|Photo By: Carey L Biron|
The Brill Dictionary of Religion describes pilgrimage as ‘time-honoured migrations to outlying sacred places … This devotional journeying is underlain by the belief that the local presence of a deity, a hero, or a saint in this specific place makes transcendence in immanence especially effective and available to experience, and thereby especially efficacious for one’s own concerns.’ From the point of view of cultural history, a pilgrimage is a symbolic move, incorporating both bodily relocation and heightened piety. For Muslims, the Haj, the pilgrimage to the two holy sites in Mecca and Medina, is not merely a farz (duty) but also a spiritual journey – one that can, for the fortunate few, lead to spiritual evolution and salvation. Consumed with a desire to see the two holiest shrines of the Muslim world, the Baitul Muqaddas and the Haram Sharif, pilgrims embark upon a journey of faith that takes them out of their small, protected world, across the seas to another world.
|Photo By: Oxford Journals|
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
China, Southasia and India
On May 19 2013, newly appointed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi for a series of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The visit is Keqiang's first outside of China since assuming power in March.
From our archive:
Purna Basnet discusses Chinese engagement in Nepal vis-a-vis security issues in Tibet and broader geo-strategic plans in Southasia (April 2011).
Fatima Chowdury relates the story of Calcutta's Indian Chinese community through the lens of political and economic upheavals in Southasia and China (May 2009).
Simon Long notes the importance of the Sino-Indian relationship for the rest of Southasia (September 2006).
J.N Dixit ruminates on the strategic concerns of the 'Middle Kingdom' in the wake of India's 1998 nuclear tests (June 1998).