Accepted paper:

Making 'un-reformed': family, gender and class in Islamic charity images in South India

Authors:

Manaf KK (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will look at the charity photographs that appear in the vernacular newspapers in Kerala. Black & White Images of Mappila Muslim families seeking help appears mainly in those news paper run by Muslim organizations. It can be seen that the representational modes of charity images throughout the globe travel to local newspapers. These photographs mediate between the realm of art, and family photographs. These images help us to understand the ways in which Muslims of Kerala demarcate their distinct identities vis-a-vis Islamic practices and debates on ‘correct’ Islamic practices in their daily life since Muslims in Kerala divide themselves into various religious sects. They also divide them as ‘traditionalists’ and ‘reformers’. The photographs of charity can be used as a prism to locate the ways in which charity images create distinct identities for the giver and the receiver of charity; they inform the normative form of family, and gendering; and they also converse with the family photographs, journalistic photographs and Mappila Muslim women’s art works.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will look at the charity photographs that appear in the vernacular newspapers in Kerala. Black & White Images of Mappila Muslim families seeking help appears mainly in those news paper run by Muslim organizations. It can be seen that the representational modes of charity images throughout the globe travel to local newspapers. These photographs mediate between the realm of art, and family photographs. These images help us to understand the ways in which Muslims of Kerala demarcate their distinct identities vis-a-vis Islamic practices and debates on 'correct' Islamic practices in their daily life since Muslims in Kerala divide themselves into various religious sects. They also divide them as 'traditionalists' and 'reformers'. The photographs of charity can be used as a prism to locate the ways in which charity images create distinct identities for the giver and the receiver of charity; they inform the normative form of family, and gendering; and they also converse with the family photographs, journalistic photographs and Mappila Muslim women's art works. Here we see the interface between the notions of Islamic piety and modesty, the debates on gender and family in Kerala and reproduction of social hierarchies and political assertions based on distinct religious identities among Muslims of Kerala. The paper locates the charity images in the historical and social context of the transformation in the realms of family and gender in South India.

panel P52
Vernacular perspectives on arts and aesthetics