BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Date of Submission



Mohammad Nabeel Jafri, Visiting Faculty, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


The study aims to explore the discourse surrounding the celebration of the birth of the prophet every year. The first part of this dissertation explores the Deobandi/Barelvi polemic on the question of mawlid celebrations, the texts that were used are from the 19th century, but one is forced to wonder whether this polemic was only reserved for the period of colonial modernity. It has migrated, through its anti-colonial nature into the post-colonial and has become a part of religious discourse in a different context. How has this migration shifted the conceptual-ideological problem space of the Deobandi-Barelvi polemic? How has it responded to the growing technologization? In what ways have the form and content changed since being forced unto a new habitat and what does this tell us about the post-colonial rupture and continuity of identity? How are these practices important in positing a marginalized Barelvi identity?

I think a very simple way in which I could summarize the research question and maybe the aim of this dissertation is “Whether, if, and how the discourse surrounding mawlid evolved across the colonial period and through to the post-colonial, especially in the textual polemics between the Deobandis and the Barelwis?” What is at stake for those that continue this discourse and what is being added that was not already there? How does mawlid become a site of contestation for various competing rationalities and what are the motivations (religious, nationalist, and local) for partaking (or not partaking) in this event?


III, 55

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