riots by the District %agistrate" it is separated from the idgah only by a small enclosing bric wall which can nevertheless be overloo ed by Indians of higher stature+ Sust outside the wall and to the north is the ad=oining <well of ?harata' ( Bharat ku!a$" the youngest brother of #ord >ama+ )owards the south of this terrace" and 3 or G meters below" is a large tan named &a!alamochana" a strong well.built structure with stairs and foundation of solid stone+ %any Hindus bathe here for the tan is reputed to cure women of sterility and bathing daily for IC days can even remove leprosy+ )here are also some sacred trees, particularly a !i!!al and a nim tree" whose <marriage' all over India is a Hindu prolongation of the Eedic sacrificial symbolism of (the union of$ the asvattha and the sami trees+ )he shrine is located on the north.eastern part of the present city on the =unction of the 8rand )run >oad with the road leading to !arnath" and is almost a mile west of the confluence of two sacred rivers" the Earana and of course the 8anga+ )he open praying area of the idgah is bounded on the west by a wall with the niche ( mihra $ indicating the orientation ('i lah$ of %ecca" so much so that some of the neeling %uslims in the bac rows could easily end up having the #at between them and the ob=ect of their adoration+ )o the stump of the original #at" which was once famous among the Hindu population both for its antiAuity and for its sanctity" is normally affixed a small mas of ?hairava4 almost as if to supervise the wor of the cudgel.bearing policeman who are permanently posted in the vicinity to prevent the outbrea of fresh communal tension+ :or it is here that (ala ?hairava" the divini&ed magistrate ((otwal$ of ?anaras" metes out his (metaphysical$ <punishment' to all those who are fortunate enough die in the sacred city+ eradication of human sacrifice, incorporation of #at in Idgah !tories still circulating among the %uslims tell of 8ha&i %iyan having eradicated the regular human sacrifice at a temple of !omnath that would have existed near the confluence of the Earana and the 8anga+ )his may refer to a %aharudra temple" probably a (apali a cult center" which *utb.ud.din /iba must have devastated along with the rest of the city+ )he :rench lapidary )avernier saw the pillar in 0GG3" during the reign of /urang&eb" within the walled garden99with many sculptures and beautiful architecture99of a mosAue+ Its shaft" which was 1M to 13 feet high and all of one piece" terminated in a pyramid with a large sphere+ )he central sepulcher (rauza$ of the ad=acent %uslim cemetery is made up of <?uddhist' architectural remains+ Its old %uslim careta ers spo e to )avernier of the remains of a ing of ?hutan being buried within the central tomb" beliefs which could reflect royal notations originally associated with the stu!a+ )he evidence points to an </sho an' pillar" no doubt the one that Hiuen )sang in G1G /+D+ saw standing

before a ?uddhist stu!a+ )he Hindu texts describing the sacred geography of ?anaras refer to a <pillar of the great cremation.ground' ( Mahashmashana-stam ha$ standing at the present location of the #at+ )he &ashikhanda (6L+GI2G$" which reflects the post.Islamic adaptations of the mid.0Ith century" spea s of %aharudra residing with his consort Jma (not in an ad=oining temple but$ in the pillar itself" near the <#ord of the ! ull' (&a!alesha$" and refers to the ad=acent &a!alamochana+ )he &a!alikas" who were adepts of the !oma doctrine (now understood as overt sexual rites modelled on !hiva's union with Jma$" generally haunted the cremation.grounds and were adepts of human sacrifice+ purification of Hindu worship, %uslim goat sacrifices during id )he (%aharudra temple around the$ Mahashmashana $tam ha must have been the haunt of &a!alikas and (ashu!atas in the pre.%uslim period+ )hrough a general evolution well attested elsewhere in Dorth India" even in the ma=or ?hairava temples of ?anaras and J==ain" the post.%uslim #at seems to have been in the religious custody first of the Daths (Sogees$" then the 8osains and finally the ?rahmins (Fhalier. Eisuvalingam 0676,036"MC320C$+ )his sociological development corresponds to the progressive purification of the Hindu mode of worship from human sacrifice to bloodless vegetarian offerings (cf+ Froo e 06MG,0C12001$" leaving it to the %uslims to perform the intermediate goat.sacrifices during their ( Ba'r$ )d celebrations which the <brahmani&ed' Hindus now find rather distasteful ((umar 0676,03L27$+ )he %uslim post.riot memorial observed that, Dear the #aut of Eedgah there is a !ee!ul tree" and under this tree the Hindus put some idols and made it a place of their idolatry+ -hen the %usulmans gathered together for the purposes of praying at the Eed" Tc+" the ?rahmins on the spot remove the idols+ If there happened to be any which could not be conveniently ta en away they were carefully concealed with grass+ )he faithful on the day of Eed used to perform the sacrifice there and never met with any interruption from the Hindoos (>obinson 07LL,00I$+ -hereas their caste.fellows living in %adanpura resort to the 8yanvapi mosAue at the heart of the sacred city" the illiterate weaver (*ulaha$ community of /laipur generally congregates at this #at idgah+ >ather than immigrant %uslim weavers who were seduced by Hindu idolatry" they would be Hindu99or strongly <hindui&ed' ?uddhist99castes that continued to worship the pillar even after their conversion en masse to Islam by the hard core of 8ha&i %iyan's original followers (cf+ (umar 0677,3C$+ ?y leaving the aniconic </sho an' pillar standing intact before the idgah when it tore down the surrounding pantheon of Hindu idols" Islamic iconoclasm had reinscribed the continuing Hindu worship within a %ecca.centered framewor + Its spectrum of signification could have thus ranged from that of a divinity proper for the devotees of ?hairava to that of a mere victory monument (cf+ the 'ut minar below$ for the uncompromising legalists+ )he Hindu.%uslim cult of 8ha&i %iyan and #at ?hairava merely confirms that Islamic proselyti&ing has succeeded through a =udicious blend of violent imposition of symbolic (architectural$ structures and syncreti&ing accommodation that operates on the common ground occupied by both religions (cf+ /hmad 0670,0M206$+ :ero& !hah N sacred geography of #at It was during the reign of :ero& !hah )ughluA that the famous /rahi.(angra mosAue" the Fhau hamba and 8ola 8hat mosAues" many others in /lavipur" and almost the entire building scheme around the ?a aria (und were constructed" generally on the site of" and with the materials obtained from" demolished Hindu temples+ )he )ughluA dynasty patroni&ed the" by now already famous" cult of 8ha&i %iyan+ :ero& !hah )ughluA made the pilgrimage to ?ahraich where he had his hair cut (!chwerin 0670,0I726$+ /t the behest of his mother" who had ta en a vow to build a big dargah if her son won the battle of )hatta (01LI$" the Delhi !ultan even had a marble fort built around the tomb (%ahmood 0676,M621C$+ )he iconoclast's obsession with pre.Islamic pillars had led him to transplant several </sho an' pillars99over

great distances99to the compounds of his royal mosAues with a spatial orientation that corresponds to what we see today at #at ?hairava+ )he %uslims' own post.riot memorial which was Hsigned by LMI persons" 0C3 of whom were accounted individuals of noteH (>obinson 07LL,006$ could claim that this pillar of the world was in fact Hthe structure of :ero&e !hah" li e the pillar [ ] at /llahabad" Delhi and other places" and which the [Hindus] state to have been erected by their own forefathers+ ?ut" be that as it may" it was not an ob=ect of their worship entitled to any great veneration li e the temples of [Eishveshvara] and [?hairavanatha]4 for no account of this pillar is to be found in any of their orthodox boo s+ )he style of worship of the Hindus is this" wherever they find set up (a pillar$ they call it" at the incitement of their priests" a place of their worship" and after sometime has elapsed they consider it as a place of worship of the highest sanctity+H )he same source notes however that Hfor some years the lower classes of [Hindus] and [%uslims] have annually celebrated the marriage of the [#at]" and have divided the offerings between themH (>obinson 07LL,0012I$+ )he latter fact was still reluctantly admitted by the legal custodians of the idgah when we interviewed them in 06L6 with Sohn Irwin+ 8ha&i %iyan's continuing fame as the <messiah of lepers' (%ahmood 0676,1L217$" which attracts multitudes of patients especially during the great fair of the wedding at ?haraich" is reflected in the curative function which is still attributed to the (apalamocana tan beside the #at at ?anaras+ )he sphere which had once crowned the pillar was itself probably a sun symbol+ #at ?hairava appears to be the vestige of a more extensive Hindu cult" whose (epi.$ center at ?ahraich has been simply absorbed into Islam, to the extent that" when as ed to explain the pillar's marriage to the ad=acent well" the devotees of #at ?hairava invariably refer to the marriage of 8ha&i %iyan celebrated by their predominantly %uslim neighbors of /lavipura N !alarpura+

1%arriage' of #at ?hairava and 8ha&i %iyan

/n outbrea of communal violence is especially feared during the annual <marriage of #at ?hairo' with the ad=oining well on the full.moon day of ?hadrapada (/ugust. !eptember$+ )he dar fortnight of this eleventh and most dangerous month of the Hindu calendar is nown in the vernacular as Hthe =aws of the god deathH (!tevenson 06L0,1MC"1MGff+$+ (ala ?hairava is brought as a large metal mas (mukut U <crown'$ from within the city to crown the pillar for a day+ / systematic comparison with the raising and felling of a pole during Dewar Dew Kear festivals99the Indra festival of (athmandu" celebrated the very same day" and the ?is et festival of ?ha tapur consecrated to ?hairava" who is said to have come from ?anaras99reveals the vestige of a pre.Islamic royal cosmogony+ ?hairava represents the Hindu ing who offers himself at the (transposition of the Eedic sacrificial$ sta e in what is simultaneously conceived to be a sexual union+ Hence the choice of this date99so inauspicious for any Hindu wedding99which mar s the beginning of the fortnight reserved for the performance of funerary rituals to propitiate the manes+ !ome of the most significant finds from the <archaeology' of #at ?hairo are hence remnants of what had been incorporated by the %uslims into their baroAue <frie&e' about this martyred warrior (!earle.Fhatter=ee 0661$+ / bridegroom discovered that he had been chosen to be the next victim" on the very day of his imminent marriage" at the problematic temple of !omnath near the confluence of the Earana with the 8anga at >a=ghat+ >esponding to the hysterical condition of the victim's mother" 8ha&i %iyan bathed in the 8anga and too his place" but the image started sin ing as soon as he placed one foot across the threshold+ )he %uslim hero nevertheless managed to sei&e the disappearing head by its tuft and ic it" before dispersing the hair which grew wherever it fell as a type of grass+ In a common variant" the martyr removed his own head to avoid seeing and being seduced by the hundreds of na ed women sent by the ing's astrologer in order to destroy the power of his purity and thereby render him an easy sacrificial victim+ )he sohila (ritual songs sung throughout the festival of 8ha&i %iyan$ which opens the festival and accompanies the procession at (uraha as s rather enigmatically, H-here has the hair fallenB It has fallen somewhere+ ?ala 5ir [8ha&i %iyan] has departed [in] the dress of a dollH (8aborieau 06L3,1CC$+ )he allusion is to the custom in ?ahraich where (a representation of$

