Afsar Mohammad, "An Evening with a Sufi" (Red River, 2022)


Afsar Mohammad's An Evening with a Sufi (Red River, 2022) is a collection of Afsar's Telugu poems translated into to English by Asfar and Shamala Gallagher. The stunning poems in the collection capture the stark realities of religious landscape of post-partition South Asia and is set against the backdrop of a barren panorama of village life that is reeling from political and social friction. The poems evoke Sufi saints and motherly figures (or ammas) to explore caste dynamics and sectarian differences while striking the readers with themes of exile and yearning of homeland. The poems are followed by reflections on the translation by Shamala Gallagher, an interview with the author, and two essays by David Shulman and Cheran Rudhramoorthy respectively. This provocative collection of poetry will be of interest to scholars who work on South Asian Islam and Sufism and those who think through literary and translation theory, especially from Telugu, but will also be of interest to general readers who are interested in South Asian poetry.

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Shobhana Xavier

Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier.

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