In one of his most famous verses, Khawaja Ghulam Farid (1845-1901), a Seraiki Sufi Poet wrote, “be your own ruler and abolish the English Raj (Policing System)”. In its local expressions, the verse has a magical effect. On the one hand, it encourages ruling your own world with your free will, on the other, it incites demolishing what the scholars of decolonial studies call a “hegemonic Western knowledge system”. There are numerous examples of such expressions that are mostly recorded in the oral history of people and communities of the Subcontinent. The decolonization of knowledge in countries like Pakistan has already occurred and these societies have moved on to produce and memorize their “local perspectives” and systems of knowledge. However, despite its widespread availability and popularity, this system is hardly realized by the local scholarship of decolonial studies. This talk aims to highlight some of the poetic verses and excerpts of Sufi poets and progressive political writers to argue that the decolonizing of knowledge, at least in the Indian Subcontinent started and occurred long before the “formal colonial systems” ended in this region. It aims to produce a critical debate and discussion on the reasons for this negligence and its impact on the local knowledge-creating systems. Finally, the talk proposes that there is an important need, especially but not exclusively, of the global south, to redefine “knowledge” and with this its methods and approaches to “decolonial studies”.
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