Literary Mirrors and the Reconstruction of the Holy Places of Shiism in Nawabi Lucknow
A Few Topological Asides from Qatīl to Ghālib
The article deals with a few literary responses, in Persian and Urdu, to the reconstruction of the sacred places of Shiite Islam in the North Indian centre of Lucknow. Focusing on some lines of poetry of representative authors of the period such as Ghālib and Qatīl, the paper hints at some possible and hitherto overlooked textual paths to look at the capital of the Shiite state of Awadh as a significant literary space-time to be located in a peculiar ‘region’ of that geography of the ‘Ajam and the Indo-Persian. By adopting a loose topological approach, we show how an analysis of the poetical discourse on the city and the places of Shiite pilgrimages might help in understanding how the Nawabi architectural theatrics were received and what were the implications of the urban dissemination of Imambaras and other comparable structures.