Tony K. StewartApr 6, 2023
Witness to Marvels
Sufism and Literary Imagination
University of California Press 2019
There is a vast body of imaginal literature in Bengali that introduces fictional Sufi saints into the complex mythological world of Hindu gods and goddesses. Dating to the sixteenth century, the stories--pīr katha--are still widely read and performed today. The events that play out rival the fabulations of the Arabian Nights, which has led them to be dismissed as simplistic folktales, yet the work of these stories is profound: they provide fascinating insight into how Islam habituated itself into the cultural life of the Bangla-speaking world. In Witness to Marvels: Sufism and Literary Imagination (U California Press, 2019), Tony K. Stewart unearths the dazzling tales of Sufi saints to signal a bold new perspective on the subtle ways Islam assumed its distinctive form in Bengal.
This book is available open access here.
Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com.