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SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies
Yogi with eyes closed, leaning on one arm, and draped in a pink and blue shawl.
Courtesy British Library (J.6,13).

Fabrizio Speziale – The Rāwal: a sect of Muslim yogis in Colonial India

April 24, 2024

19:00 UTC – 20:30 UTC


Online webinar

Join the Event

SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies is pleased to host Fabrizio Speziale, Professor at the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) and a member of the Center for South Asian and Himalayan Studies (CESAH), Paris-Marseille, for a lecture entitled “The Rāwal: a sect of Muslim yogis in Colonial India.”

In early modern and colonial India, Muslims’ assimilation of knowledge and practices from the yogis was a layered phenomenon where different approaches, which reflected the needs of different groups of Muslim society, coexisted. This lecture looks at the emergence of Muslim branches of Nāth yogis and presents the first stage of an ongoing research on one of them, the Rāwal, which are referred to as a group of ascetics, astrologers and itinerant healers. Their members were renowned for treating cataracts, and according to colonial sources, some regularly visited Europe in the early 20th century to perform this operation. This lecture explores how Muslim yogis were perceived in the Indian society of the colonial period and the professional features of the Rāwal sect, where family played a key role, and women managed family properties when men travelled to perform their itinerant profession.

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Passcode: KMbCB8HTd4

We look forward to seeing you online!

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