Venue: The Lake District, 9th-11th May 2014
The Pakistani bureaucracy has been acclaimed as the inheritor to the proceduralist bureaucracy of the khagazi raj or ‘document rule’ of the British colonial administration. The continuities with post-colonial Pakistani bureaucracy have frequently been noted. However, in recent years, parts of Pakistani bureaucracy have been prodded by international development assistance to reorganise on the lines of market efficiency, intermeshing the private corporate sector and ‘civil society’ with traditional bureaucratic proceduralism. This primacy of the market has been argued to have combined with new ideas about the legitimate relationship between state and society, advancing a new vision of the state itself. Elsewhere, bureaucracies have been studied as flexible, affective and humane organisations rather than rational, inflexible, and disenchanted structures. Pakistan is no exception to the moral embeddedness of bureaucracy and the fallacy of the impersonal bureaucratic persona is self-evident in a society where relations of patron-client have been suggested as foundational. This is a call for papers to explore aspects of Pakistani bureaucracy as networks –whether in the Latourian sense as in the Actor-Network Theory, or in a more traditional sociological understanding as forms of association between individuals and groups.
The Pakistan Workshop 2014 invites researchers of Pakistan and the Pakistani diaspora to submit abstracts around this theme. ‘State, society, bureaucracy and networks’, as the theme for 2014 workshop, is only a guide to encourage submissions around this area which has been under represented in the academic discussions on Pakistan. You may submit abstract of your papers even if they do not coincide with this theme but would be of interest to those working on Pakistan. The Pakistan Workshop was originally intended to bring together anthropologists and sociologists working on Pakistan, Pakistani diaspora and Islam in South Asia. However, we regularly receive work from a broad range of concepts and disciplines. This workshop is a forum for younger and more experienced researchers, providing an opportunity for people working in common fields to get acquainted with each other. It is therefore normally kept small and intimate with a group of 25 or less people. The venue, Rook How, is one of the oldest Quaker Meeting Houses in Britain and is an important location in the Quaker world. The Rook How offers dormitory style sleeping arrangements which are comfortable and affordable. For those who prefer B&B accommodation, there are several nice places around the area which can only be accessed if they have their own car. The deadline for abstracts is 28 February 2014. The selected contributors will be requested to pre-circulate their papers to two weeks before the workshop. For further information send an email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organiser for Pakistan Workshop 2014
Department of Anthropology
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
Pritam Singh’s tribute to G S Bhalla who recently passed away. Link to original letter in EPW: http://www.epw.in/letters/prof-g-s-bhalla.html
R Radhakrishna’s tribute to G S Bhalla (EPW, 19 October 2013) has rightly highlighted the contributions of G S Bhalla to agricultural economics and regional development in India. As a former student of his at Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, I want to mention a few of his contributions to radical political culture in Punjab.
It was only a few months of G S Bhalla and Sheila Bhalla’s joining the economics department at PU that we, a group of leftwing students in the university sympathetic to Maoism then, became aware of Bhallas’ silent encouragement to us. We organised a condolence meeting to pay homage to Ho Chi Minh and the only faculty members who joined this meeting were the Bhallas. We soon came to know that Bhalla was sympathetic to the Communist Party of India but not even once did he criticise any left-wing activity we students undertook. There was an unsaid understanding between us that since the left in general was weak in the university, we needed to support each other irrespective of the differences between us. Bhalla followed this non-sectarian approach throughout his life.
The management of PU has, for a very long time, been controlled by right-wing groups supported both by the Congress and the Jan Sangh, and later Bharatiya Janata Party. Three left-wing teachers who took the bold and far-sighted step of challenging this dominance were G S Bhalla, Dharam Vir of the chemical engineering department (a man of remarkable intellect and moral stature who was a lifelong friend of Bhalla and died almost within a month of G S Bhalla’s death) and Gurbaksh Singh Soch of the English department (who died young, about 20 years ago). They built up Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) into an organisation of significance in the governance of PU. Bhalla challenged and defeated a heavy weight pro-Congress faculty member V N Tiwari to the office of president of PUTA. Many left-wing teachers later became presidents of PUTA but the foundation of that left-wing organisational ascendancy was laid by Bhalla and Vir.
