Prof. Dr. Harder wrote a book on Sufism and the veneration of saints in contemporary Bangladesh. It focuses on the Maijbhandari movement in Chittagong, south-eastern Bangladesh.
The book titled “Sufism and Saint Veneration in Contemporary Bangladesh: The Maijbhandaris of Chittagong“ is a study of movement which claims the status of the only Sufi order originated in Bengal and which has gained immense popularity in recent years. It provides a comprehensive picture of an important aspect of contemporary Bengali Islam in the South Asian context.
The approach used by Prof. Harder combines the expertise in South Asian languages and literatures with ethnographic field work and theoretical formulations from a range of disciplines, including cultural anthropology, Islamic studies and religious studies. Analysing the Maijbhandari tradition of Bengali spiritual songs, one of the largest popular song traditions in Bengal, the book presents an in-depth study of Bengali Sufi theology, hagiography and Maijbhandari esoteric songs, as well as a discussion of what Bengali Islam is. It is a useful contribution to South Asian Studies as well as Islamic Studies.
The book appeared in the Routledge publishing house as part of the series "Routledge Advances in South Asian Studies" (ed. by Prof. Subrata Mitra) in 2011.
Prof. Dr. Harder coordinates the projects B1 Satire and B13 Tamil-Speaking Muslims. He also holds a chair in Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures (Modern Indology) and is the Head of Department of Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures at the Heidelberg University.