the long.haired head of the saint is carried in procession at the tip of a lance (8aborieau 06L3,10L n+M1$+ /t ?ha tapur" in the (athmandu Ealley" the place of the designated bridegroom.victim was ta en" again in response to his mother's wailing" by an un nown foreign prince" alias ?hairava" whose (symbolic$ death becomes the precondition for his marriage to the lusty princess+ Dowadays" it is the #at which is popularly held to be sin ing into the ground" and (ala ?hairava" alias (ashi Eishwanath" was decapitated at the ?ha tapur cosmogony when he had almost completely disappeared into the earth on his underground escape.route bac to ?anaras+ )he leaves atop the wooden pole beside the ?ha tapur cremation.ground represent the hair of ?hairava" which" li e the scattered grass" probably symboli&es the fertili&ing rays of the sun+ )he martyrdom of the %uslim warrior and the punishment of the Hindu god serve as the two poles of a common ideology of self.sacrifice based on the identity of the iller and the victim+ Despite the still unresolved tensions between Islam and Hinduism on the social and doctrinal levels" these <hybrid' legends reveal an uncanny understanding of the cults of both 8ha&i %iyan and of #at ?hairo+ cremation" human sacrifice and liberation Indeed" among the foremost devotees of 8ha&i %iyan99who" li e Dulha (<bridegroom'$ Deo" is also believed to have been illed by fire on the eve of his wedding (!chwerin 0670,03L$99are the untouchable Doms of ?anaras who speciali&e in the <human sacrifice' of the crematory ritual for the entire Hindu community from the furthest reaches of the Indian subcontinent+ FolloAuial Hindi wisdom still refers to the cremation (ground$ as the <place of the bride' ( dulhan ka sthan$ and as the <last marriage' (akhiri shadi$+ )hough it is the concern for general fertility that dominates the popular perception of these <marriage' festivals in Depal and even ?anaras" the themes of human sacrifice and of ultimate liberation still remain in the bac ground+ :unerary rituals and notations are intrinsic to all these festivals because even real death is assimilated to an (internali&ed$ sexual union whereby the flame of consciousness is experienced as ascending from the base of the spinal column to burst through the cranial foramen+ )he <punishment of ?hairava' undergone by all sinners who are privileged to die in (ashi is modelled on the decapitation of criminals with the phallic #at assuming the symbolic role of the Eedic sacrificial pole (yu!a$" which itself stood on the edge of the fiery altar ( vedi$ that represented the female organ of generation+ )he primary difference between the sacrificial marriages of the blac ((ala$ ?hairo and of the saint 8ha&i %iyan would appear to be the replacement of criminal execution with that of triumphant martyrdom in holy war (jihad$+ death" embryogony" sexual union" decapitation )his death.in.union is" however" only the prelude to the rebirth of the royal sacrificer and" with it" the re=uvenation of the whole ingdom+ Hence" the promise of fertility that accompanies the marriages of both 8ha&i %iyan and #at ?hairava+ )he fecundating powers of ?hairava's linga are revealed in ?anaras 7 days after the celebration of the #at's marriage99hence on the 7th of the still inauspicious waning fortnight of /shwin99as part of <the vow for long.living sons' (Sivatputri a$ which must be performed near a pool" in this instance the (apalamochana tan + )he day immediately following is <mother's ninth' (%atri Davami$" which is reserved for the propitiation of deceased women" particularly mothers+ HDo matter on what actual date a <fortunate' woman died" her %ahQlaya !rQddha is performed on the ninth of the fortnight" and in actual practice this !rQddha for all women" whether luc y or widowed" is performed on this dayH (!tevenson 06L0,1ML$+ :or devotees the <mother (in the form of a$ well' ( ku!a janani$ is indeed the symbol of the %other4 it recalls the maternal waters of the >igveda+ !ince ?hairavashtami" the birthday of ?hairava" is the only other day when the <crown' is again mounted on the pillar99though without any fanfare99?hairava's (royal$ wedding would appear to be symbolically identical with his very birth+ )he calendrical determinations reveal the funerary rites99which are especially effective when the !un is in Eirgo99to be themselves modelled on the scenario of

the death and <matricidal' rebirth of the sacrificer from the virgin womb of the bride.mother+ marriage of the well in fol .religion H)he tribal deity of the >Qi wQr >Q=puts of ;udh was pushed into a well to fulfil a prophecy" and has since been deifiedH (Froo e 076G" 0,063$ as the <?liss of ?hairava"' ?hairavananda+ 5ractically all the elements that are brought together to constitute the Hindu cosmogony based on the royal marriage of ?hairava are in this way easily derived from fol religion (Froo e 06MG,G12G6" 63267$+ In the 5un=ab" a girl from the water.carrier caste (DhRmar$ used to be married to ?hairava at his shrine at ?aodada in >ewQri+ !imilarly" the boatmen (%allQh$ of /gra used to marry their daughters to the ?hairava worshipped by the grain.parchers (?harbhun=ar$ in the 8urgaon district of the same province+ In both cases" the girl is said to die soon after (Froo e 06MG,MIG$+ -ells should be dug on a !unday and must be <married' before their water is used for drin ing or irrigation+ ;ften the !aligrama (anchorite$ representing Eishnu is solemnly wedded to the holy basil plant ()ulsi$ to infuse its waters with fertili&ing power+ !imilarly" tan s should have a central pole for husband4 otherwise the unwedded waters will not be sweet+ )he rituals are performed li e a real marriage ceremony" with the owner impersonating the bridegroom" a inswoman the wife" and gifts given to brahmins+ H(alars in the Fentral 5rovinces" before a wedding procession starts" perform a curious rite nown as <marrying the well'+ )he mother or aunt of the bridegroom goes to the well" sits with her legs dangling down inside it" and as s what the bridegroom will give her+ He goes round the well seven times" and a piece of (Qns grass is thrown into it at each turn+ /fterwards he promises her a present and she returns home+ ?y another account she pretends to be overcome by grief at the bridegroom's departure" and threatens to throw herself into the well unless he will give her somethingH (Froo e 06MG,GI23$+ -ells are closely connected with not only marriage and child.birth" but also with re=uvenation+ HIn the (aira District an old >a=put accidentally fell into a well and recovered his youthful strength" so that it has now become a place of pilgrimageH (Froo e 06MG,G3" cf+ G6$+ -hat then is so specifically <Hindu' about Hinduism" if not the brahmanical purification of the sacrificial paradigm and its (re2$ derivation from the Eedic revelationB androgynous marriage is ultimately internal :or the Indra festival" Hindu texts sometimes prescribe the erection of a second pole" representing Indra's mother" beside the one representing the ing of the gods+ ;ften" as in villages of !outh India" the single sacrificial sta e is made from the wood of the <maternal' !ami tree+ :or all its social determinations and politico.economic implications" the brahmanical sacrifice is the public dramati&ation of a lived experience of transgressive sacrality, so too" the wedding ceremony becomes the celebration of an internali&ed sexual union that is ultimately androgynous+ Hence the necessary participation of not only courtesans but also eunuchs in Hindu marriages" including that of #at ?hairava+ HFhange of sex is often simulated in marriage rites" when it is not uncommon to dress the bridegroom as a girl" or vice.versaH (Froo e 06MG,ML6 for several examples$+ -here the marriage is mediated by a sacred tree" li e the %ahua andNor the mango" it is identified with the bridegroom or bride or both at the same time (Froo e 06MG,I03207$+ -hat is more" it remains wholly ambiguous whether the ritual bond99established" for example" by tying the participant's right hand to the tree99identifies this surrogate (victim$ with the partner of opposite sex or with the participant's own self+ :or instance" the %unda Hbride goes in the bridegroom's litter to a mango tree and ties a thread around it" the tree being regarded as witness to the marriageH (Froo e 06MG,I0G$+ )he androgynous marriage of the male and female principles corresponds99in the Hindu context99to the fusion of the lateral" solar and lunar" breaths into the neutral median canal which is assimilated to the world. pillar+ /re the twin poles commemorating the marriage of 8ha&i %iyan at (uraha necessarily of opposite sex or" for that matter" even of the same sexB

Hindu marriage :ar from being an aberration" #at ?hairava provides us with the archetypal meaning of any Hindu marriage, the symbolic renactment of the Eedic sacrifice which began with the ascetic phase of the consecration (diksha$+ HDow" if we are to understand the salient points of a wedding [especially among the DQgara brahmins] we must grasp the idea that on their wedding day" and for at least three days after" the little bride and bridegroom represent the god !iva and his wife 5QrvatRH (!tevenson 06L0,G7$+ )hey become the divine couple when the bride's friends eventually pour the water in which she has bathed over the big toe of the bridegroom's right foot after having attempted to pour it over his head (ibid+" G62LC$+ !tevenson suggests that he uses the bride's soap when he proceeds to bathe in preparation for the marriage procession during which he is adorned with the <crown' (and other mythical attributes$ of the ascetic !hiva+ Immediately behind the bridegroom's horse wal s his mother clad in two saris" an attire reserved for high ritual li e the sraddha and the performance of a great sacrifice+ /t the bride's house" as soon as his own mother has been banished from the wedding rites to follow" the girl is brought to the other side of a curtain held before the bridegroom+ !he is allowed to see only the same right toe on which she promptly ma es a red mar + )he bride's mother" who is clad in a red sari which can never be worn again except at another daughter's marriage" then indulges herself in assaulting her son.in.law by pulling his nose+ )he treatment of the toe seems to be the eAuivalent of the sacrificial marriage of the (?hairava.$ linga to (the waters of$ the well (cf+ below" the *adir #inga's practice of wearing on his foot a linga found in well$+ )he bride's father ends the %adhupar a ritual" performed to honor the bridegroom" with the gift of (at least the price of$ a cow" followed by the gift of the bride herself+ /mong certain brahmins" the final gift must ta e place at sunset and be completed before the sun has passed more than half.way down the hori&on, as if the bridegroom were the setting sun+ Even otherwise" if the wedding is by day" the husband as s the wife to loo at the sun after having ta en with her the seven steps around the sacrificial fire+ It is then that the bridegroom's mother reappears" now herself wearing a sort of crown" in order to present her daughter.in.law with the extra sari she had been wearing+ )he ritual identity of mother and virgin bride is complete+ )he wife is considered the left half of the husband's body" =ust as 5arvati is the left half of the androgynous !hiva (/rdhanarishwara$+ Having been worshipped as the ascetic couple for three days after the marriage" they divest themselves of their divine identities through a ritual bath which now elevates them to the status of ing and Aueen till the end of the festivities (!tevenson 06L0,6G2000$+ /s such the bridegroom wields a sword" and even the non.violent brahmin holds it for an hour or so+ HDo permission from the state is needed for the bridegroom to hold this sword" so agreed is every one that for the time being he is a ingH (!tevenson 06L0,6L" cf+ L02LM$+ Eery often the state band is lent for the marriage procession" and the bridegroom was" in fact" already being treated as a ruling chief+ Hindu marriage as funeral It is the role of the %ani ya.!tambha" mentioned above" that introduces the cosmogony of #at.?hairava into the Hindu wedding (!tevenson 06L0,G02GM$+ Erected along with the marriage booth at the bride's house" this <>uby.5illar' is a twelve. inch piece of wood with two stic s tied cross.wise at its summit to symboli&e the four faces of ?rahma+ )he summit also bears a reddened thread" a madana fruit and" to top it all" one of the bride's ivory bangles+ )here is no (marriage to$ a well" but before it is inserted" a small earthenware pot filled with clarified butter" curds" mil " honey" and sugar" is put into the hole that will bear the post+ )he androgynous nature of this marriage.post is well brought out by the fact that the madana fruit is subseAuently tied to the wrists of both bride and bridegroom+ )he erection is mar ed by a Erddhi !raddha, the latter is ostensibly to insure the marriage against any ritual pollution (sutaka$ caused by the death of a distant relative+ )he eAuation of marriage99and other Hindu sacraments99to death was already suggested by the performance of such <auspicious' variants of the funerary ritual" in this case the <8olden !hraddha' (hiranya-shraddha$+ Sust as Hindu

cremation is assimilated to a wedding" the couple's leave.ta ing from the bride's parental home is mar ed by Ha rite which must bear a close resemblance to the farewell a sat+ too of her home when going to mount the funeral pyre+ )he happy bride (li e the heart.bro en widow$ goes to the gate of the compound and stand there holding a plate of a mixture of turmeric and alum" red in color+ she dips her hands in the red mixture and imprints them on the wall+ )he bridegroom mar s the wall with a print of his red hands exactly under hers" and among certain ?rQhmans red auspicious mar s are made on the bride's dress as the young couple get into the cart" and the boy's scarf is tied to the girl's sQrRH (!tevenson 06L0,66$+ )he bride's mother worships the right wheel of the cart" which is sprin led with red turmeric+ / coconut is then Hthrust under the wheel in such a way that the first revolution must crush itH (!tevenson 06L0,0CC$+ )he bro en pieces of the coconut are given to the bride to eep in her sari, already during the original marriage procession the bridegroom" his forehead bearing the red auspicious mar " had brought in his hand a coconut also mar ed with red (and a four.anna piece$+ )he cart which now bears the married couple is thus assimilated to the womb" =ust li e the wheel to which (the substituted head of$ the husband has been sacrificed+ -hen the wedding booth is ta en down at the end of the month" the >uby.5illar is still left standing until the rain falls on it at the beginning of the monsoon+ It is then ept inside the house and flung into the river when its flood.waters are sufficiently high+ !ince the <pillar' represents ?rahma" its felling must amount to a brahmanicide+ %rccha ati a !o central is this paradigm of sacrificial marriage that it underlies the plot. structure of that most <secular' of classical !ans rit plays" <)he #ittle Flay Fart' (Mrcchakatika$" which owes nothing to Islam+ )he (innocent$ brahmin being led to his execution" in the tenth /ct" is successively assimilated to the Indra pole being carried to the cremation.ground" to the sacrificial goat being led to the Eedic yu!a" and to the delivery of a cow ( gosava$4 his death is eAuated to the birth of a son+ Dot only is this Hchief personH of the sacred city (of J==ain$" whose body is imprinted all over with the extended hand in blood.red sandal paste" (falsely$ accused of having murdered his beloved courtesan for her gold" but his own wife99with whom she is symbolically identified99prepares to throw herself into the fire =ust as he is being executed+ However" the drums of execution suddenly become the drums of marriage" the blood.red garments of the victim are transformed into the wedding attire of the bride.groom" and the (un$expected reunion with his courtesan.wife at the sta e is experienced as a rebirth from the throes of death+ :rom a ritual perspective" the < ing' is only the sacrificer par excellence+ #eprosy" which many wells and tan s have the power to cure" is itself the most tangible symbol of the evil and impurity with which the consecrated ( dikshita$ sacrificer was burdened as he regressed into the maternal womb+ Indeed" during the imperial Horse !acrifice (/shvamedha$" it was by discharging this evil onto his alter ego" a deformed human scapegoat" with traits of a leper" that the Eedic sacrificer emerged" li e a new.born child" from a pool of water+ )hereafter" the whole community absolved itself of its sins by bathing in the same <amniotic' waters of the god Earuna+ %atsyodarR and origin.myth of brahmanicide ?hairava ?hairava too was absolved of his brahmanicide only when he re.emerged from the (apalamocana pool renowned for its ability to cure leprosy+ )his transgressive )antric divinity is the mythical transposition of (not =ust the victim substituted for$ the consecrated Eedic sacrificer+ /fter having emerged from the pillar of fiery light (jyotir-linga$ to violently cut off the head of ?rahma" the <s ull. bearing' ((apali a$ ?hairava had to wander about for twelve years in order to expiate this most heinous of crimes+ :inally he reached ?anaras where the s ull of ?rahma" and with it the sin of brahmanicide" fell into a tan appropriately named the <liberation of the s ull' ( ka!alamocana$+ Ket even after his absolution" the <?lac ' ((ala$ ?hairava remained at (apalamocana as the <sin.eater' ((a!a-