G S Bhalla’s contribution to radicalising research orientation in economic studies on Punjab is immense. It would not be an exaggeration to say that almost all the left-leaning economists that Punjab has produced in the last few decades were students of Bhalla in one way or another. He was justifiably proud of this legacy too.
Pritam Singh, Moscow State University
For R Radhakrishna’s tribute in EPW: http://www.epw.in/commentary/g-s-bhalla-tribute.html
Three eminent historians have come out with a book on the Ghadar movement, which was launched 100 years ago and played a defining role in militant activism and opposition to the British rule in India. The book has been written by Prof J S Grewal, Prof Harish K Puri and Prof Indu Banga. It spans 613 pages and is divided across five sections with thirteen contributors in total, including the book’s three editors, two UK scholars (Darshan Tatla and Shalini Sharma), and several others from Panjab, England and North America. Besides the individual chapters, the book also contains over one hundred pages of primary source material (mainly in Gurmukhi), including some extensive excerpts from the original Ghadar newspaper published in San Francisco from 1913 on.
Read further about the Ghadar party and book launch in The Times of India: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-08-18/india/41421999_1_baba-sohan-singh-bhakna-ghadarites-ghadar-movement
WIN “*The Punjab Trilogy” on DVD
Kitte Mil Ve Mahi / Where The Twain Shall Meet
Rabba Hun Ke Kariye /Thus Departed Our Neighbours
Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te / Let’s Meet At Baba Ratan’s Fair
We are giving away one complete set of The Punjab Trilogy, documentary films by Ajay Bhardwaj.
To enter the competition just answer this question:
Who passes the message that Ranjha has arrived disguised as a Jogi to the Khaira’s village to Heer?
Email your answer to email@example.com
With your full Name & Address
Add “competition” in subject header box
Deadline for entries: Sunday 24th November 2013
at 12 midnight (GMT)
The winner will be chosen at random from a draw of correct answers and will be announced on our Facebook page in the 1st week of December and all decisions are final.
One entry per person & we welcome entries worldwide.
*to find out more about the films visit www.frankbrazil.org
Photo: COMPETITION WIN “*The Punjab Trilogy” on DVD Kitte Mil Ve Mahi / Where The Twain Shall Meet Rabba Hun Ke Kariye /Thus Departed Our Neighbours Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te / Let’s Meet At Baba Ratan’s Fair We are giving away one complete set of The Punjab Trilogy, documentary films by Ajay Bhardwaj. To enter the competition just answer this question: Who passes the message that Ranjha has arrived disguised as a Jogi to the Khaira’s village to Heer? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org With your full Name & Address Add “competition” in subject header box Deadline for entries: Sunday 24th November 2013 at 12 midnight (GMT) The winner will be chosen at random from a draw of correct answers and will be announced on our Facebook page in the 1st week of December and all decisions are final. One entry per person & we welcome entries worldwide. Good luck! Tajender Sagoo, Director/curator at Frank Brazil. *to find out more about the films visit www.frankbrazil.org
For many students and teachers of religious education the name of Dr Owen Cole, who died on Saturday 26 October, immediately signals the study of Sikhism. Owen Cole, a historian by training, from a non-conformist Christian family, was a distinguished, pioneering religious educationist. From his friendships with people of different faiths grew a staunch commitment to the transformation of religious education from instruction primarily in the Christian faith to a subject that would develop an understanding and appreciation of world faiths. Sikhs became part of Owen Cole’s life when he moved to Leeds for a lectureship in 1968. In 1969 Owen and other educationists founded the influential Shap Working Party on World Religions in Education. His commitment to multi-faith religious education and his close friendship with Piara Singh Sambhi led to many single-authored and joint publications for schools on the Sikh tradition, as well as substantial works including The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices and Sikhism and Christianity A Comparative Study. Owen Cole firmly described himself as a ‘populariser rather than a scholar’, yet his role in furthering an informed understanding of Sikh tradition is incalculable. For many years he co-edited the annual Sikh Bulletin. Archbishop Runcie appointed Owen Cole as his interfaith consultant. Owen also ensured that a rendering (by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh) of passages of the Guru Granth Sahib was included in the Sacred Literature Trust Series. The teaching of the Sikh Gurus provided an inspiration for Owen Cole’s lifelong commitment to truth and justice.
