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Book Code: 9788121213387

M. H. Illias, Shamshad Hussain

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This work is a socio-linguistic study of a locally devised language called Arabi-Malayalam of Mappila Muslims of Kerala, which is on the verge of extinction. Besides covering many interesting linguistic issues, this work documents a vast array of oral and written traditions in this language. There are a number of rituals, life-cycle events and performative occasions in which the oral literary tradition in Arabi-Malayalam finds its expression. One of the major concerns of this work is to analyze the pragmatic working of language and literary genre adjusted structurally to such occasions.

The development of literature in Arabi-Malayalam reflects a trade and faith-induced cosmopolitanism with its effects spread across far-flung regions like Southern Yemen, East Africa and South East Asia. This work is, therefore, an attempt to reposition the history of Arabi-Malayalam with a thoughtful consideration of movements of peoples, cultures and goods across boundaries of space and culture.

Within the realm of 'secular-national' literature there was a pronounced skepticism towards Arabi-Malayalam literary works which have often been seen associated with the less prestigious genre of 'religious literature' or 'vernacular community literature'. This work also makes an enquiry into why Arab- Malayalam literature was gingerly accepted or held out at an arm's length by the literary theorists.


M.H. Ilias is Professor at the India-Arab Cultural Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia. Areas of his research interest include South Asian Islam, Society and Culture in the Gulf States, Hadrami migration on the Malabar Coast and film and popular culture in West Asia. Ilias' recent publications include India-West Asia Relations: Understanding Cultural Interplays (co-edited); Space Memory and Jewish National Identity; Society and Change in the Contemporary Gulf (co-edited) and Off-Campus Orientalism: Western University Branch Campuses in the Gulf.

Shamshad Hussain K.T. is Associate Professor at the Depar tment of Malayalam, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kerala. Her research, teaching and writing focused on Islamic Feminism, Feminist Theories, South Asian Islam and History of De-Colonization Movement in Malabar. Shamshad' s most recent works are Between Feminism and Minority Status and Neither Islam nor Women.


Preface 5

Acknowledgements 7

1. Introduction 9

2. Community, Text and Territory 23

3. Structure and Linguistic Features 49

4. Creative and Critical Interventions: The Prose Tradition 71

5. Poetical and Peformative Imaginations: Mappilapp Qttu Tradition 103

6. Alternative Construction of Knowledge 161

Bibliography 171

Plates 179

Glossary 193

Index 197

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