Tamil Sufism and Its American Manifestation
Frank Korom, Professor of Religion and Anthropology at Boston University
Professor Korom’s talk will focus on the Tamil Sufi Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, whose origins are in south India but who came to the United States in the early 1970s from Sri Lanka, where he had been ministering since the late 1940s. By conveying the enigmatic life story of Bawa, focusing on his charisma and miraculous deeds, Prof. Korom suggests that Bawa was not an isolated oddity but rather a central exponent of what he calls “Dravidian” Sufism, which has its own internal logic drawing on a literary tradition more than a thousand years old. Although some aspects of his teaching style resemble those of his counterparts in north India and elsewhere in the Sufi world (such as Southeast Asia), there are certain elements that are distinctly Dravidian in nature.
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