Prof. Pius Malekandathil (JNU) speaks to Kuldeep Patowary and Shounak Ghosh about the Sufis of medieval Delhi (Delhi 2017)
Prof. Malekandathil describes what Sufi spaces meant to the people of 14th-century Delhi, many of whom were migrants from Baghdad or had come from rural areas seeking work in the army and workshops of the Sultanate. Sufism provided them direction, a way of making sense of their lives in an unfamiliar area, and was flexible enough to accommodate people from different ethnic backgrounds and belief systems. He refers to the saints' policy of keeping a distance from political power, while rulers sought to increase their legitimacy by seeking the blessings of Sufi sheikhs. He closes by reflecting on the demanding nature of the mystic path.