hakshana$ to devour the impurities of future pilgrims to the city of final liberation (moksha$+ 5aradoxically" ?hairava" the (ex.$ criminal" also reigns as the policing magistrate (&otwal$ in ?anaras" entrusted with the duty of preserving its sanctity not only by barring its access to sinners but also by punishing those who indulge in sins even within the confines of the holy city+ )he <punishment of ?hairava' ( hairavi-yatana$ burns up the accumulated sins of see ers of liberation and is inflicted on everyone at the moment of death in this <great cremation. ground' or mahashmashana (Fhalier.Eisuvalingam 067G,MI0.GC$+ )his punishment was administered at the pillar (lat$ whose stump" now called <#at ?hairo'" still stands beside the present (apalamochana tan where it is worshipped as the phallic representation (linga$ of ?hairava+ His cosmogonic marriage to the well derives from ideas already inherent in the regular temple worship of the linga which stands in a yoni and drains off through a <vaginal' aperture called the <cow's mouth' (go-mukh$+ During the monsoon" if no rain has fallen by the end of the bright half of the month of !hravana" the brahmin priests resort to the expedient of <flooding !hiva', pots of water are poured over the linga while the <cow's mouth' is bloc ed up so that the inner sanctum is flooded (!tevenson 06L0,101$+ ?hairava bathed at (apalamocana during that precise <fish.womb' ( matsyodari$ con=unction when" due to an exceptionally heavy monsoon" the <menstruating' 8anga flowed bac wards and surrounded the city center with its flood waters+ )ransformed into a primordial mound (or clod of earth$" ?anaras" the <great cremation.ground'" had assumed its full significance as the very womb of Hinduism (Fhalier.Eisuvalingam 0676,0L7.7C$+ embryogonic significance of ?anaras )he present (ala ?hairava temple would have been (according to !u ul 06LL,MC12I$ the site of a pre.%uslim linga to #ord ?hairava with an ad=acent <well of ?hairava'" which is precisely the configuration now duplicated at the #at+ It is physically impossible to transport the #at to be immersed in the motherly well+ )here is" however" the practice in >a=asthan of eeping images of ?hairava in stepped wells" and the fol lore of ?anaras abounds in lingas being hidden in sacred wells+ ?etween the modern Eishvanath temple and /urang&eb's mosAue" which is itself a %uslim transformation of the earlier 0Gth century Eishveshvar temple" stands the 8yan Eapi well+ HIn the beginningH long before the descent of the 8anges when there was no other water on earth" it was dug out by !hiva himself with his trident in order to cool the linga of Eishveshvar with its water+ /ccording to legend" the linga was preserved from /urang&eb's desecration only by being thrown into the deep waters of the well+ )he royal inscription of the *ueen of Indore" who sponsored the construction of the present Eishvanath temple" ma es no mention of her having established a different linga+ In their post.riot memorial of Dovember M3" 07C6 the %uslims charge that some Hindus had corrupted the !uperintendent (%utwali$ of the Eishveshvar mosAue+ )he Hindus began to worship the well and share their offerings with the %utwali pretending that Eishveshvar had concealed himself in the well+ Hindus li ewise Hworship with the utmost faith a stone fountainH in a mosAue compound in the Daranagar Auarter" and Hso also was the [#at] of :ero&e !hah converted by them into the [#at of ?hairava] and the lower order of Hindus worshipped itH (>obinson 07LL,0012I$+ )he position of the motherly ?harata (upa beside the #at on the idgah indeed replicates the situation of the well of liAuid wisdom between the Eishvanath temple and the 8yan Eapi mosAue+ )he %ani arni eshwara linga" which stands underground at the bottom of a deep shaft" could at one time be reached by a tunnel originating on the cremation (%ani arni a$ ghat+ In the 5uranas" this <#ord of %ani arni a' is mysteriously said to be in the middle of the %ani arni a tan ( kund$ itself (Ec 067M,MIG$+ It is this <well of the Sewelled Ear.ring' beside the cremation ghat that has the greatest cosmogonic significance in (ashi for" at the beginning of time" the city itself floated upon its primordial waters (Ec 067M,M172M30$+ /fter all" the true form of (ashi is not only the !hiva linga" no different from the pillar of light from which ?hairava was born" but also the 8oddess Fita (<funeral pyre' U <Fonsciousness'$+ It is precisely in the context of (transgressive$ sexual union that /bhinavagupta" the great brahmin philosopher.mystic of eleventh century (ashmir99who was reputed" and

believed himself" to be ?hairava.incarnate99eAuates the supreme form of the trident and of the linga.in.the.yoni (the vagina$ to the perfected human body itself+ Dot only does the 5uranic origin.myth of ?hairava" the terrifying aspect of !hiva" thus attest to the intimate and indissoluble lin between ?anaras and ?hairava (Fhalier.Eisuvalingam 0676,0GCff$+ It clearly reveals99at least to those who are prepared to relentlessly follow the trail of the divini&ed brahmanicide99that at the heart of classical Hinduism is a transgressive inner experience of death and sexuality" that was simply reborn to be christened as the %uslim 8ha&i %iyan+

Muharram and the Sacrificial Pole (qutb) of Islam: Bhairavas Pilgrimage to Mecca
)hen 8od said to /dam, HI have sent down for you that which must be circumambulated =ust as my )hrone is circumambulated+H /dam then set out on foot for the House (at %ecca$ from the #and of India (Zama shari" d+ 00II F+E+" The ,nveiler of the -ealities$+ -hen (presently$ /dam went on pilgrimage (to %ecca$" he placed the ?lac !tone on (the mountain there called$ /bu *ubays" where it gave light to the inhabitants of %ecca on dar nights" =ust as the moon gives light (on clear nights$+ /bout four years before Islam the *uraysh brought it down from /bu *ubays" but meanwhile it had become blac because of menstruating women and polluted persons mounting up to it and rubbing it with their hands+ /dam made the pilgrimage to %ecca forty times (Ibn !a<d" The Great %lasses 0+0020M4 both citations are from 5eters 1,00M$+ Introduction, Islamic (and Sewish$ character of cosmic pillar ;ur readers may by now be convinced that 8ha&i %iyan had merely succeeded in propagating the cult of ?hairava under an Islamic guise, ample testimony to the posthumous triumph of a sub=ugated Hindu idolatry@ HIn the 5un=ab" again" ?hairon is much respected by low.caste %usalmQns because he is the chief minister of the great %usalmQn saint" !a hi !arwar" whose tomb is at DigQha in Dera 8hQ&i (hQn DistrictH (Froo e 06MG,67$+ Is it so surprising then that %uslim modernists simply re=ect 8ha&i %iyan" and the cult of !irs which he exemplifies" as an un.Islamic aberrationB H/ girl is annually married at the shrine of #Ql !hQhbQ& of !ind" and another %usalmQn worthy" ?adru.d.din" is honoured by a <sacred' marriage every yearH (Froo e 06MG,MIL$+ Indeed" the celebration of the death anniversary of any %uslim saint is technically designated by the /rabic term urs which originally signifies <marriage' so much so that the union of the soul with 8od has become" in both popular religion and esoteric literature" a sexual union that is consummated only in death+ Even the appropriation of the a.is mundi is not an innovation ( idat$ of Indian Islam, in some of the !hiite )raditions" Hthe lin between 8od and the Imams is visuali&ed as being a pillar of light descending from heaven upon the Imam"H which only serves to identify his station even further with the <pole' ('ut $" the 5erfect %an (al-)nsan al-&amil$ of (!unnite$ !ufism (%omen 0673,0I6"MC7.64 cf+ Hodgson 0633,0L7.7M$+ )he <marriage of 8ha&i %iyan' is99at the same time and without contradiction99an Indian transposition of the Iranian cycle of %uharram" where the mourning over the death of the martyred Husain (and Hasan$ is also celebrated as a (mystical$ marriage (of their children$+ )hese elaborations may be ultimately traced to the assimilation of the (aaba stone itself to a pillar and" beyond that" to Sacob's <ladder' which is already charged with sacrificial notations within the Sewish tradition+ )he ritual procedure of digging any well began with the worship of a clod of earth representing (hwa=a (hidr after which the brahmins were fed (Froo e 06MG,GM91$+ H/ccording to the !i andarnQma" (hwQ=Q (hi&r was a saint of Islam" who presided over the well of immortality + )he fish is his vehicle" and hence its image is painted over the doors of both Hindus and %uhammadans" while it became the family crest of the late royal house of ;udh+ /mong %uhammadans a prayer is said to (hwQ=Q (hi&r at the first shaving of a boy" and a little boat is launched in a river or tan in his honourH (Froo e 076G"

0,IL$+ In Islamic lore" (hidr is the repository of the most esoteric doctrines of the /brahamic tradition+ He has ta en the place of the Eedic deity" Earuna" to become Hthe Hindu god water" the patron deity of boatmenH (Froo e 076G" 0,I7$+ In the final analysis" (the marriage of$ #at ?hairava (to the well$ at ?anaras may well prove to be the real pillar of the monotheistic faith@ Islamic character of 8ha&i %iyan's marriage, %ecca and %edina )o begin with" the participation of the Hindus is an individual affair, at the strictly ritual level" the marriage of 8ha&i %iyan remains as specifically %uslim as the marriage of #at ?hairo is Hindu+ )he cult of the saint" who is present in the tomb and the pole" though always troublesome for the purists" is ancient and extensive in the Islamic world outside of India+ )he prayer ( namaaz$ immediately preceding this revelry" the sacrifice of the first two ids the following day" and the prayer (du/a$ accompanying the offering of the first.fruits" are wholly Islamic (8aborieau 06L3,1012I$+ )he entire %uslim community" to the exclusion of the Hindus" participates with strict eAuality in the sacrifice and the following communal feast (8aborieau 06L3,1C6"10G$+ %ost significant of all is the repeated identification by the sohila of the city of 8ha&i %iyan's tomb to %ecca and %edina (8aborieau 06L3,1CC"1CG$+ !uch were the material difficulties that in / bar's reign" the ulema even declared that the hajj to %ecca was no longer obligatory for Indian %uslims (!hac le 06G3,0362GC$+ ?y promoting such pan.Indian and even local shrines as spiritual substitutes" the !ufis were perhaps not so much relativi&ing the %eccan pilgrimage (/hmad 0670,0L$ as implanting this central pillar of the Islamic universe within the immediate hori&on of the pilgrims" the ma=ority of whom were often Hindus+ 5ancho 5ir )he conversion of low.caste Hindus was generally not a self.conscious" sudden and total change of belief" but a gradual and still continuing process of Islamic acculturation in which the syncreti&ing adhesion to the dargah of !irs li e 8ha&i %iyan acted as a catalyst (Eaton 06L7,0L1" M6G" 1C6201$+ )he %omins or weavers" the largest group of %uslim converts in ?i=apur district and among the most orthodox" were reported in 077I to have been converted to !unnism by ?andanawa& 8isudara& and Hashim 5ir /lawi" whose dargahs they still freAuent+ )hey were =ust one among M0 %uslim <castes' of Hindu origin at various stages of Islami&ation99uneven from one group to another99as measured by variables such as purity of Jrdu speech" practice of circumcision" marriage and funerary rites" avoidance of beef" dress" attachment to Hindu deities and festivals" etc+ )he figure of 8ha&i %iyan had long since been incorporated into the 5anchpiriya sect" which was followed by the mass of the peasantry in eastern Jttar 5radesh+ ?y the end of the 06th century" 8ha&i %iyan was rec oned to be the foremost among the (variable collection of$ :ive !aints (5anch 5ir$ which included both %uslim and Hindu figures li e ?hairava and (ali (!chwerin 0670,03021$+ HIt has often been remar ed that the five 5Qndavas have strangely passed out of national worship+ )he five 5Rrs may have originally been the five 5Qndu brothers" whose worship has" in course of time" become degraded" been annexed by the lower %usalmQns" and again ta en over by their menial Hindu brethrenH (Froo e 076G" 0,MCG$+ )he 06C0 census still recorded 31 castes who declared the 5anch 5ir to be their principal ob=ect of worship and II of these were described as being wholly or partly Hindu+ /t the turn of the century the annual festival of 8ha&i %iyan at ?ahraich regularly drew an assembly of over 0CC"CCC people and the followers of the 5anch 5ir around 06MC were estimated to still number about 01+3 million+ /mong the Indian %uslims" however" there are also enumerations composed wholly of five %uslim saints" with or without 8ha&i %iyan+ )he 5andava Auintet had embodied the (subseAuent caste.$ hierarchy of priest" warrior and settler deriving from the Eedic ideology of three social functions+ Idoli&ed by the Indians" 8ha&i %iyan typifies the foothold99more" the firm implantation99within the (not only popular$ landscape of Hinduism of the universali&ing egalitarianism of Islam+ tenth of %uharram

