New Delhi, Aug. 8: Indian scholars and academics are marking their own positions with their hard work and excellence.
Now, adding new jewels in the crown of the Indian diaspora, Dr. Mahmood Kooria, an Indian academic, associated with the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, has been awarded a 2,50,000 euros (2 crore rupees) Veni grant for his project 'Matriarchal Islam: Gendering Sharia in the Indian Ocean World'.
The alumni of JNU, Dr. Kooria will study ‘how the matriarchal Muslims engage with Sharia (Islamic law)’.
As per University’s official statement, “he will explore "how and why they resolved the perceived contradictions through legal reformulations of the matriarchal system within Islamic frameworks, with vocabulary borrowed from and lent to an Asian-African-Arab nexus, instead of the Sharia being an exclusive import from Arabia”.
On this occasion, Dr. Mahmood Kooria said, “This study will help us understand the Muslim communities in a better light. Instead of projecting different stereotypes onto them, the world at large could understand the diversity within the Muslim world, and learn from the matrilineal or matriarchal groups about their gender-equalitarian practices”.
He also said, “I will focus on different interpretative mechanisms of the scholars from the matriarchal communities, especially of female jurists, in a comparative and connected framework. Thanks to a grant from the Inter Asia Program of the Social Science Research Council (New York), I have been conducting some pilot research among these communities in Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, and Comoros”.
In total, 25 young Leiden researchers received a Veni grant so far.
Every year, NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), awards Veni grants to young researchers who recently obtained their doctoral degree. They receive a maximum of 2,50,000 euros for innovative research projects.
Dr. Kooria was a postdoctoral fellow at the HERA project "Uses of the Past: Understanding Sharia", a collaborative project between four European universities. Earlier he was a joint research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and African Studies Centre (ASC), Leiden.
His areas of specialization are the global mobility of texts, Indian Ocean studies, and Islamic legal and intellectual history.
He finished his Ph.D. at the Leiden University Institute for History and pursued his undergraduate and post-graduate studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Darul Huda Islamic University and the University of Calicut. His recent publications include Malabar in the Indian Ocean World: Cosmopolitanism in a Maritime Historical Region (Oxford University Press, 2018).