Dr. Purushottam Agrawal, Kabir scholar, speaks with Mayank Chhaya on life and times of 16th century poet-philosopher Kabir - who has been claimed by both Muslims and Hindus - and what his life tells the India of today | SAM Conversation

Jan 01, 2022

Among the luminous names of India’s extraordinary Bhakti Movement that arose around the sixth century and flourished until about the 16th century, one name that enjoys both literary and philosophical stardom is that of Kabir. And perhaps the only name that has brought to bear decades of scholarship on Kabir’s writing and philosophy with manifest success and has in the process become a star witness himself is that of Dr. Purushottam Agrawal, who began studying Kabir in 1979 and got his Ph.D. in 1985 on the theme of “The Social Meaning of Kabir’s Bhakti’.

Throughout his adult life as a poet and philosopher in the late 15th and the mid 16th centuries, Kabir was a widely revered figure with his folksy wisdom distilled from a variety of scriptural and literal sources. One of the most extraordinary aspects of Kabir’s life was that he was born in a Muslim family but claim as of their own by both Hindus and Muslims. So much so that there was a raging dispute after his death whether he should be buried under the Islamic tradition or cremated under the Hindu tradition. Dr. Agrawal spoke to Mayank Chhaya Reports