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ASG Conferences (Pre and Post 2007)


  1. Joint Conference by Society of Ismaili Studies/Ecole Pratique des Hautes       Studes(Sorbonne)/North Gujrat University (Patan) April 2002

  2. In collaboration with University of Saurastra Rajkot, India 2004

  3. Devotional Expressions of South Asia Muslims – IIS 2006

  4. This conference was held in London under the banner of ASG in 2007

  5. This conference was also held in London under the banner of ASG in 2009

  6. Sounds and Spaces of Muslim Piety: Traditions and Transformation in collaboration with Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology – University of Alberta, Edmonton

  7. International Ginan Conference, October 2011, London 

  8. A joint, collaborative online conference with University of Mumbai and Association for the Study of Ginans on Medieval Indic Devotional and Mystical Literature, December 2021


Nizari Ismaili Ginans

“The ginans are a vast corpus consisting of several hundred (indeed, by some estimates over a thousand) hymns or religious lyrics which have for long been a central part of the religious life of the Indian Nizari Ismaili Community, and of which they continue to form the living religious tradition. The literature is also shared by the Imamshahi community in Gujarat, who are believed to have split off from the Ismailis sometime in the 16th century.

The term ‘ginan’ is believed to derive from the Sanskrit jnan, an abstract noun, which may be variously rendered as ‘knowledge’, ‘wisdom’ or ‘cognition’ (reminiscent, to some extent, of the Greek gnosis).

The language of the ginans is fascinatingly mixed. Its vocabulary is derived alike from Sanskrit, and languages descended from Sanskrit (chiefly Gujarati) on one hand, and Arabic and Persian on the other. Few ginans, if any, can be distinguished by content. What rather gives each its unity, its identity, is the melody (raga) assigned to it. Furthermore, the last verse of every ginan mentions, without fail, the name of its accepted author. It is these features which make every single composition, whose content is normally quite heterogeneous, recognisably distinct (Daftary, Zulfikar, 2008) [2].”

 [2] - The Ismailis – An Illustrated History, Farhad Daftary and Zulfikar Hirji, IIS, 2008

Nizari Ismaili Granth

Nizari Ismaili Ginan composition are divided into two categories: ginans and granths

Ginans are lyrical compositions of four verse or longer but not exceeding thirty verses (although, there are exceptions to this rule). Granths are longer compositions, sometimes exceeding five hundred verses.

In Sanskrit granth mean 'a knot.’ It is a word that was used for books, and the script used to write them. This stems from the practice of binding inscribed palm leaves using a length of thread held by knots. In Nizari Ismaili tradition, a grath retains the Sanskrit connotation of a book and script used to write them. Original Nizari Ismaili granth were transcribed in a special ancient Khojki script and are thematic. They could be lyrical compositions, and are often recited as part of Ismaili Liturgy. Examples of such granths are Buj Niranjan by Pir Saderdin (R.A) or Brahma Prakash by Pir Shams (R.A). Other composition are a mix of prose and poetry and are composed in Shloka form. Example of such granths are Mul Gavantri or Naklanki Geeta by Sayyed Imamshah. Many granths are thematic and cover varied subjects such as ethics, theology, eschatology, or cosmology. The published and unpublished granth total seventy-five. 

(Above details are courtesy of Institute of Ismaili Studies, London) 

Ginan and grant details and authors are listed under the Fact Sheet on Ginans and Granths. 

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