Category Archives: Sehwan Sharif, Sindh

Sehwan Sharif, Sindh

Credits: Rémy Delage (During the urs with the dargah under renovation in 2012)

Basic information

Location (country): Pakistan

Location (city): Sehwan Sharif

Location (neighbourhood):

Location (GPS coordinates): Latitude: 26.412225 | Longitude: 67.86294

Type of religious site: Dargah, Darbar, Muslim and Hindu Sufi lodges, etc.

Religious community(ies) attending: Sunni and Shia Muslims, Hindus, Malang, Faqir, etc.

No of communities attending:

Language(s) used for ceremonies and prayers: Sindhi, Urdu, Punjabi

Approximate size of the site: (in m2)

Year of construction: 13th century

Pilgrimage location: yes

Pilgrimage season: Month of Sha’ban

Names and dates of the main festivals celebrated in situ: Celebration of the `Urs (18-20 Sha’ban); Commemoration of Ashura (1-10 Moharram)

No of pictures of the sites appended to this form: (Min 1)

Website page of the site (if available):                                                 

Name and title of the in-charge of the site (if known): Awqaf Department, Government of Sindh

Overview of the site

The pilgrimage centre of Sehwan Sharif is located in the southern province of Sindh in Pakistan, along the Indus. Its reputation is related to the presence of the saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, an antinomian Sufi who migrated and settled there at the end of the 13th century. Since then, the locality developed in parallel with the growing cult of the saint that has known a significant increase in terms of participation since the late 20th century.  Apart from the daily visits of devotees (ziyarat) throughout the year, two major events structure the ritual calendar of the mausoleum. On the one hand, the commemoration of Ashura (month of Muharram) is an occasion for Twelver shias to display their religious identity during which a complex system of ritual processions reveals social divisions at the local level. On the other hand, the annual pilgrimage (urs, mela) during the month of Sha’ban is preceded by one the most important gathering of faqirs across the subcontinent and followed by the departure of several caravans of faqirs and pilgrims to other holy destinations. What is more, the locality of Sehwan articulates during the festival various circulatory territories that bring together various social (transgender, low and high castes, etc.) and religious groups (sunni, shia, hindu, malang, etc.). The practices of sharing public spaces during such specific event are worth being studied empirically since they contribute to the repositioning of pilgrims and local people faced with social and religious otherness.

Bibliography pertaining to the site

Rémy Delage (2018) « Sufism and Pilgrimage Market: A Political Economy of a Shrine in Southern Pakistan », in Coleman, S. & Eade, J. (eds) Translating the Sacred: Pilgrimage and Political Economy in Transnational Contexts, Berghahn Books, Oxford.

Rémy Delage (2016) « L’espace du pèlerinage comme territoire circulatoire : Sehwan Sharif sur les rives de l’Indus », Cahiers d’Outre-Mer, Numéro thématique Prier aux Suds : les lieux de culte entre territorialisations, cohabitations et mobilités du religieux, 275.

Omar Kasmani (2017) « Grounds of becoming : faqirs among the dead in Sehwan Sharif, Pakistan ». Culture and Religion. An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 18, n° 2, pp. 72-89.

Omar Kasmani (2016) « Women [un-]like Women : The Question of Spiritual Authority among Female Fakirs of Sehwan Sharif ». In M. Boivin and R. Delage, eds, Devotional Islam in Contemporary South Asia: Shrines, Journeys and Wanderers, Londres, Routledge, pp. 47-62.

Rémy Delage (2016) « Soufisme et espace urbain. Circulations rituelles dans la localité de Sehwan Sharif », in Claveyrolas, M. & Delage, R. (eds) Territoires du religieux dans les mondes indiens. Parcourir, mettre en scène, franchir, Editions EHESS, coll. Purusartha, n°34, Paris, pp. 149-175.

Rémy Delage et Delphine Ortis (2014) « Les relations entre Sehwan Sharif et l’Indus dans le Sindh : histoire d’une mise à distance (Pakistan) », in Harit Joshi et Anne Viguier (eds) Ville et fleuve en Asie du Sud. Regard croisés, Editions INALCO, pp. 33-47.

Boivin, M. (2012) Le soufisme antinomien dans le sous-continent indien. Paris, Éditions du Cerf.

Michel Boivin (2012) « Compétition religieuse et culture partagée dans les lieux saints complexes d’Asie du sud » in Isabelle Depret et Guillaume Dye (dir.), Partage du sacré : transferts, cultes mixtes, rivalités interconfessionnelles, Bruxelles, Editions EME, pp. 149-165.

Boivin, M. (2011) Artefacts of Devotion. A Sufi Repertoire of the Qalandariyya in Sehwan Sharif, Sindh, Pakistan. Karachi, OUP.

Michel Boivin et Rémy Delage (2010) « Benazir en odeur de sainteté. Naissance d’un lieu de culte au Pakistan », Archives des Sciences Sociales des Religions, n° 151, Paris, Editions EHESS,  pp. 189-211.

Boivin, M. (2005) « Le pèlerinage de Sehwân Sharîf, Sindh (Pakistan) : territoires, protagonistes et rituels », in S. Chiffoleau & A. Madœuf, dir., Les  pèlerinages au Maghreb et au Moyent-Orient. Espaces publics, espaces du public, Damas, IFPO, pp. 311-345.