TRANSNATIONAL DEVOTEES: REFLECTIONS ON THE ROLE OF SUFI SHRINES IN THE MIGRATION PROCESS FROM GUJRAT, PAKISTAN

  • Sarfraz Khan, Zulfiqar Ali,Siraj Hussain,Sobia Abid
Keywords: Gujrati Diaspora; International Migration; Migration Process; Pakistan; Remittances; Sufi Shrines; Transnational Devotees.

Abstract

Purpose-In rural communities across Pakistan an increased proclivity can be observed towards Sufi shrines visitation and ritual performance. People normally pay visits and give donations at shrines in a bid to accommodate their spiritual needs. The migrants (transnational devotees) having strong connections to the home communities were inclined towards the Sufi shrines in the same way as their relatives back homes. Design/methodology/approach-The current research was conducted in district Gujrat which is famous for both the international migration and veneration of Sufi shrines. For this research, ethnographic fieldwork was conducted by using a) in-depth interviews, b) case studies, and c) focus group discussions from the community members having knowledge about migration and shrines. The selection of the respondents was made through the use of purposive sampling with a specific criterion as only international migrants, their left behind families’ de facto heads and the custodians of the Sufi shrines were taken as respondents. The rationale behind their selection was very simple as they can better explain the bond between migrants, custodians and shrines even after the relocation from the origin to destination.

Findings-The findings showed that a strong affection can be seen among migrants, their families and the shrines. They were paying visits to the shrines, performing rituals and giving donations for the functioning of shrines.

Originality/Value- This paper has focused on one of the issues which normally had been missed by mainstream migrant researchers. So, keeping in view the dearth of existing knowledge base on this issue, the current paper aim to add on to the body of knowledge related to the role of spiritual guidance in the process of migrants.

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Published
2020-10-10