Event — Book presentation

Intimate Enemies: Intra-Muslim Strife and Mass Publicity in South India

This book talk is delivered by Nandagopal R. Menon, author of the forthcoming book, Intra-Muslim Polemics in South India: Intimacies, Mass Publicity and Secularism (Oxford University Press, 2024).

The presentation is supported by Soheb Niazi (chair) and Radhika Gupta (discussant). 

It takes place in the conference room of IIAS from 16:00 to 17:00 p.m. (not online).

All are welcome. We kindly ask you to register as seating is limited.

The Lecture

Academic and media discourses on rifts between Muslims – Sunni-Shia, Salafi-Sufi – have explained them as radical theological incompatibilities, as incited by geopolitical power games, and as differences between ‘folk’ and ‘high’ Islamic traditions. This lecture, in contrast, ethnographically situates intra-Muslim tensions in the entanglement between intimacies and mass publicity.

The centrepiece of this lecture is the 'growing tomb' of an Islamic scholar in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala, which is exacerbating strife among his male children/grandchildren who belong to opposing schools of faith. While kin belonging to the traditionalist Sunni school endorsed the 'growing tomb' as a miracle and proclaimed the dead scholar a saint, their rival kin affiliated with the modernist reformist Jamaat-e-Islami rejected the phenomenon as a manipulation of the grave, viewing it as the precursor to the initiation of un-Islamic saint 'worship' and tomb visitation. 

This talk focuses on the mass circulation of the two rival interpretations - through heavily mediatised events - to explore how the making and unmaking of the saint, intra-Muslim fissures and kinship bonds are public processes that are inextricably entwined.

The Speaker (author)

Dr Nandagopal R. Menon is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”, University of Münster. He holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Utrecht University and has worked as a researcher and lecturer at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) at the University of Göttingen (Germany) and the International Institute for Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) in Leiden. His published work includes a monograph titled Intra-Muslim Polemics in South India: Intimacies, Mass Publicity and Secularism (Oxford University Press, 2024) and articles in journals such as Modern Asian Studies and History of Religions

Dr Radhika Gupta will act as a discussant. She is currently based at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University. She is the author of Freedom In Captivity: Negotiations of Belonging along Kashmir's Frontier (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

This presentation will be chaired by Dr Soheb Niazi from the Max Weber Forum for South Asian Studies and a former research fellow at IIAS.  

Registration (required)

Please use the web form on this page to register, as seating is limited.