Salaam my friends!
These few days have been very hectic and loaded with good education and hard work!
That is what I love with INLANSO, that it is a very fulfilling schedule and that the students have to work hard. It is to get as much as possible out of the South Asian experience!
We have been planning so many things and travels and also interesting projects!
We have Urdu classes everyday, which means it is very intense and high demands of language profficiency amongst the teachers, which means that the education this institution gives really is worth it. But also the fact that it is givin socio-linguistic dimensions of the language as a cultural bearing phenomenon. And as we study Urdu and are in Lucknow the center of Nawabi Islamic culture our focus this week will be on inclusive Islam.
I have learnt a lot more about dimensions and dynamics of Islam and how diverse it is. It is not a homogenic religion which it is described as in the West, it has as many dimensions as christianity! Everyday I do Islamic yoga, or Rakha which is very interesting and also Tai-Chi as well as minor workouts and Islamic meditation to Nasheed songs. It really feels fulfilling and interesting!
On Wednesday we went to a famous meat market, where they serve famous Lucknowi and Nawabi kababs. But since I am a vegetarian I tried vegetarian dishes, but it feels very interesting to see a different sphere of Indian culture.
Islam has been in India since the time of the Prophet, so it is certainly not a ”foreign” and ”invading” religion. It is as much a part of Indian society as Hinduism or Sikhism or any religion.
Before that we had lectures in the importance of Persian as a cultural bearing and significant language in South Asia, which dates back much further than we think and is not linked to Islam. This means that Persian is important for cultural and institutional spheres and it also shows the diversity of Indian society and also composite culture.
We also had a lecture about communalism, which is a certain feature of South Asia, and it basically means that instead of nationalism and larger groups of identities, people in this part of the world are organized in communities, that have different aims and works as organizations and institutions. These can be based on religion, caste, class etc. Very interesting lecture. I think I will write an article about it and have it posted in Sweden, as well as about duo-linguistic features of South Asia and Persian as an important cultural language.
We have also included in our amazing program that we are going to Hyderabad for fieldwork and to study Urdu that is spoken there, since it is a hub for multiculture and South Indian Nawabi Urdu culture! That is what I like the most about this institute! It is very flexible and always keen on creating initiatives for the students and to give students possibilities for doing research in fields that would be impossible in government institutions.
We have also booked our travels for South India and Sri Lanka! To Goa, Chennai, Pondicherry and Negombo!
Thursday we did have a very interesting lecture also about Sufism and Islamic theology and diversity in Islam by our landlady. A really inspiring lecture about aspects of Islam that is not well known. I have to dig deeper into the subject though, and I probably would want to write an article about it as well.
Tomorrow, Friday and Saturday we have fieldwork studies which means that we are visiting and Islamic International university on Saturday (21) and tomorrow (20) we are exploring mazaars and places where Islamic saints/important figures are burried. A very unique Islamic feature of South Asia!
But I will write about that in the weekend!
I also want to congratulate my partner and soulmate who had his birthday today (Thursday)!