H)he most eminent of the 5Rrs are" of course" the 5an= 5ir" or five original saints of Islam+ )hey were99the 5rophet %uhammad" '/li" his cousin.german and adopted son" :Qtima" the daughter of the 5rophet and wife of '/li" and their sons" Hasan and Husain" whose tragical fate is commemorated with such ardent sympathy at the annual festival of %uharramH (Froo e 076G" 0,MCM$+ )he tenth of %uharram remained a day of celebration for the Jmmayyads and subseAuently for the !unnites even after the martyrdom of Husain at (arbala" when it became a day of mourning for the !hiites (5eters 1,0C620C$+ #i e ?anaras for the Hindus" Hthe rebuilt grave has remained to this day the devotional center for pilgrims from all over the !hi'a world+ )hose that are buried by the sanctuary will surely enter 5aradise+ %any aged !hi'i settle in (arbala or as in their will to have their bodies transported to the holy city+ :or centuries endless caravans of the dead have been coming to (arbala from 5ersia and India" transforming the town into one vast burial.groundH (8runebaum 0630,7L"6C$+ )hough the cult of Husain" who by virtue of his death became Hthe bond of reconciliation with 8od on the Day of Sudgement"H subseAuently spread to the !unnites" the %uharram processions outside of India are generally observed only by the !hiites+ 8ha&i as exemplifying !unni.!hia fusion vis.a.vis Hindu paganism Dot infreAuently fights with !unnites or other adversaries will develop" resulting in casualties and even deaths Dational animosity against the /rabs expresses itself on occasion" but the true villains are Faliph Ka&id" who gives the order to ill Husain" and !hammar" or !himr" who is believed to have struc the fatal blow+ )he excitement of the audience reaches such a pitch that the spectators not infreAuently try to lynch the actors representing the murderers of Husain+ /nti. !unnite feeling is said to be such that no !unni would be nowingly tolerated among the spectators+ )he final scenes usually depict the progress of the martyr's severed head to the Fourt of the Faliph (8runebaum 0630,7L" 6C$+ ;ne syncretic version of the 8ha&i %iyan ballad serves instead as an Indiani&ed founding legend for this ten day festival of %uharram, it is Hasan and Husain" the grandsons of the 5rophet" who are themselves born at ?ahraich of their mother :atima al.Zahra" only to be illed there on the day of their marriage with Sohara ?ibi+ Husain's death on the 0Cth of %uharram is no longer due to the !unni butchery at (arbala in G7C" but rather to the attac on ?ahraich by !ahal Deo ?har" the infidel Hindu ing of the 8ha&i %iyan cycle+ )hough %uharram continued to be the occasion of !hia.!unni conflict" the transposition of the sacrificial marriage to the 8ha&i %iyan cycle served" in part" to facilitate and legitimi&e a common front against the infidel Hindu ma=ority (!chwerin 0670,03L.0GC$+ In India" the !hias often camouflage their sectarian affiliation through the practice of <religious hypocrisy' (ta'iyya$" while the !unnis99which includes all the ?anarasi weavers99 also celebrate %uharram as their own festival+ 8ha&i %iyan" the Indiani&ed martyr" thus provided the mythici&ed model for religious auxiliaries such as those who" by legitimi&ing the imperial expansion of the Delhi !ultanate into the western Deccan" constituted the first wave (c+ 0M6G.01IL$ of Islami&ation that resulted in the medieval ?ahmani !ultanate" which in turn laid the socio.religious foundations for the successor ingdom of ?i=apur (Eaton 06L7,062II$+ Hindu celebration of %uharram -e are" however" still left with the problem that in a given locality99 including ?anaras99the ma=ority of the %uharram participants were often Hindus, to the extent that Hindus observing the %uharram vows would even ta e the side of the %uslims against their own co.religionists if any fighting bro e out@ (!hurreef 07G1,0MM$+ HIn many towns the maintenance of these %uhammadan festivals [li e %uharram and the pilgrimages to tombs] mainly depends on the assistance of the Hindus" and it is only recently that the unfortunate concurrence of these exhibitions with special Hindu holidays has" it may be hoped only temporarily" interrupted the tolerant and

indly intercourse between the followers of the rival creedsH (Froo e 076G" 0,MCM$+ )he ambivalent complicity of Hindu orthodoxy in propagating the %uslim cult throughout the subcontinent may be =udged by its treatment in the (arashuramacarita" a history of the brahman 5eshwar dynasty composed in 0LL0 by a brahman chronicler, Hasan and Husain" the demoniac sons of %uhammad himself" are slain on the Lth and 0Cth of %uharram respectively by the Hindus only to receive worship ultimately from the idolators even as far south as the (arnata a and Dravidian lands+ In the Mahikavatici Bakhar" an early 0Lth century historical biography" they even become the slain sons of /lauddin (hil=i" who in revenge illed the ing of the Kadavas of Devagiri" >amdevrav" and thus heralded in 0M6G the fall of %aharashtra to %uslim domination+ )he rise of the (%oghul$ <barbarians' ( mleccha$ to political supremacy in India is attributed precisely to the ubiAuitous Hindu celebration of the urs of %uharram (-agle 0676,302I" GI$+ )he Indian cult of 8ha&i %iyan is" first of all" a marriage of Hindu cosmogony (?enares$ and !hia eschatology ((arbala$+ marriage of (assim and :atima :or the essential theme of #at ?hairava's fatal marriage was already being celebrated in Iran well before the martyrdom of Islam on Indian soil+ -hereas the 3th or the Lth of %uharram" depending on the place" celebrates the marriage processions of *assim" son of Hasan" with :atima (or !a ina$" the favorite daughter of his uncle Husain" the remaining days are consecrated to the commemoration of their death and to their funerals+ )he contrast between marriage and death is underlined in all the songs of lamentation and constitutes the very essence of the festival+ )he 5ersian theater simply eAuates them, H; Hussein" wal at the wedding of your dear *assem" and see how the blood has indeed replaced the henna on the hands and feet of your young+H HIn the plain of anguish" the tomb will serve as the nuptial bed and the shroud will be the marriage robe+H )he death of /li / bar" Husain's eldest son" on the preceding day is li ewise assimilated to a nuptial union though there is no Auestion of a real marriage (5elly 07L6" 0,M7L21C1$+ )he act representing *assim's martyrdom even comprises a scene where his well.decorated marriage.couch is =uxtaposed to a similar bed covered with blac to signify his elder brother's misfortune (5elly 07L6" M,6$+ *assim is dressed for the wedding in /li / bar's (otherwise unused$ bridegroom's costume while :atima" the bride" is as ed to mount /li / bar's horse (Humayuni 06L6,0120I" 0G$+ :atima" regretting that her bridal chamber is not a graveyard" laments that her only wedding music are the drums of war4 Hussein later wraps a shroud around *assim's wedding costume =ust before he ta es leave of his bride and rides out to battle without consummating the marriage (Humayuni 06L6,0I203$+ 8ha&i %iyan" the %uslim bridegroom" needed little by way of <dowry' from Hinduism to legitimi&e his immortal marriage to Sohara ?ibi+ marriage of Hasan and Husain )hrough the sexual mediation of their children" a mystic <marriage' is perhaps implied between Hasan and Husain themselves" which would also explain the permanent presence of two (<elder' and <younger'$ poles and the sacrifice of two ids in the 8ha&i %iyan festival+ Husain is reluctant to allow *assim to =oin the jihad for the repeated reason that Hhe is the living memory of my brother Hassan" an unwed boy in the flower of his youth H (Humayuni 06L6, 0M"01$+ ;n the other hand" :atima" reluctant to mount the horse of her martyred younger brother" instead mounts Husain's own horse (Zul=anah$ now draped in blac " which then bears her to the bridal chamber (Humayuni 06L6,0I$+ Fharacteristic of Hasan and Husain respectively" the green and red banners" which are fastened to the upright lance or bamboo pole representing 8ha&i %iyan at ?ahraich (!chwerin 0670,03C$" recall the twin (banner.$ sna es fluttering from the ?hairava.pole at the ?is et festival which were li ewise slaughtered within the context of sexual union (Fhalier.Eisuvalingam 0676,07I23$+ )he dynasty of Hthe :atimids (6G6200L0$ had Husain's head transferred to Fairo4 the %osAue of the Hasanain (literally, the two Hasan99that is" Hasan and his brother Husain$ was erected over the relic and still preserves a reputation of especial sanctityH (8runebaum 0630,76$+ In the same vein" the :ifth Imam" %uhammad al.?aAir"

was the grandson of not only Husain but also of Hasan through the latter's daughter" :atima" thus reuniting in himself the two lines of descent from :atima and /li (%omen 0673,1L$+ In the vicinity of #at.?hairava are (now separate$ !hia and !unni complexes comprising the <tombs' (rauza$ of the Imams Hasan and Husain along with that of their mother :atima+ It is most significant that Sohara (Zohra or even Zahra$" the Indian name of their common wife99whom they thus share with 8ha&i %iyan99is =ust a variant of the epithet Hthe >adiant or the >esplendentH that permanently characteri&es their mother :atima (al.Zahra$" the daughter of the 5rophet himself+ 8ha&i %iyan as Indian role.model for %uslim briedegroom 8ha&i %iyan thus provided a role.model for the Indian %uslim" even Auite independently of the politico.religious notations that pit him against the infidel Hindus+ )his is confirmed by the all.night narration of his legend99 against a bac drop of painted representations of his (battles and$ martyrdom99 in the presence of the !uttee during a normal marriage ceremony (!hurreef 07G1,GG$+ Dec ed in a piece of red cloth and stuc into an earthen pot of unboiled rice" the !uttee is a branch of a pomegranate tree which is bent in the modest manner of the bride+ )he next morning the !uttee is carried on the shoulder of the bridegroom to the water's edge and set adrift after the offering of prayers to !alar %asud+ )he fatal implications of such a marriage have been immortali&ed for Indians" regardless of religious affiliation" in the tragic romance of /nar ali" the lowly slave.girl at the %oghul court" and !alim" the future emperor Sahangir+ )o nip their ardent passion in the bud" / bar had the irresistible beauty walled in alive within a mausoleum at #ahore which still houses a tombstone that reads Hthe infatuated [majn0n, <mad']" !alim" son of / bar+H #i e Sohara ?ibi" /nar ali (literally" Hpomegranate shootH$ was Hindu+ )his mysterious epitaph" along with ritual manipulation of the !uttee during the marriage" would seem to suggest that the bridegroom was in some sense assimilated to a woman" symbolically one with the bride+ )he Iranian <passion play' depicting the tribulations of the <virgin' :atima" who laments the 5rophet's death while grinding barley on a mill.stone" dwells at length on /li's attempt to procure blood.red pomegranate =uice to Auench her thirst+ )his is the prelude to her prophecies of the martyrdom of her children and to her own death (5elly 07L6, 00C21M$+ )he ritual relevance of this symbolic complex to the Indian %uharram is evident, in some of the ceremonial enclosures" a large female doll is depicted grinding wheat or rice on a hand.mill placed before her (!hurreef 07G1,0M0" 1G7$+ %oreover" marriages are never celebrated during %uharram+ Even the indispensable nose.ring" which married women must wear until their death or widowhood" is removed only during this festival of mourning (/li 071M" 0,0C14 Froo e 076G" M,I3$+ #ittle wonder then that Hmarried women are not allowed to show their faces to their husbands during the ten days of the first [%uharram] after marriage" at which time they are ept apart from one anotherH (!hurreef 07G1,0M1$4 which may well be compared to the Hindu prohibition of marriages during the dar <funerary' fortnight of ?hadrapada" when #at ?hairava's own marriage is celebrated+ -hether !hia or !unni" the %uslim bridegroom is symbolically assimilated to the fallen warrior" even as 8ha&i %iyan's martyrdom has been transformed into his wedding.day+ pagan pre.history of %uharram in Iran :ar from proving the Islamic credentials of 8ha&i %iyan" do not these compelling continuities only demonstrate99so my modern %uslim interlocutors may well ob=ect99 the pagan character of %uharram itselfB Felebrated in the %iddle East since at least 6GM /+D+" the complex scenario of %uharram had li ewise allowed a resurgence" in the Islamic guise of the martyrdom of Husain" of the pre./ryan cult of )ammu& (. /donis./ttis$ and Ishtar (8runebaum 0630,764 !chissel 066C$+ )he Iranian passion. plays may have even found receptive ground in the (pre.$ Zoroastrian mourning cult for !iyavush which had survived in )ransoxiana into the 0Cth F+ (yarshater 06L6$+ )he blood.red pomegranate played an important role in these agrarian festivals of

