|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.
flickr / The US Army
On 1 December 2013, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the US of cutting fuel supplies to Afghan security forces. Despite US pressure, Karzai continues to stall the signing of a Bilateral Security Agreement.
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