Friday, 15 June 2012

Rebecca Conway: Exorcising The Jinn

Photo © Rebecca Conway-All Rights Reserved

Readers of my blog and others in the photography community know that I'm fascinated by the syncreticism, or the combination of conflicting beliefs, in South Asia especially between Sufism and Hinduism. So I was doubly pleased to view Rebecca Conway's Exorcising The Jinn photo gallery of images made at the shrine of a Sufi saint, Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ashabi, in Thatta, in the Sindh province of Pakistan.

Rebecca is a British freelance photojournalist with Global Radio News, Reuters, in Pakistan. She has also photographed for PBS' Frontline.

I also liked her photo essay on the Kailash community who are indigenous people residing in the Chitral District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

Sufis brought their brand of Islam to the Indian subcontinent by walking from the west; from Afghanistan and Iran. These Sufi ascetics walked around India, and eventually settled in towns and villages, counseling and helping people. These ascetics became saints or “pirs” as they’re called. When the ascetics died, their tombs became dargahs, or sacred shrines. It's at one of those shrines that Exorcising The Jinn's photographs were made.

Notwithstanding what our current Western beliefs are, the jinn (or genies) are supernatural creatures  mentioned in the Qur'an, and often referred to in Arab folklore and Islamic mythology.