The literature of the Khojas comprises a number of hymns revolving around war-like and eschatological themes. Among these texts it seems that the ginans ascribed to Pir Sadruddin, the fifteenth century dai who was also referred to by the Hindu names of Sahadev and Harchand, are the foremost, [11] albeit a similar motif is developed in some ginans signed Pir Shams and Imam Shah. Three ginans attributed to Pir Sadruddin and two signed Pir Shams will be examined here.[12]

Let us first describe the main features of these prophetic songs. They deal with events which will take place on the day of Resurrection (qiyamat) which is said to coincide with the end of the Hindu Kali Yuga. The Lord (Shah, Saheb) who is the ever-living Imam, a manifestation of Ali, and in this case the mahdi or qaim of the Resurrection is referred to as Nikalank Avatar. As has been said earlier, this Sanskrit adjective occasionally found in the old literature as one of the numerous epithets qualifying the Absolute, came into particular prominence within the Medieval Nath tradition, according to which it referred to the non qualified (nirgun) God. On the other hand Ivanow remarks that the word nikalank is a faithful, literal translation of the Arabic masum (stainless, immaculate) which was one of the traditional attributes of the Imam (Ivanow, 1948: 58) also referred to in the ginanic literature as the dasmo badshah (the tenth Emperor) and identified with the tenth incarnation of Vishnu.

According to the ginans, Nikalank Avatar will come from the West (a reference to the first Nizari center in Iran, at Alamut, in the Daylam region). His main task will be to fight against the Danavas (a category of Hindu demons) and in particular against the fiercest one, Kalinga (Kalingo) who is said to be the personification of Kali Yuga and its evils. Shackle and Moir (Ibid.: 192) write that "The destruction of Kalingo by the Imam Mahdi is a major feature of the final Resurrection which brings the Kaliyuga to an end". Then the Lord will wed Visav Kunvari (Sanskrit visva kumari) litt. the Virgin Universe or the Virgin Earth, viewed as a symbol of the converted community. While the faithful (rikhisar, momin)[13] will rule for many centuries, the lord (swami raja) will write the account of all deeds and accordingly reward or punish all men and women.

It is obvious that a number of themes and terminologies have been drawn from Hindu mythology (whether from the Kalki Purana or from other texts such as the Bhagavata Purana) but, as was customary in the Nizari tradition of the Subcontinent, they were reworked into somewhat different patterns in order to be in conformity with the Ismaili ideology. Besides, indigenous terminologies were used parallel, with Islamic denominations. For instance Nikalank Avatar was also called the Mahdi and Qaim, Swami Raja (the Lord) Shah, Rikihisar (the faithful) Momins, etc. (Shackle and Moir: 20).

Contrary to the Kalki Purana, which is replete with conventional and allegorical features, some prophetic ginans give a vivid description of the end of Kali Yuga. The army of the Lord comprises Hindu mythological characters as well as Islamic figures. Among the former one finds heroes of the Mahabharata such as the five Pandavas, Kunti and Draupadi, and other famous mythological characters such as the king Hariscandra or the demon-devotee Prahlad. In a ginan ascribed to Sadruddin one reads (Shackle and Moir: 117): "The Sayyids of India will attack and the five Pandavas will join them". Among those who will be punished are mentioned "Qazis and mollas" (Ibid.) representing the religious authorities of the Sunnis who, ruling in Delhi, were the major rivals of the Ismailis. Kalinga also plays an important role in the ginanic tradition. He is not a mere allegorical figure as in the Puranic lore where he is referred to as Kali or Kali Yuga. Kalinga is portrayed as areal demon-king whose pious wife Surja: Rani has been converted to the "truth path" (Satpanth, Nizari Ismailism). The overall tone is war-like:

Mighty armies will be struck with terror Shields and spears and drums will be there and spear after spear will strike there. The blind and the foolish, having no awareness, will oppose the lord of Khurassan, but the head of Kalinga will fall... (Shackle and More: 117).

