Nargis Virani, PhD candidate in Islamic Studies, Harvard University
Rumi's mulamma'at (macaronic poems) are a composite of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Greek and Armenian. Due to this seemingly arbitrary blend of languages, the poems often appear mixed-up and incomprehensible. However, a close study of the poems brings to the fore Rumi's attempts to introduce multi-layered expressions and understandings of the experience of reality. Ms. Virani argued that by undermining a one-dimensional understanding of truth and morality, these hetero-glossic poems serve to perform a subversive function. Her paper applied Mikhail Bakhtin's insights about the role that travestying forms play in shaping the worldview of mainstream literary enterprise to a couple of stories from Rumi's Mathnawi to illustrate the interplay of dialogic imagination and normative morality.