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Queens Mansion, 3rd Floor, G. Talwatkar Marg, Fort, Mumbai - 400001. India.
E-mail: to.jnanapravaha@gmail.com, info@jp-india.org
Tel      : +91-22-2207 2974 / 2207 2975
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Sultans and Sufis, Contested Domains

6 Jan '18 6.00 - 8.30 pm

The lecture will focus on the relation between Sufis and Sultans that developed from the Sultan's dependence on the Sufi for the legitimisation of his sovereignty to becoming an autonomous monarch with combined mundane and spiritual powers. The changing role of the spiritual establishments, the influential socio-political and religious environment of Timurid Khorasan led to a thriving cosmology of sovereignty. This process of sanctification was initiated by Firuz Shah Bahmani as suggested by his tomb's iconography. His brother Ahmad Shah was acclaimed as saint or wali during his lifetime due to his miraculous gift as rain maker, a gift confirmed by Shah Nimatullah, the revered Sufi from southern Iran who the ruler chose as spiritual advisor.

This public lecture is part of a course Islamic Aesthetics: In Praise of Aj’aib, the Wondrous


Helen Philon

HELEN PHILON was schooled in Greece and Switzerland before enrolling at SOAS, University of London for a MPhil on Pre-Islamic Persian Art received in1972. After several years as the wife of a Greek diplomat, who in 1989 was posted to Delhi as the Greek ambassador, she returned to academic studies, receiving her PhD from SOAS on Religious and Royal Architecture of the Early Bahmanis, Deccan India in 2005.
While at SOAS in the 1970s she was one of the founders of the periodical Art and Archaeology Research Papers (AARP). From 1977-88 she was curator of the Islamic Department at the Benaki Museum in Athens. In 1977 she organised an exhibition Falconry and the Arts of Islam for Sheikh Zaid in Abu Dhabi, and in 1980 The Arts of Islam at the Benaki Museum.
In 2011 she co-founded the Deccan Heritage Foundation (DHF) in the UK and India, and in 2014 the American Friends of the Deccan Heritage Foundation.
Education is one of the DHF’s primary interests and so far the Foundation has isssued ten guidebooks on Deccani Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Christian and Jewish historical sites authored by experts in the field. Among the DHF projects of preservation is the restoration of a 15th century Qanat hydraulic system near Bidar in Karnataka, in conjunction with a waste management project. This will offer the local community a newly functioning monument provided with constant clean water.
Helen is co-author with George Michell of Islamic Architecture of Deccan India, a lavishly produced book illustrated with splendid photographs by Antonio Martinelli to be appear in Spring 2018. Among her previous publications are Early Islamic Ceramics at the Benaki Museum, Athens (1980) and the DHF guidebook Gulbarga, Bidar and Bijapur (2012), as well as articles on ceramics and architecture. In 2010 she edited Silent Splendour, a book on Deccan palaces.


Registration Fees: Rs. 1000/-



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Queens Mansion, 3rd Floor, G. Talwatkar Marg,
Fort, Mumbai - 400001. India.
Tel: +91-22-2207 2974 / 2207 2975.
Fax: +91-22-2207 2976.
Email: to.jnanapravaha@gmail.com,

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