A Scent of Sandalwood: Indo-Ismaili Religious Lyrics by Dr Aziz Esmail is the first publication on the Ginans to be issued through the Institute. The Ginans are a corpus of religious hymns which have been, and continue to be, a central part of the religious life of the Indian Nizari Ismaili community.
Besides poetic translations of parts or (in many cases) the whole of 46 Ginans attributed to various authors (Pirs or Saiyads) the work includes an introduction, interpretative essay and detailed notes to the various hymns. Dr Aziz Esmail is particularly concerned with the poetic qualities of the compositions, both as a means to their literary appreciation and as a tool for understanding the religious inspiration which breathes in them. The result is a translation suggestive of the depth of religious thought, feeling and imagination out of which the poetry was born and the lyrical beauty of the form in which this experience found a voice.
The Ginans illustrate a historically and culturally specific conception of the world, as well as a religious perception that forms a significant part of the religious experience of mankind. It is therefore likely to appeal to both specialists and more general readers, including Indologists, scholars of Islam in the Indian Subcontinent, students of Comparative Religion, Comparative Literature and those with an interest in mystical or devotional poetry.
Information about the Institute’s future monographs is available on the Forthcoming Publications page.