The Language of Puthis: Dubhashi and the Bengali Muslims

Muslims in the region of Bengal, like other Muslims in the Northwest of India, viewed that different languages in the space social space was natural and by God's design. This was the way it always was after all, and pointed to Qur'anic ayats, such as the one above , to argue that the wise person had to know and communicate in many languages. It also means sometimes people would mix different languages as they saw fit for their pupose in single utterances. This view can be seen in the way the puthi genres made use of dubhashi (a language made up of Bangla, Hindustani, Farsi, and Arabic). Their writers and performances only thought about ways to best communicate Islamic ideas and views, not whether what the language they used was proper or not.

Looking for Shah Jalal

The avenue leading up to the mazaar was much wider than any other road I had yet seen in Sylhet. Cars were parked in a row along the middle of it as apposed to the side: it used a system of parking completely different than what I was used to. Stalls stood on both sides of the avenue, which gave the place the look of being more a peddler trap than the ascetic shrine the word mazaar conjured up in my mind.