sacrifice and regeneration" as reflected so clearly in the red and green symbolic of Husain and Hasan respectively+ Is then !hia <sectarianism' simply the inevitable reappropriation by a pagan polytheism99whether Indian" Iranian or /rab99of the house and mantle of the 5rophet himselfB Fertainly no more than the Fhristian veneration of saints and martyrs" which did not hesitate to eradicate the native religions of the /mericas" would be the resurgence of idolatry within Sudaism@ )he triumphant /li I of ?i=apur" for example" not only directed his !hia &eal against his !unni Deccani sub=ects4 his armies destroyed two to three hundred Hindu temples in the erstwhile empire of Ei=ayanagar+ )he monarch himself was said to have smashed four to five thousand Hindu images and replaced two temples with ashurakhanas for the celebration of %uharram (Eaton 06L7,G7$+ )he !hia claims upon Islam" li e the Fatholic insistence on a Dew )estament" is perhaps not so much a surrender to paganism but rather the resurrection of a gnostic dimension that is central" though troublesome" to the /brahamic tradition+ Instead of tarrying at (arbala" the best way to discover the dar light of truth would be to proceed immediately" with the caravan of pilgrims" to the very pillar of Islam+ ?hairava's pilgrimage to %ecca Dot content with appropriating the proselyti&ing figure of 8ha&i %iyan for its own ends" Hindu fol lore" has been sacrilegious enough to pro=ect its own sacrificial paradigm99duly inverted99far beyond %uharram and (arbala" onto %ecca itself" the iconoclastic heart of Islam+ %al han" alias %allana" who is identified with the solar (%artanda.$ ?hairava" and is worshipped by both Hindus and %uslims in the Deccan" is said to be (ala ?hairava himself" or even (ashi Eishvanath" from ?anaras (!ontheimer 0676,1MG4 Fhalier.Eisuvalingam 0676,060.34 Eisuvalingam 0676, I30.M$+ In the disguise of a fa ir" he persuades the otherwise vegetarian %uslim <devotees ( haktas$ of !hiva' at %ecca to successfully restore water to their dry well by slaughtering and consuming a blac cow+ /t the end of twelve years" the well is not only filled with water but the gold needed for %allana's marriage also erupts beside the well+ -hen %allana steals the gold and plunges into the watery womb of mother 8anga" the pursuing <!hiva haktas/ cut off her outstretched hand+ /s the characteristic sign of the cremated Hindu widow (!ati$" and representing the !hiite Auintet of %uhammad" :atimah" /li" Hasan and Husain" the outstretched hand is worshipped by both Hindu and %uslim 5anchpriyas throughout Dorth India+ !uch hybrid legends probably derive from the syncreti&ing interaction of antinomian !haiva and !ufi currents" li e those attested between #ingayats and <dervishes' in the latter period of the ?i=apur ingdom+ HIn his physical attributes ?hairava the forest wanderer bears a mar ed resemblance to the wild mazhdu s and 'alandar pirs of the non.institutional !ufi tradition+ !iva.?hairava is also the one Hindu god who wal s the earth in wholly human form" and this ma es him all the more suitable as a parallel figure to the %uslim pirH (?ayly 0676,016$+ ;ne of the foremost disciples of the <mad' (majdhu $ !ufi saint" /min al.Din" was *adir #inga" who miraculously recovered a number of lingas from a deep well+ ;n this account" he was allowed to wear the linga on his left foot" a practice still continued by the descendants of this community of #ingayats (Eaton 06L7, MI6.3C" MLG$+ /fter the devastation wrea ed by the !hia /li !hah I" this climate of syncretism was encouraged under the liberal !unni reign of his nephew and successor" Ibrahim II (037C.0GML$" who reinstated in 0G0I the annual fair and Hindu worship of (handerao ((handoba$ or %allari (Eaton 06L7,66$" all considered forms of ?hairava+ >ufaee" %udarea" %ullung, sacrifice of (blac $ cow In the %uslim garb of %al han" ?hairava had instigated at %ecca a cow.sacrifice that was already a regular practice among Indian fa irs+ )he >ufaee or 8oor&.mar order" who originate from !yed /hmad (abir" cured the sic and removed temporal afflictions through the all.purpose stereotyped formula of immolating a young two. year old heifer supplied by the patron (/li 071M" M,1034 !hurreef 07G1,061 and note$+ )he animal" sacrificed in %uslim style" was roasted over an open.air charcoal fire to the accompaniment of a dirge sung by these chillu dars in the memory of their departed saint and founder+ -hen everyone present had parta en of

the beef" the ascetics concluded the feast by dancing around" and eventually upon" the fire in the name of the ;ne 8od and his final 5rophet" to be =oined in the final moments by the entire assembly+ !imilarly" %uslims" often =oined by their Hindu neighbors" indulged playfully in a simulacre of <self.immolation' over the bonfires (allawa$ of %uharram" all the while crying dulha1 dulha1 (<bridegroom@ bridegroom@'4 !hurreef 07G1,001$+ !uch fire.wal ing is also practised by the )ubAateea or %udareea" in commemoration of their founder" !hah.?uddi.ud.Din alias the (ever.$ <living' Zinda !hah %udar from !yria" whose shrine at %a hanpur was the ob=ect of pilgrimage" drawing nearly a million people to his urs (!hurreef 07G1, 037236" 061$+ H-omen can never" with safety to themselves" enter the mausoleum containing his ashes4 they are immediately sei&ed with violent pains" as if their whole body was immersed in flamesH (/li 071M" M,1M0$+ !uch ascetics" always clad entirely in blac " still wander around begging with one end of a chain attached to one of their an les+ )hey do not hesitate to shower shop eepers with obscene abuse until they are given alms+ !ome raised a blac banner" actually sacrificed a blac cow (gay lutana$ in the name of !hah ?uddi.ud.Din" especially on the day of his commemoration" and distributed it among the fa irs+ )he dafalis" who sing the ballads of 8ha&i %iyan to the accompaniment of their small hand.drums" are none other than these %udarea+ )he tantric component99and even origins99of such traditions reveals itself" for example" in the sub.order of %ullung fa irs" followers of Summun Suttee (SatiB$" himself a disciple of Zinda !hah+ ;ften characteri&ed by matted hair and ash.besmeared bodies" these %uharram fa irs very much resembled the !haiva 8osains+ )he Indian %uharram was" in fact" the occasion when many of these diverse strands99many from the %iddle East99were brought together by transgressive Hindu and %uslim fa irs+ (aaba )he positive %uslim contribution to such hybrid fol lore is revealed in its faithfulness to some of the more obscure elements of %eccan tradition+ Ibn IshaA's Life of the A!ostle of God already spea s of some of the treasure of the (a'ba being stolen from a well in the middle of it+ )his probably refers to Hagar's well" situated near the :eet of /braham" whose sacred water is eagerly drun by the %uslim pilgrims and especially offered to sic people on the point of death+ )he spring arose when Ishmael ic ed the ground while his mother Hagar was frantically see ing water to Auench his thirst+ !he dug it out into a well of sorts and immediately purified herself and the baby by bathing in it (!hurreef 07G1,II$+ It was on the stone of the (a'ba" created at the same time as heaven and earth" that /braham would have united with Hagar to conceive Ishmael and it was there that he would have subseAuently tethered his camel when he sought to immolate him for /llah (5eters 0,06C.0" MII.3$+ )he (a'ba stone" which is repeatedly referred to as a <pillar' in the context of the 5rophet's farewell pilgrimage in the year of his death (5eters 1,00G$" is also the %uslim counterpart of the stone that Sacob had earlier set up as a pillar in the Hebrew <House of 8od' (?eth.El$" to mar the site where he had seen the ladder to heaven (5eters 0,1I.3$+ )he 5rophet was himself transported on the Dight of Destiny from the sacred %osAue at %ecca to the <distant' (al-a'sa$ mosAue where he ascended the ladder to Hwhich the dying man loo s when death approachesH in order to receive the first revelations of the (oran (0L+04 5eters 0,MC7.0C4 M,I1.3$+ Even otherwise" the first intimation of the (oran on %ount Hira by archangel 8abriel to the sleeping 5rophet was already li ened to an experience of death (5eters 0,061.I$+ mira= )he site of the ascension (me/raj$" which seems to be a simplified version of the ascent through the seven palaces of the Sewish Hei halot mysticism" was subseAuently identified with (the /l./Asa mosAue standing before the Dome of the >oc built over$ the !tone of the :oundation on the )emple %ount of Serusalem (5eters 0,MC7.6$+ ;n this roc " where /braham had sought to sacrifice Isaac" had once stood the Sewish Holy of the Holies" a place of symbolic union as represented by the twin cherubim of uncertain sex" which were also eAuated with the palm.tree+

)he episode where Sacob is maimed by an unnamed assailant who then blesses him with the name <Israel'" is itself a symbolical enactment of the animal being immolated at the altar of the )emple so as to be borne to heaven by the <ladder' of the sacrifice (5eters M,7I$+ %uhammad originally chose Serusalem as the direction of prayer and is even reported" on the authority of (the future second Faliph$ ;mar" as worshipping before the (a'ba such that it stood between him and Serusalem (5eters 0,MCL" M07.064 /li 071M,037.6$+ )he originally white stone" which had become completely blac due to constant fingering by menstruating women" is interpreted by the great Ibn /rabi as (the evil in$ the dar luminosity of the heart+ )he words of /l Halla= as reported by al.8ha&ali, H5eople ma e the pilgrimage4 I am going on a (spiritual$ pilgrimage to my Host4 -hile they offer animals in sacrifice" I offer my heart and blood+ !ome of them wal in procession around the )emple" without their bodies" :or they wal in procession in 8od" and He has exempted them from the Haram+H Halla='s limbs were amputated before he was hoisted on the cross and finally beheaded not only for proclaiming his identity with /llah but particularly because of his affirmation that the )emple of the (a'ba itself had to be destroyed (within$ as the last remaining <idol' separating the mystic from its :ounder (5eters 1,00M.MM" MII.6$+ In almost all Islamic fol . literature" including and especially the Indian" al.Halla= has become the supreme symbol of the true lover of 8od who gave up his life at Hthe gallows" the bridal bed where he was finally united with the ?eloved with whom he so ardently identifiedH (/sani 0677,6C4 cf+ !chimmel 06GM$+ )he axial <pillar' of the %uslim pilgrimage probably corresponds not only to the blac spot that was removed from the heart of the 5rophet when" as a mere child" his body was cut open and cleansed with white snow (5eters 0,07I$" but also to the blac id sacrificed to the pole at the culmination of the Depali festival of 8ha&i %iyan+ / syncreti&ing ?engali version of the prophetic genealogy assimilates this Auasi.shamanistic ordeal to a purificatory punishment imposed by /llah on his exemplary %essenger for having struc an intransigent goat in anger (>oy 0671,0C0$+ )he camels slaughtered during the Ha== in commemoration of /braham's sacrifice of Ishmael" the progenitor of the /rabs" are but substitutes for the pious pilgrims themselves (cf+ the opening citation from ibn /rabi$+ -e have retraced the itinerary of 8ha&i %iyan bac to a %ecca that Hindu pilgrims could reclaim" =ustifiably" as the <?anaras of the -est'+ )he Islamic tradition itself99perhaps eenly aware of its own sacrificial foundations99 insists that the first person to worship at the (aaba was not /braham" the Jr.monotheist" but /dam" <the primordial man' who came from India+

The Felling of the World Pillar: An Islamic Fulfillment of Vedic Cosmogony?