The episode of Nikalank Avatar's marriage also forms an essential part of the ginanic prophetic tradition. One of the ginans is referred to by Nanjiani (1918: 163) as Shah no vivah (the Lord's wedding). Here the marriage of the Imam qaim acquires a highly symbolical nature. It is a cosmic wedding where the divine manifestation is the bridegroom and the bride is none but the Virgin Earth herself, that is to say the Ismaili community ideally extended to the whole world. This event, however, should not be perceived only as a religious esoterical one, but concomitantly as a socio-political programme corresponding to the ambitions of the Ismaili dawa. The revelation of the final truth is made to coincide with the advent of a new Era. In contrast the wedding scenes of the Kalki Purana, albeit more lengthy and more realistic by nature, lack these powerful symbolic and prophetic qualities.

In some prophetic ginans a detailed and vivid description of the evils of Kali Yuga, of various abnormalities, climatic disasters and cataclysms plays a crucial role, which is not the case in the Kalki and even in the Bhagavat Purana, although in the latter a few similar details are found. Actually, this motif may have deeper roots outside the ancient Hindu tradition. As Marquet has shown (1973), in the early Ismaili philosophy of the Ikhwan aI-Safa or "Brothers of Purity" astrology already played a major role in the determination of future events (Ibid.: 129-146). The occurrence of certain astrological conjunctions was, for example, believed to trigger the final cataclysms which took place at the end of each cycle of time. Before reverting to the ginans it might be of interest to quote a fragment of a much earlier text, the Jamia, one of the epistles of the "Brothers of Purity" representing one of the pre-Nizari Ismaili tradition. This text describes the calamities and disorders which will then take place: lack of minerals and precious stones, destruction of cities, absence of rainfall, deluge of water or of fire. ..the air will become so hot that it will burn men and animals, science will disappear, wise men will die, prophets will be exterminated, unworthy persons will enjoy a high position, contraries will appear, etc. (Ibid.: 398-9).

Incidentally, in the Agam vani tradition of the Nizarpanthis, Sahadev, identified with the Ismaili Pir Sadruddin who has signed a few ginans with this Hindu name (Gohil, 1994: 107), is the presumed author of a few messianic poems and is also considered to have been a famous astrologer. While both prophetic ginans and Agam vanis appear to be linked with astrological predictions, this is not the case of the Puranic tradition dealing with Kalki.

Let us now turn to the catastrophes and anomalies of the Kali Yuga as they are described in Pir Sadruddin's and Pir Shams' ginans: the faithful will slander each other and consume tobacco and wine;[14] they will not participate any longer in the sacred gatherings (jama' at) and they will worship idols (one of the major prohibitions of the otherwise tolerant and flexible Nizari religion); women will lose their honour, rulers will be like demons, caste distinctions will no more be observed (a trait also found in the Kalki Purana), etc. Besides, a variety of natural disasters are mentioned, such as the earth becoming red like copper, the sun burning like fire, the waters of lakes and rivers receding, stones and hills being burnt. In contradistinction to Sadruddin's hymns, the ginans of Pir Shams are still more replete with these eschatological elements, whilst the true messianic accents are virtually absent: darkness will cover the earth, violent winds will blow, there will be a deluge and nothing will grow on the earth; mothers will quarrel with their daughters, friends will become enemies, servants will oppress their masters, brothers will kill each other, Brahmans will exterminate the cows and Hindus and Muslims will eat together....

All these texts have a central motif: God taking account of each and every human deed. There is a general tone of warning and it is said that the faithful (Rikhisars, Momins) should not forget to perform their duties, among which the major ones were attending the regular assemblies (jama' at) and paying the obligatory tithe (dasondh). Again, this type of warning and moral advice seem to be absent from the Kalki Purana and the Bhagavata Purana. Various formulae found in these ginans, such as "take heed, take heed, 0 brother!" and "0 faithful brothers, remember to worship your Shah" could illustrate this point. One could conclude this brief description of the prophetic ginans by stating that in the eschatological and messianic texts transmitted by the Indian Nizaris inspiration has been drawn both from the Hindu Epic and Puranic lore and from the Ismaili heritage, but that it is ultimately the Ismaili philosophy that gives to the theme its main tone and direction, determining its meaning and significance in the religious life of the devotee.

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