By Professor Eleanor Nesbitt, University of Warwick
The meeting was very kindly hosted by Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge and Tahir Kamran.
Chris Moffat, Placing Bhagat Singh
This paper raises some questions around the political life of monuments and the spectral potentiality of the past in contemporary India and Pakistan. It is an attempt to square the resonant and often ideologically-promiscuous meaning of the revolutionary martyr Bhagat Singh (1907-1931) with the seemingly insatiable compulsion among individuals and groups to ‘ground’ his ghost in space and place, to offer tribute to this iconic figure through memorial site and toponym, statue and museum. Interrogating this desire, I will consider the breathless calls for bigger museums, more statues, newly-named buildings and worthy events, caught, however they may be, in the uncertain space between genuine sentiment and populist politicking. Such calls are matched in volume by critiques of those memorials that already exist, lamenting their shortcomings or corruption. It is the elusiveness of consensus and the impossibility of ‘full’ recognition that interests me here: Bhagat Singh appears to exceed these place-making efforts in the same way he exceeds the language of nationalism. There is a challenge, perhaps, in monumentalizing a political death that was not in any clear sense foundational, that submits to no easy lineage, that was embraced by the revolutionary himself as a means to incite, to propel action: the infinite demand of rebellion standing against the comfortable finitude of statues. This tension becomes clear in the scene of a crowd shouting Bhagat Singh Zindabad, ‘Long Live Bhagat Singh’, before a memorial– as if to conjure his return, to offer him life, denying his entombment in bronze. This is not mourning nor genuflection but a call that affirms ongoing responsibility. Moving from New Delhi to Chandigarh, Jalandhar to Khatkar Kalan, Hussainiwala to Lahore, I will also consider those who resist monumentalization; who seek to fight alongside the ghost in a battle they see as ongoing, not yet ‘past’. Monuments, here, make way for street theatre groups and new pedagogical initiatives, activating different relationships to space and place. Through these preliminary reflections I hope to open a discussion on the work of the spectre, the problem of memory, and the public life of history in contemporary Punjab.
Priya Atwal, Politics Behind the Purdah: Maharani Jind Kaur and Anglo-Sikh Relations
The Anglo-Sikh Wars of the 1840s were a huge turning point for British imperial power in Asia, as victory over the Sikh kingdom finally allowed the East India Company to control India’s perilous north-western frontier, threatened as it was by Russian and Afghan advances at the time. My paper will introduce the research ideas that I am about to start work on as a DPhil student. The focus of my research is to study Sikh and British colonial narratives on the wars and their origins. The aim of my paper is to demonstrate some of the tensions and conflicts that exist within these narratives, which I intend to highlight by re-examining in particular their portrayal of Maharani Jind Kaur and her political activities during the 1840s and beyond. Central to this analysis will therefore be an attempt to deconstruct the historical split in the Maharani’s image as “saint” or “sinner”, further asking how and why such representations became important political weapons in Anglo-Sikh colonial relations. In addition to this, the paper will make the case for a deeper exploration of how gender politics had a significant impact on shaping events during the 1840s. It will be argued that the manner in which Jindan flouted gender conventions within a male-dominated and militarised society had a strong part to play in destabilising both internal and external political relations for the Lahore kingdom. Such an analysis will attempt to provide fresh insights into the socio-political conditions that characterised and brought on the expansion of British imperial power into the Punjab and up to the northern frontiers of India.
