The Powerful Ephemeral: Everyday Healing in an Ambiguously Islamic Place

Front Cover
University of California Press, Aug 5, 2011 - Social Science - 282 pages
The violent partitioning of British India along religious lines and ongoing communalist aggression have compelled Indian citizens to contend with the notion that an exclusive, fixed religious identity is fundamental to selfhood. Even so, Muslim saint shrines known as dargahs attract a religiously diverse range of pilgrims. In this accessible and groundbreaking ethnography, Carla Bellamy traces the long-term healing processes of Muslim and Hindu devotees of a complex of dargahs in northwestern India. Drawing on pilgrims’ narratives, ritual and everyday practices, archival documents, and popular publications in Hindi and Urdu, Bellamy considers questions about the nature of religion in general and Indian religion in particular. Grounded in stories from individual lives and experiences, The Powerful Ephemeral offers not only a humane, highly readable portrait of dargah culture, but also new insight into notions of selfhood and religious difference in contemporary India.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


musain ekrī and Indian
e Making of a Pilgrimage and a Pilgrimage Center
e Tale of the Four Virtuous Women
Lobān Volunteerism and Abundance
e Work and Workings of māŒirī
Transgression Otherness Cosmopolitanism
Dargān Culture

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Carla Bellamy is Assistant Professor of South Asian Religion at Baruch College.

Bibliographic information