Ghazal Asif

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Johns Hopkins U.

Grant number

Gr. 9257

Approve Date

April 11, 2016

Project Title

Asif, Ghazal, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Papering the Divide: Religious Difference, Bureaucracy and Belonging in Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Naveeda Khan

Preliminary abstract: My dissertation will examine how modes of governance intersect with what it means to be a Hindu in Pakistan. I will explore the paperwork through which the concerns and claims of citizenship are articulated, such as petitions, affidavits, identity cards, deeds and certificates. I suggest that these may paradoxically also provide opportunities for establishing belonging to the Pakistani state. Focusing on the relationship of Pakistani Hindus to local government and bureaucracy by locating myself at the lower courts, bureaucratic offices, and temples in Mirpurkhas, Sindh, I will show how a religious minority aspires to a political life within an ideological state that only partially recognizes it. In such a zone of partial recognition, how is the material infrastructure of legal and political life used to reimagine notions of viable forms of citizenship? What may be the motivations and circumstances for creating an appeal to the state through bureaucracy, in the absence of legal codes? Addressing current debates on citizenship, religious freedom and the place of the law, my dissertation project will explore how the nature of citizenship and belonging itself comes to be reformulated in the light of these negotiations and the interweaving of state practices and religious difference.