)hese are the laws and the rules which you must carefully observe in the land that the #ord" the 8od of your fathers" is giving to you to possess" as long as you live on earth+ Kou must destroy all the sites at which the nations you are to dispossess worshipped their gods" whether on lofty mountains and on hills or under any luxuriant tree+ )ear down their altars" smash their pillars" put their sacred posts to the fire" and cut down the image of their gods" obliterating their name from that site (Deuteronomy 0M,0.1$+ (aaba as unifying symbol, Indo.Islamic obsession with Hindu pillars )he violent conversion of Hindu temples into mosAues was simply an extension of the original strategy of transforming (the idolatrous /rab pilgrimage cult around$ the pagan (a'ba into the unifying sacrificial symbol of a triumphant and uncompromising monotheism (5eters 0,M114 1,GI.L$+ -hen the pre.Islamic tribes of the *uraysh were forming alliances for battle simply over the privilege of lifting the blac stone into place in order to complete their =oint renovation of the (a'ba" it was the (future$ 5rophet who ordained that all the tribes should eAually participate by ta ing hold of the ends of a cloa to lift it into position so that he could

establish it with his own hands (5eters 0,060$+ Even then some of the first %uslims" as exemplified by ;mar" refused to worship the (a'ba and did so only on the 5rophet's insistence and example" and with full nowledge that they were issing a mere stone (5eters 1,0MC$+ /rabic inscriptions on the new entrance porch (/lai Darwa&a$ built by /lauddin (hil=i to the mosAue of the *utb %inar at Delhi li en the latter to a second (a'ba (Baitu/l mamur$+ /nother Hindu nagari inscription on the right hand =amb of the main entrance door calls the %inar by the Hindu term stam ha# *utb.ud.din /iba laid the foundation of this <pillar of light' (from 'ut and manara$ in 006M Hboth as tower of victory to celebrate the defeat of the >a=puts in battle" and as a minaret for the priest's call.to.prayer at the ad=oining Eictory %osAue (2uwwatu-l-)slam$" built on the site of a Hindu temple dedicated to EisnuH (Irwin 067L,01G$+ )hough the mosAue was dedicated in 0066 /+D+" the *utb was completed only after his death in 0M00 /+D+ by his successor Iltutmish+ /lauddin (hil=i (0M6G.010G$ had started building a second and even larger %inar at the mosAue but it was never completed beyond the basement storey+ ?efore the Islamic *utb stands the eAually famous Ith century Iron 5illar which had itself stood on a mound facing a Eishnu temple+ :ifteen years after :iro& !hah )ughluA ascended the throne in 0130 /+D+" the *utb was severely damaged by lightning and the !ultan repaired it by increasing its height and adding a new cupola" which also fell to the ground after the earthAua e of 07C1+ ?y the end of his reign in 0177" he had pillar shafts brought to Delhi from )opra in the /mbala district of present day Haryana and from %irath in Jttar 5radesh4 a third pillar bearing /sho an inscriptions had been re.erected within the compound of his mosAue at Hissar" 03C miles to the west of Delhi+ )he )opra pillar was erected immediately before his royal Sami %as=id in the fort at his capital" thus corresponding to the location of the <flag.pole' (dhvaja stam ha$ in the compound of the Hindu temple+ / bar himself was eenly interested in the /llahabad (pre.$ /sho an pillar which he enclosed within his own fort" and unsuccessfully attempted to transport an ancient pillar to his capital at :atehpur !i ri before he eventually had his pillar.throne (diwani-khas$ constructed there in stone+ His Hindu mother and his awareness of the cosmogonic significance of the Indian pillar.cult notwithstanding" :ero&e !hah" the iconoclastic !ultan" would have had sound Islamic =ustification for (re.$ erecting a(n even /sho an$ pillar at the idgah at ?anaras" so long as the monument was not treated as a divinity in itself+ ideological struggle for pillar )he =oint participation of Hindus and %uslims in each other's cults and festivals should not obscure the intense ideological struggle99even where peaceful and mutually accommodating99between the rival religions on the symbolic level for the heart" mind and soul of India+ )he Hindus could not remain oblivious to the living visual testimonies of the systematic ra&ing of their religious architecture (c+ 0GGCs$ by /urang&eb who had sought unsuccessfully to impose an Islamic city called <%uhammadabad' upon their socio.religious center+ Having now lost their political supremacy in India" the %uslims" on the other hand" were not willing to submit to Hindu acculturation" at least not to the extent of surrendering the divergent world.view encoded into their own ritual practices+ Having served to inscribe its continuing Hindu worship in the direction of %ecca" the #at could now =ust as well serve to gradually reintegrate the lower classes of %uslims within the symbolic universe of Hinduism+ -ell before the arrival of ?ritish power" the decline of Islamic states li e ?i=apur were attributed by the %uslim orthodoxy to laxity in religious observances and" as a general rule" have coincided with reformist (even anti.!ufi$ measures directed against syncretism and ultimately against (the symbols and institutions of$ the Hindus themselves+ )hough the weaver community in north India reverenced the flag of 8ha&i %iyan to whom they ascribed the comparatively recent conversion of their ancestors" by the early 06th century they were already beginning to abandon such syncretic" <un.Islamic' practices under the growing pressure of -ahhabi reformism emanating from the /rabian peninsula+ :or the down. trodden castes" the stricter observation of the Islamic law and personal code (shariat$ provided the means of reasserting their social status in the face of

politico.economic domination by the upper classes" both Hindu and %uslim ( ashraf$+ / parallel process of purification was also occurring among the Hindu untouchables li e the Fhamars" who were giving up liAuor" meat" (blood.$ red vegetables" etc+" and demanding the abolition of caste and an end to idol worship+ Despite its undisputed age.old sanctity" the now <brahmani&ed' #at ?hairo or %ahashmashana !tambha was largely neglected by the Hindu scriptures" no doubt because of the stigma of death and impurity associated with it+ )he growing Hindu.%uslim division at the turn of the 06th century was further reinforced by the attempts of the colonial administration to systematically classify and publicly record everything" thus leaving the %uslim weavers little choice but to shed their Hindu names and customs in order to gain an eAual standing within the fraternity of Islam+ 5artly a reaction to the derogatory connotations of their appellation as <*ulaha' by others" the weavers now call themselves < Ansari' meaning <Helpers' (of the 5rophet at %edina$" thus crowning the tendency of Indian %uslims to see themselves as immigrants with a separate <biological' ethnicity rather than as native converts ((umar 0677,I623L" 0676,0314 cf+ >oy 0671,0623L" MI6231$+ )hough such developments may be understood as already internal to the growth of an <Islamic consciousness' and not necessarily the product of politico.economic rivalry with non.%uslims (%ines 0670$" it is nonetheless true that they set the social preconditions for religious conflict" especially when they are reflected in a shifting attitude to shared sacred spaces and symbols+ )he increasingly %eccan orientation of an otherwise Indiani&ed Islam found its symbolic charter in the mihra at the mosAue of /urang&eb" which had already served to firmly inscribe the continuing worship of the #at in the direction of the (a'ba+ )he resulting religious tug.of.war between the opposing symbolic universes to ta e complete ideological possession of the pillar climaxed99Auite predictably and violently99in its (almost complete$ levelling by the %uslims+ evolution of dispute over the #at Even before the imposition of ?ritish rule in the late 07th century" socio. political dominance had returned to the Hindus+ )he religio.cultural authority of the %ahara=as of ?anaras was expressed in the public arena especially through the grandiose celebration of the >amlila+ Hindu.%uslim conflict again reared its ugly head through a series of escalating symbolic encroachments especially on the shared sacred space around the #at+ )hough" cow.slaughter" the eAuivalent of illing a brahmin" was banned from the holiest parts of the city" a %uslim butcher had been seen slaughtering a cow during the dar fortnight of ?hadra when the Hindus were still propitiating the manes+ Idolatry had begun to lay more permanent claims on the disputed ground of the idgah4 during the >amlila" images of >ama and #a shmana were even placed in the pulpit of the Imambarrah+ !o much so that in ;ctober 07C6 the weavers too matters into their own hand and defiled the #at by pelting it with leather shoes" and so on+ )hough worshipped primarily by the lower castes of Hindus" the <pillar of the great cremation ground' was indeed Auite central to the symbolic significance of the sacred city and this sacrilege had occurred precisely when the Hindus Hwere see ing =ustice for the slaughter of a cowH (Hindu memorial" cited in >obinson 07LL,0C7$+ /nticipating retaliation" the %uslim weavers" who were at the forefront of all these manifestations" then decided to ta e preemptive action by sac ing the temple of the ing of the gods" Eishwanath himself" the supreme consecration of the Hindu order+ :or the local dispute between Hindu and %uslim low.castes" who had been as much united as separated by the pillar" was already becoming a full.scale confrontation between Hinduism and Islam+ )he Hindus fell bac and regrouped to bar the route of the %uslims who were advancing in a %uharrram.li e procession with raised standards and crying HHasan" Husain@H+ ;utnumbered and beaten bac by the better armed Hindus" the L or 7 thousand retreating %uslim weavers" to revenge their defeat" slaughtered a cow on one of the holiest ghats" and mingled its blood with the sacred waters of the 8anga, the sacred well itself was sub=ected to the same sacrilege+ )he attac on the ?isheshwar had now been made and foiled" and the %ahommedan army" returning as it happened by another route to that

ta en by the crowds rushing to ?isheshwar arrived at the #at99and found it defenceless+ )hey at once proceeded to mischief+ / cow was dragged out from a neigbouring house and illed at the foot of the pillar+ Its blood was ta en into every corner" till all the sacred place was splashed with it" and then the carcass was flung" with shouts of exultation" into the holy tan of ?hairo+ :irewood was heaped round the #at and lighted to destroy no doubt the metal appendages of the pillar4 and finally amidst cries of triumph" the #at itself was overthrown" shattering in its fall into many pieces@ (>obinson 07L3,67.66$+ sin ing of #at, abolition of caste.order )he <pillar of the world' that had stood from time immemorial in the holy city had a fundamental socio.religious meaning for the <eternal order' (sanatana dharma$ of Hinduism, it was also the pillar of the caste.hierarchy which Islamic egalitarianism could hardly endorse+ It was believed by the Hindus and %uslims ali e that the #at was" and still is" slowly sin ing into the ground so that" when its top became level with the ground" not only would the Hindu caste.hierarchy collapse but Hall nations would be of one caste+ )he throwing down" therefore" of this pillar was regarded as most ominous and dangerous to Hinduism+H >ev+ ?uyers also recorded a conversation between two brahmin soldiers guarding the prostrate pillar at the height of the riots, H/h"H said one" Hwe have seen what we never thought to see99!iva's #at has its head level with the ground+ -e shall all be of one caste shortly+ -hat will be our religion thenBH HI suppose the Fhristian"H answered the other4 Hfor" after all that has passed" I am sure we shall never become %ussulmansH (!herring 07G7,06M.14 cf+ Heber 07M7,I1C.0$+ -hile the weavers99 all !unni now" and probably already so then99with their cries of HHasan@ Husain@H reenacted the apocalyptic scenario of %uharram" the Hindus in the official (5ersian$ version of their memorial explicitly li ened their own mourning over [morning afterB] the felling of the pillar to that of the last day (>obinson 07L3,0C64 cf+ :reitag 0676b,IC fn+G0$+ -hatever may have been the nature" extent and composition of the hidden social tensions released by the riots" they fed into a primarily religious conflict which implied" invo ed and vehicled99regardless of the sub=ective perceptions of the parties involved99a commitment to (hierarchical$ social order or (egalitarian$ messianic aspirations that were already encoded into the opposing religious traditions+ Hindu.%uslim complicity in felling of #Qt )he Indra pole of Eedic cosmogony99so faithfully retained in the Dew Kear festivals in Depal" where the wooden pole is more often identified with ?hairava99was raised and felled by the Hindus themselves+ )he inevitability of the socio.religious confrontation hence did not preclude99from the very beginning99a certain complicity between Hinduism and Islam in the symbolic interpretation of the violence to which the #at was sub=ected+ /fter all" the %uslim lower.castes had connived at the Hindu worship of the world.pillar" participated in celebrating its marriage" and even claimed it as their own" so much so that the ?anaras myths of 8ha&i %iyan reflect as profound an understanding of its function as the Hindu theologem of the <punishment of ?hairava' ( hairavi-yatana$+ :or the Hindu mythico.history" on the other hand" the levelling of the #at was as inevitable as the (ali.Kuga" which would be redeemed only by a <barbarian' (mleccha$ messiah ((al i$" a role which was readily fulfilled for certain Indian (especially ?engali$ %uslim innovators by the 5rophet %uhammad+ %ore than =ust the tendency of !unnis and !hias to close ran s within a single community (umma$" the Indian cult of 8ha&i %iyan represents the symbolic implantation of this egalitarian Islamic ideal within the heart of (not only popular$ Hinduism+ -hen following the example of !i andar #odi and /urang&eb" the -ahabite theologian !ayyid %ahmud Hasan" after ta ing control of the shrine at ?ahraich in 06IM" proscribed the customary practice of prostration" he was successfully challenged in court by the leading ulama of the time" including ?aba (halil Das of ?anaras+ #itigation was pending in 0676 for restoration of a more representative committee but the shrine continued to be managed by reformistic

