Mr. Murtaza Husain
Specialization: Anthropology
Home institution in US: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Host Institution in India: Al-Jamea-tus-Saifiyyah, Surat, Gujarat  
Start date/Month in India: August 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Mr. Murtaza Husain graduated from Rutgers University, New Jersey with a B.A. in religion and Middle Eastern studies with a focus on Islam and Isma’ili Shi’ism. He has a fascination with how various political, cultural and religious factors inform individual and social identity, particularly in the context of twentieth century colonialism and modernization. In the future, he hopes to pursue these concepts in studying the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community.

The da'i mutlaq is the leader and religious authority of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims, a small Isma’ili Shi’ite community numbering less than one million followers worldwide. In Mr. Husain’s Fulbright research project, “Shaping Devotion: Dawoodi Bohra Religious Authority in the 21st Century,” he intends to study the present day formulation of the da'i's spiritual charisma and the transfer of this charisma to an appointed successor. Furthermore, he wishes to how these have been informed by strong social identity and cohesion within the sect, and by the engagement of Bohra theology with twentieth century modernization in India.