Minoti Chakravarty-Kaul, The Making of New Delhi & Unmaking the Punjab’s Village Community and its Village Commons 1911-2011
Delhi became the southern-most district of the Punjab after the upheaval of 1857 and remained a very important link of the Punjab to the rest of British India till 1911 when it was catapulted on to the national stage by the pronouncement of the King George V and Queen Mary at their Coronation Durbar of 12th December 1911 to shift the captital from Calcutta. Thus the city of Shahjahanabad became Old Delhi. The new Imperial City of New Delhi was centred on Raisina hill enclosing, to begin with the common property resources of more than one hundred and thirty six village communities of the surrounding countryside. Therefore a narrative of what we have almost lost in these last 100 years of New Delhi may be valuable in the context of ecological lessons from the past. In the debris of a century we can still resurrect narratives of survival strategies characteristic of an abiding culture of indigenous ecology – that of sedentary communities who cohered with nomadic cultures of distant deserts to the north west stretching as far back as Afghansitan and with shepherdic transhumance from the foothills of the Siwaliks and upper Himalayas.
Virinder Kalra and Waqas Butt ‘In one hand a pen in the other a gun’: Punjabi language radicalism in Punjab, Pakistan
The relationship between language and politics in South Asia has provided a rich vein for academic analysis as it is tied up with issues related to nationalism and political mobilization. However, much of this analysis has been based on the Indian reorganization of states along linguistic lines or the role of language in the Bangladeshi liberation movement. This article discusses the role of language in the mobilization of the Left in Pakistan, specifically the way in which Punjabi was utilized by the Mazdoor Kisan Party at the theoretical and practical levels, in its mobilizing in the early 1970s. The role that language played in the site of student politics is illustrated through a case study of Sahiwal College. Overall, the role that Punjabi played as a mobilizing tool for the Left in Pakistan demonstrates a practice where culture and politics are inseparable and in this sense the article contributes to the wider debates on language and politics in South Asia.
Kamalroop Singh and Harminder Singh Ragi, ‘Preserving the Northern Indian Musical Heritage Performed in 1970s Britain.’
In the 1970s great musicians from the Panjab visited the UK where they performed and shared their art over three years. The musicians were masters in their art, and they performed the khyal and dhrupad styles of music. Dhrupad literally means ‘fixed words’, and was developed for singing verses that were written in specific rhythms. The newer khyal genre has gained popularity at dhrupad’sexpense, as it places fewer constraints on the singers and allows displays of virtuosity. As a result the dhrupad art form is now becoming rare, especially since many maestros have now passed away. Luckily, some of their live performances were recorded on spool machines, which private collectors have donated to the Panjab Cultural Association. We are currently cataloguing and digitising fifty of the recordings for posterity and we will be presenting the project to date. In our paper we explore how the Sikh music tradition has evolved from dhrupad, to khyal, along with the modern influence of ghazals and Hindi popular music. Finally, we will examine and demonstrate how the introduction of new instruments has led to the original style of Kirtan to become endangered.
The meeting was very kindly hosted by Shinder Thandi and Coventry University.
Malik Hammad Ahmad Lang, Civil Resistance Movements of Pakistan: Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) 1981-84
The research project focuses on political civil resistance in Pakistan covering the period of 1977-88, the martial law regime of General Zia-ul-Haq. The worst martial law in the history of Pakistan changed the political, social, economical and cultural outlook of the country. To resist the dictatorship, democratic forces launched a movement to restore the democracy in the country in 1981 called MRD, which continued periodically until 1988. However, my presentation looks at its first phase covering 1981-84. Political scholarship, largely, blamed Punjab of not taking part effectively in the movement along with Sindh, and made it a reason of its failure. Countering the argument, this study tries to highlight some facts to overruled the blame.