administrators appointed by the J5 -aAf ?oard" which was however denied any authority to interfere with the dargah practices (%ahmood 0676,16.IC$+ In the months prior to the Hindu.%uslim riots of 0610" the same Eedic scholar cum devotee of 8ha&i %iyan" (halil Das Fhaturvedi" had been leading the )an&im movement in a vigorous campaign for social and religious reform among the %uslims of ?anaras (:reitag 0676a,MMG.L$+ )hough interrupting the process of syncretic assimilation at the fol level" even the spread of the iconoclastic -ahhabi ethos99which cannot be =udged in terms of the mere numbers of its adherents (cf+ (umar 0676,0GM.1 for ?anaras$ nor be reduced to its /rabian trappings99 thus tends in its own way to transform the Indiani&ed symbol into a universal social reality (cf+ >oy 0671,MI6. 31$+ )he continuing stalemate between the outward socio.religious manifestations of the <primordial' and the <final' revelations is best symboli&ed by the stubborn stump of #at ?hairo remaining in the middle of the idgah+ )he toll on the living" however" may well continue until %uslims and Hindus willingly =oin hands in completely levelling99not the innocent pillar but99the remaining socio.economic ineAualities in what could most aptly be called <an Islamic fulfillment of Eedic cosmogony'+ (re.$ interpretation of sacrilege as cow.sacrifice )he chaotic birthpangs of a new order based on the abolition of the caste.system were already being =ointly rehearsed by both Hindus and %uslims during the festivals of 8ha&i %iyan and %uharram all over India" and by the Hindus themselves in their own festivals both before and after the arrival of the %uslims+ !uch festivals could easily be (re.$ interpreted as an exteriori&ation of the (temporary but$ necessary abolition of caste.distinctions within closed )antric circles" as in the esoteric (aula cults of ?hairava whose leading theoreticians were all brahmins li e /bhinavagupta+ :rom the Hindu perspective" the %uslims were merely guilty of <hastening' or <forcing the end+' :aced with the fait accom!li however" the Hindu memorial simply translated the event into a re.enactment of a sacrificial embryogony: "it has been ascertained that the #at notwithstanding all these attempts" did not fall till they sprin led it with the blood of a cow and her young" which they got from a [garden] and dragged" tied by the nec to the spot+ ;n this outrage the [capital] on the [?hairo] #at =ee spun round and tumbled and the #at burst and fell to the ground+ )hey cast the cow which they had slaughtered into the tan of [(apalamochana] which is near the #at and completely defiled itH (>obinson p+0C6$+ /nd li e the fallen pole of the Indra festival" the #at itself is said to have been thrown into the 8anga about half a mile away" whereas the physical probability is that the sandstone largely crumbled under the heat of the fire (!herring 07G7,060"1CG$+ ?y adding the detail of the calf" the %uslim <sacrilege' was simply transformed into a brahmanicidal <decapitation' of #at ?hairo himself" into the death and <matricidal' (re.$ birth of the brahmanical sacrificer from the maternal womb within+ anubandhya cow HEvery woman who possesses a cow and a calf ta es them in procession through the streetsH during the thirteenth" fourteenth and fifteenth (full moon day$99the day of #at ?hairava's marriage99of the bright half of ?hadrapada" when the women observe the Gotrata" a terribly severe fast (!tevenson 06L0,1MI$+ During the previous month of !hravan" a similar worship of cow and calf" identified respectively with 5arvati and !hiva" is based on the story of the <unbewitting' slaughter and resurrection of the calf+ !tevenson (06L0, 10M201$ saw the cow and calf" of same color" worshipped while tied to a Dim tree" and a red.colored thread was placed on the head of the calf.!hiva to represent the auspicious sari of a young girl+ ?ut why a blood.red sari on the head of the <androgynous' !hivaB )he <pure shradda' on the eleventh day of the Hindu funeral rites is always preceded by the marriage of a bull and heifer" after which the male calf is let loose while the heifer is given to a brahmin (!tevenson 06L0,0LI2LL$+ / similar marriage (3ilotsarga$ is performed during the (out.of.season$ shradda offered simply in order to hasten the birth of a son, the heifer" which is given to the officiating

brahmin" is named <the.one.married.in.the.presence.of.the.sun' (!tevenson 06L0,0MI2 M3$+ )o ensure the safe passage of his soul" a dying man already had to give to a brahmin a cow adorned with gold and wearing a sari or at least a piece torn from a woman's dress, it must be accompanied by its calf (!tevenson 06L0,0I0" 06I$+ In the Eedic custom" Ha second cow was led with the funeral" illed" and its members laid on those of the deadH (Froo e 06MG,6I$+ >ich families may even Harrange for a cow to be mil ed over the exact spot where the body was burnt for thirteen daysH (!tevenson 06L0,031$" almost as if the corpse" already assimilated to !hiva" had been reborn as a calf+ )hough cow.slaughter became a heinous crime in classical brahmanism" the transgressive symbolism of cow sacrifice remains central to the Hindu myth and ritual+ In the Eedic prototype" the calf <unexpectedly' found within the <barren' cow" which was <to be bound or immolated after' the sacrifice (anu andhya$ as an offering to %itra.Earuna" was identified with the immortal sacrificer himself+ )he (premature$ extraction of the embryo (of sometimes indeterminate sex$ was assimilated to a normal delivery" and it was decapitated only to be ritually (re.$ united (by means of the rahman$ with the golden womb of the dead mother so as to form a single sacrificial entity+ H)hus that which is superfluous (atirikta$ becomes not superfluous"H declares the $ata!atha Brahmana+ %ahdi" Sewish messiah" Kom (ippur" >ed Heifer )he %uslim <!hiva haktas' of %ecca had pursued %al han.?hairava all the way to ?anaras99so it would seem99only to be tric ed by the brahmanicide god into <literally' participating in the agonistic re.enactment of an archaic cow sacrifice that was not only Eedic but also authentically /brahamic+ )he )welver !hia belief" recorded in #uc now (/li 071M,013$" that the %ahdi continues his annual visit incognito to the (aaba on the day of the great sacrifice ( a'r id$" suggests that Islamic messianism is itself a transposition of the same sacrificial paradigm+ :or the )welvers" the Hidden Imam (%ahdi$" who bears the same name %uhammad (ibn al. Hasan al./s ari$ as the 5rophet himself" disappeared in 7LI /+D+ into the -ell of the ;ccultation (Bi/ral al-Gha ya$" while imprisoned with his mother" in the cave. cellar of his house.mosAue at !amarra (%omen 0673,0G0.L0$+ His messianic re. appearance at the end of time will happen more specifically on the anniversary of Husain's martyrdom on the tenth (/shur$ of %uharram (5eters 0,17M.3$" the first month of the /rab calendar" whose choice as a %uslim festival was originally modelled on the Kom (ippur" which li ewise fell on the tenth day of the first month ()ishri$ of the Sewish calendar (5eters 1,0C6.0C4 !chissel 066C$+ Dow" the ritual of the scapegoat on Kom (ippur" which symbolically identified the High 5riest as both executioner and victim" also explains the splitting of the Sewish %essiah into a martyred ben Soseph and a triumphant ben David+ )he Zohar (5eters 1,0CCb$ moreover assimilates the ten Days of /we to the stages of a divine wedding consummated on Kom (ippur+ )he Sewish sacrifice of the >ed Heifer (Dumbers 06,0. 0C$" whose ashes rendered the pure impure and vice versa" was identified by !aint 5aul and even more systematically by )homas /Auinas with (the femini&ed$ Fhrist on the Fross (5eters M,M1C.M4 1,IL$+ )he transgressive !abbataian Sews subseAuently identified her with the (abbalistic secret of the %essiah" who had abrogated the law of the )orah+ )he (oran scrupulously retains this <ridiculous' %osaic prescription in its second !urah" that of the Fow (M+GL.L1$" to the effect that" in order to allay mutual accusations of murder" an unyo ed and unharnessed cow must be sacrificed and its pieces used to hit the corpse of the victim+ In the Sewish prototype" an untraced murder is expiated through brea ing the nec of a heifer" which is en=oined by the =udges upon the elders of the nearest Sewish city" who thereupon washed their hands over the corpse declaring H;ur hands have not shed this blood" neither have our eyes seen it+ :orgive" ; #ord" )hy people Israel" whom )hou hast redeemed" and suffer not innocent blood to remain in the midst of )hy people IsraelH (Deuteronomy M0+0.6$+ Even in mishnaic times the slaughtered cow was symbolically assimilated to a man and" according to one source" the consent of a ?et Din of seventy.one members is necessary for the illing" which would amount to <re.inscribing' a purely criminal act into the properly sacrificial paradigm of the >ed Heifer (contrast 5atai 0671$+ :rom this perspective" the %uslims who

unwittingly <decapitated' the #at had simply assumed99li e the Hindu ing !ahal Deo ?har" the !unni Faliph Ka&id or Sudas Iscariot (and the Sewish High 5riest$ before him99the hated but indispensable role of the sacred executioner (%accoby 067M$+ transgressive messiah ?ut what is the relevance of this transgressive embryogony to the larger contemporary Auestion of human violence in an increasingly <seculari&ed' worldB )he abolition of caste within the radical )antric fraternities devoted to the cult of ?hairava was not so much the expression of an egalitarian political ideal+ It was rather the direct conseAuence of the transgression of the otherwise binding rules of ritual purity which were also the foundation of the social hierarchy+ )he representation of the final <messiah' (the (al i avatara$" as a horseman" or even in the form of a riderless horse" is itself a transposition of the triumphant horse of the imperial /shvamedha sacrifice+ It is li ewise the impurity of the consecrated Eedic sacrificer (dikshita$" represented by the sacrificed horse" that finds expression in the <barbarian' identity of (al i+ )he chief Aueen had to actually copulate with the dead horse in a symbolically incestuous context+ -hereas the (triumphant$ !unni Faliph was the defender and propagator of the Islamic polity vis-a-vis the infidels" the (martyred$ !hia Imam became the sacrificial focus of an ever.belied messianic expectation of the imminent abrogation of the religious law (shariat$ that (provisionally$ held this community (umma$ together (Sambet 066C$+ It was the day of /li's death" on the 0Lth of >amadan" that was chosen at the Ismaili stronghold of /lamut for proclaiming the :estival of the >esurrection ('iyama$" celebrated by the violation of the obligatory fast" the drin ing of wine and other such licence (Hodgson 0633,0I7.36$+ )he Di&ari Ismaili preachers in India converted entire castes of Hindus by identifying the tenth incarnation of Eishnu with /li" the first !hia martyr+ )he 5rophet" as law.giver" and his daughter :atima were rather identified with the god ?rahma and his daughter !arasvati (/sani 067L,114 %alisson 066M, V$" whose relationship in Hindu mythology was always defined by incest+ In this way" a transgressive understanding of Islam was promoted among the <%uhammadan Hindus' as the fulfillment of not only the Sudaeo.Fhristian but also the Eedic tradition+ !hia and !unni as two poles of Islamic problematic of )! )raditions" many held in common by both !unnis and !hias" however not only underline the intimate bond between the 5rophet and his son.in.law /li" the first Imam" but go so far as to identify them within a single principle (%omen 0673,00. MM$+ ;n the one hand" the !unnis too venerate the House of the 5rophet" espouse many of the claims of /li" and tolerated the perpetuation of transgressive !ufi lineages so long as they maintained a certain discretion and did not challenge the established socio.religious order+ ;n the other hand" the !hias subscribe to the basic tenets of Islam and their practice of ta''iya may be traced bac to /li himself" who is depicted repeatedly foregoing his claims to the Faliphate and refraining from pressing his dissent in order to preserve the larger consensus within the community+ Irreducible to a mere <sectarian' conflict" the !unni.!hia polari&ation is thus the ma=or ideological configuration assumed by a distinctively Islamic problematic of transgressive sacrality, a problematic that is perhaps constitutive of the historical dynamism of the /brahamic tradition from its very origins+ transgressive celebration of %uharram :or the !hia" H/shura is a day of dar ness and disorder in the universe+ ;n it" dar ness" the symbol of evil and chaos" was createdH (/youb 06L7, 0302M$+ ?efore its gradual reform" the %uharram" in which the Hindus massively participated" used to be celebrated as a great carnival where social and religious norms were parodied amidst shared laughter even by the !unnis themselves (!hurreef 07G1,0M1.0I0$+ )he <pilgrim fool' and the <pilgrim idiot' would parody the solemn ritual of the Ha== while the devil's chaplains" namely <cursed priest' and <irreligious priest'" would go around proffering sermons on the virtues of drun enness" gambling" adultery and

