From Sectarian to Muslim Ecumenicalism: Changing Contours of Muslim Sacred Landscape in 19th Century Kashmir

Aga Khan Program Lecture:
From Sectarian to Muslim Ecumenicalism: Changing Contours of Muslim Sacred Landscape in 19th Century Kashmir
Hakim Sameer Hamdani 
AKPIA@MIT Post-Doctoral Fellow
Lecture Video
The beginning of nineteenth century marks the end of Muslim rule in Kashmir, when in 1820 this Himalayan region was annexed by the Sikh kingdom, bringing to close five centuries of Muslim rule in Kashmir. This political transformation is envisioned in native Muslim historiography as ‘a loss’, which affected not only the political fortunes of the community but also sources of patronage for construction and maintenance of religious sites. The paper seeks to examine how two historic Muslim religious sites in the region connected to Kashmiri Sunni and Shi’a society: the Khānaqāh-i Mʿaulā and the Mʿārak imāmbāda, came to define the transformation of a sectarian identity into the idea of a united Kashmiri Muslim self, navigating through the contours of sectarian differences and conflicts.
Hakim Sameer Hamdani is Design Director at INTACH Kashmir, whose primary area of research is in the field of Islamic religious Architecture of South Asia. He has widely written on the Muslim material culture of Kashmir. His major conservation projects are the Reconstruction of 18th century wooden Shrine of Pīr Dastgīr Ṣahib (2020–12) and Conservation of 15th century, ʿAāli Masjid at Eidgah, Srinagar (2007)— both of which were longlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, as well as the Mughal Gardens of Kashmir. He recently prepared the dossier for successful inclusion of Srinagar on the UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN-2021).His book based on his doctoral research, The Syncretic Traditions of Islamic Religious Architecture of Kashmir (Early 14th ‐ 18th Century)was published by Routledge in March 2021. He is forthcoming book Shi’ism in Kashmir: A history of Sunni‐Shia  rivalry and reconciliation,  is being published by I B Tauris. He is also co-editing a book on Mughal Gardens of Kashmir.
He is presently pursuing his Post‐Doctoral fellowship in Islamic Architecture (2021‐22) at MIT.