usury+ In a typical (on an village" Hindus and !unnis would =oin each other in celebrating %uharram with alcohol supplied even by the women (!aiyid 0670,0MI.3$+ )his license was apparently provided by the stoc character of the Drun ard who would repeat verses from the (oran in praise of wine while several %uharram fa ir s would sit around for days trying to refute him+ )he village idiot was dressed up as a long.tailed mon ey (langur$ to ta e the prime initiative in violating norms of sexual segregation and creating an atmosphere of general promiscuity (!aiyid 0670,01M"01L$+ )he Drun ard" who was even depicted wearing a brahmanical sacred thread made of leather" recalls the <great brahmin' clown of the !ans rit drama" who reveals a fondness for wine and is constantly assimilated to a wanton mon ey+ ?eyond the influence of popular religion" the Indian transformation of %uharram reveals the active collaboration of ascetic orders on an esoteric level" and with roots going deep into the Hindu classical tradition+ / newspaper report of Suly 0763 could observe that H%uharram passed of without a disturbance+ :irstly" there was never any fear of fighting and disturbance in ?anaras4 secondly" when it is Hindus who mostly celebrate this festival" what fear can there beBH (cited in (umar 0677,M0G$+ Hence" beneath the triangular politics of shifting alliances between Hindus" !unnis and !hias in India are recogni&able the tensions and interplay of the respective principles of hierarchy" egalitarianism and transgression" which continue to operate even beyond" and independently" of these traditional but once fluid religious identities+ )he return ( raj/a$ of the %ahdi" accompanied by the resurrection of Husain and Sesus" will be heralded by the outward manifestations of extreme promiscuity and transgressions of sacred norms" precisely what used to happen even within a religious context in the Islamic festivals of 8ha&i %iyan and %uharram" for the %ahdi Hwill demolish whatever precedes him =ust as the 5rophet demolished the structure of the )ime of Ignorance (al-*ahiliyya44the period before Islam$H (%omen 0673,0G6$+ -hile" on the one hand" the conservative strea of -ahhabi iconoclasm already inherent in Islam would reduce the (a'ba stone to a mere unifying symbol" the radical !hi'ism of the Farmathians" on the other hand" had already sought in 61C F+E+ to eliminate the symbol altogether and thereby render the %eccan pilgrimage itself wholly superfluous (Sambet 066C,07.M1$+ Imam as hypostasis of initiatic birth )he messianic liberty that inspires the !hia movement is however not so much a glorification of licence but a perfect interiori&ation of the Fhrist.li e figure of the Imam who will simply render (the outward observance of$ the law forever superfluous (Hodgson 0633,0G1.7C$+ /ll the Imams are said to be not only martyrs on the model of Husain" but were born circumcised" with their umbilical cords already severed and even spo e from within their mother's womb@ (%omen 0673,M1$+ In the final analysis" it would seem that the %ahdi" who Hwill come with a new Fause99=ust as %uhammad" at the beginning of Islam" summoned the people to a new Fause99and with a new boo and a new religious law ($hari/a$" which will be a severe test for the /rabsH (%omen 0673,0G6$" is no more than the <historical' hypostati&ation and religio.political institutionali&ation of the death and resurrection of the %uslim initiates from the inner womb of a :atimid gnosis+ /s the %other.Freator figure" :atima is Hnot very different from the image of %ary in >oman Fatholicism" she is even referred to as <virgin' ( atul$H (%omen 0673,M1G$+ !uch <virginity' is no doubt also the primary significance of the <barrenness' of the anu andhya cow and of the reAuirement that the %osaic heifer must have never been yo ed+ :atima represents the !ophia of the !hiite gnosis and would functionally correspond" in the !uhrawardian transposition" to the /vestan !penta /rmaiti (Forbin 06LL,G1.G7$+ )he Imams thus share the <maternal' role of the brahmin (U cow$, Hthe Imams are the <brides' of the 5rophet /nd furthermore" since Initiation is nothing but the spiritual birth of the adepts" in spea ing of the <mother of the believers' in the true sense" we should understand that the real and esoteric meaning of this word <mother' refers to the Imams+ Indeed" this spiritual birth is effected through them H (ibid+" p+GL$+ !a ina" the alternate name for Husain's daughter" :atima" clearly identifies her with the !he hinah+ )he incestuous symbolism is intrinsic to the marriage of the Sewish %atronit who is simultaneously bride" sister" daughter

and mother (!cholem 0673,0L0$, Ha marriage with a maternal sophia whose mystic virginity is perpetually renewed+ )hus the sophia truly assumes here the form of the virgin bride and motherH (!cholem 0673,033$+ )he birth is ultimately that of the adept himself from the radiant" ever unadulterated" womb of (his own$ Fonsciousness+ initiatic birth, uprooting of violence ?hairava too was absolved of his brahmanicide only when he re.emerged from the 8anga at (apalamocana during that precise con=unction when ?anaras" the <great cremation.ground'" assumed its full significance as the fiery womb of the 8oddess Fita" the universal Fonsciousness+ )he inner violence of this rebirth99which was outwardly expressed through the punishment of ?hairava" the martyrdom of Husain" and even the crucifixion of Fhrist99implied not =ust a positive valori&ation of (initiatic$ death as liberation+ It would suggest that the only way of completely uprooting the innate human propensity to violence is perhaps through an intense struggle (the <greater jihad'$ culminating in a conscious inner re.enactment of the marriage of #at ?hairava and 8ha&i %iyan" a perfect interiori&ation that would render wholly unnecessary this endless sacrificial cycle of raising" felling and resurrecting the pillar of all humanity+

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Muslim $hrines in )ndia: Their %haracter" 7istory and $ignificance" ed+ by Fhristian -+ )roll" II2IL+ Delhi, ;xford Jniversity 5ress+ !ontheimer" 8unther Diet&+ 0676+ H?etween 8host and 8od, / :ol of the Deccan+H In %riminal Gods" M66.11L+ $ee Hiltebeitel 0676+ Deity

!tevenson" %rs+ !inclair+ The -ites of the Twice-Born# Mnd ed+ Dew Delhi, ;riental ?oo s >eprint Forporation" 06L0+ !u ul" (ubernath+ 06LL+ ?aranasi ?ai hava+ 5atna, ?ihar >astrabhasa 5arisad+

66666 06LI+ ?aranasi 6own the Ages+ 5atna, (ameshwar Dath !u ul+
)avernier" Sean.?aptiste+ 0776+ Travels in )ndia+ )ranslated by E+ ?all+ M vols+ #ondon, %acmillan and Fo+ Eisuvalingam" !unthar+ 067G+ H)ransgressive !acrality in the Hindu )radition+H 5aper presented to the /ssembly of the -orld >eligions" Dew Kor , Dovember 06734 and to the )ransgressive !acrality Fonference at the Jniversity of -isconsin" %adison" on C7th Dovember 067G+

66666 0676+ H)he )ransgressive !acrality of the 6iksita, !acrifice"

Bhakti and Friminality in the Hindu )radition+H In %riminal Gods" IML. GM+ $ee Hiltebeitel 0676+

66666 0660+ H?etween !rinagar and ?anaras, (ashmir's Fontribution

towards a !ynthesis of Indian Fulture+H #ecture (.notes$ on 07th /pril 0660 to the interdisciplinary seminar.series on )he Fultural History of (ashmir and Depal directed by 5rof+ %ichael -it&el at Harvard Jniversity+

66666 [066Ia+] HHindu.%uslim >elations in Folonial ?anaras, :rom the

#at ?hairo >iots of 07C6 to the <8andhian' Fivil Disobedience of 0700+H !ubmitted to *ournal of the American Academy of -eligions+

66666 [066Ib+]

H)ransgressive !acrality in the Hindu !ubmitted to *ournal of the American Academy of -eligion+ The Marriage completion$+ of Lat-Bhairo and Ghazi Miyan


66666 (with Eli&abeth Fhalier.Eisuvalingam$+ Between Mecca and Benares:



-agle" Darendra (+ 0676+ HHindu.%uslim interactions in medieval %aharashtra+H In 7induism -econsidered" ed+ by 8+ D+ !ontheimer and H+ (ul e" 302GG+ Delhi, %anohar+ Karshater" Ehsan+ 06L6+ H)a'&iyeh and 5re.Islamic %ourning >ites in Iran+H In Ta/ziyeh" 7726I+ $ee Fhel ows i 06L6+

Death and Sexuality in Hinduism and Islam: The Marriage of Lat Bhairava and Ghazi Miyan
0$ #at ?hairo and 8ha&i %iyan reveal the identification of death with sexual union to be common to both Hinduism and Islam" and serve as a useful starting point for a systematic and global exercise in comparative religion+ M$ ?rahmanicide ?hairava" policeman.magistrate of ?anaras administers (metaphysical$ punishment at the #at (pillar$ to everyone who dies in this sacred city of the Hindus+ (!tump of$ pillar stands in middle of idgah where both Hindus and %uslims worship+ 1$ /nnual marriage of pillar and well coincides with beginning of season of funerary rituals+ ?hairava's head is brought in bridegroom.procession from within city to crown the pillar+ >ecurrent motif of linga in well (8yQnvQpR"

%ani arni Q$" for entire city floated on cosmic waters of creation+ I$ >oyal marriage is symbolically identified with criminal execution and (re.$birth of the (sacrificer.$ devotees+ Death is assimilated to (internali&ed$ sexual union whereby (the flame of$ consciousness ascends the spinal column to escape through the s ull (cf+ y0!a$+ %uslims used to participate in marriage and share the offerings with the Hindus+ 3$ %uslims celebrate similar where head is carried on a (illed by infidel Hindus on elsewhere in (Dorth$ India T marriage of martyred 8ha&i %iyan to Sohara ?ibi pole and ids are sacrificed to obtain rain+ wedding day" his tomb at ?ahraich is replicated identified with %ecca+

G$ ?ut two white ids are sacrificed facing %ecca with two poles at %uslim village of (uraha (Depal$4 third blac id is sacrificed in HHinduH manner to pole itself+ Friminal execution is replaced by martyrdom in holy war (jihad$+ >ole model for %uslim bridegrooms+ L$ Emphasis on fertility aspect with massive participation of Hindus, caste distinctions and even barriers between %uslims and Hindus are bro en down in atmosphere of sexual promiscuity+ Islami&ation of !haiva sun cult at ?ahraich" which may have involved human sacrifice+ 7$ %uharram as mourning for (Hasan and$ Husain martyred in G7C at (arbala" burial ground for !hias+ %arriage of (assim and :atima on 3th or Lth day with constant assimilation of death to marriage+ )ransposition to 8ha&i %iyan cycle reflects tendency of !hias and !unnis to close ran s around an egalitarian Islamic ideal vis.a.vis the Hindus+ 6$ Death anniversary of any %uslim saint is designated as HmarriageH (urs$ so much so that union of soul with 8od has become" in both popular religion and esoteric literature" a sexual union consummated only in death+ Hybrid legends reveal martyrdom of %uslim warrior and Hindu god to be the two poles of a common ideology of self.sacrifice based on identity of iller and victim+ 0C$ ;bsession of %uslim rulers li e :iro& !hah with pillars goes bac to symbolic significance of (aaba at %ecca+ )he Hperfect manH of (!unni$ !ufis was called the HpoleH ('ut $ and the lin between the !hia Imams and 8od was visuali&ed as pillar of light+ /braham united with Hagar on (aaba stone to conceive Ishmael and subseAuently tethered his camel there when he sought to immolate him for /llah+ >epeatedly referred to as HpillarH in the context of the 5rophet's farewell pilgrimage in the year of his death+ 00$ /l.Halla='s execution (compared to animal sacrifice$ for claiming to be 8od becomes universal symbol of mystical marriage+ (aaba" which represents (the evil in$ the dar luminosity of the heart (Ibn /rabi$" corresponds not only to blac spot removed from (future$ 5rophet's heart but also to blac id sacrificed to pole at 8ha&i %iyan festival+

8entile&a del autor, !unthar Eisuvalingam, suntharv\yahoo+com Eisita la p]gina de !unthar Eisuvalingam, http,NNmembers+iAuest+netN^suntharvN _MCC0 !unthar Eisuvalingam