Pippa Virdee, Emergence and Resistance: the dichotomy of women’s space in Pakistan.
This paper is based on work in progress that will explore the transformation of women in Pakistan. In colonial Punjab reformers often took up the cause of women and advocated change that encouraged girl’s education and bringing women out of ‘purdah’ (veil/seclusion). This had limited results until Jinnah embraced the need to encourage women within the Pakistan Movement, which led many elite women to come out in support of it. This period is therefore crucial in understanding the transformation of women in public spaces. Yet by the 1980s (some thirty years later), women form resistance movements against oppressive legislation introduced by Zia. The Women’s Action Forum led the way in opposing this and resisting the curtailment of freedoms. Through visual and oral accounts this paper will attempt to understand the transformation of women in public spaces and the dichotomies of this within their private lives.
Kavita Bhanot, Depicting a dera community in Birmingham: extract from novel in progress
I will be presenting a chapter from my novel-in-progress, a fictional depiction of a dera community that gathers around a guru in Birmingham in the 1980’s. The novel spans ten years and charts, through the lives of first and second generation Punjabi immigrants , the growth of this dera community and the opposition that it faces in its local, national and international context. I recently edited an anthology titled ‘Too Asian, Not Asian Enough,’ which brought together short stories by British Asian writers – stories which go beyond marketable formulaic narratives about inter-generation/culture clash. While one approach is to avoid the predictable subjects or writing about ‘Asians’ at all, my personal intention in my writing is to bring particularity, knowledge, a sense of history and context, into my depiction of Punjabis in Britain. To interrogate the Orientalist gaze that tends to dominate English language South Asian literature, a gaze that “strip(s) specific traditions, rituals, religions and other forms of lived faith…of their context and detail – of history, politics, class and caste.”
Umber Abad, Singular Muslim Identity and trail towards Auqaf; a becoming post-Colonial modern
The politics of Colonial Urban Punjab engendered a unique singular conception of Islam in the first half of twentieth century. The singular Islam, initially strived to open itself for all streams of Muslims within one religious idea, compelled to exclude deviant forms in order to clear the path for the prevalence of its politics. The singular Islam considered deviant any form of Muslim community and the mystical insight that threatened the idea of finality of prophet-hood and the idea of unity of God. The singular Islam, as became the basis of singular Muslim identity and a central point in the politics of Muslim League, in its exclusionary form prevailed further within the political elite of postcolonial state. In order to land in the modern world, the political elite strived to develop a society where the idea of singular Islam attached with high-moral practices could be implemented. However, the political situation eased to control the excluded forms of Islam. The efforts for Islamization soon found ways to control Waqf Properties, largely attached with shrines through an institution, as during 1952-53 to make Auqaf Board in order to curb un-Islamic practices. However till 1958, largely due to the incapacity of the state institution the control could not produce any significant effect. Re-surfacing the appropriating position of singular Islam through interpreting the thoughts of Allama Iqbal, however, military rule found it justified and co-related with its urge of reforming archaic society to take over the excluded religious practices at shrines through Auqaf Administration.
Daniel Haines, Making places national: Local agency in the Punjab borderland, 1952-1955
The India-Pakistan border in Punjab today features highly visible fences and guards. Shortly after Partition, however, many parts of the border were not demarcated, and the authorities on each side had different ideas about where the boundary line lay. Examining two incidents of minor border conflict between 1952 and 1955, the paper sets out a view of a historical moment in which the lack of a clear boundary gave space to the localised agency of minor officials, lower-ranking military and police officers, and even civilian agriculturalists. Rather than being hemmed in by territorial limits that the state’s higher echelons imposed, everyday actors explored the ill-defined borderland between the two countries. On both sides of the border, these actors themselves made de facto boundaries. Drawing on the wealth of political geography literature that informs border studies, as well as historical studies of border politics in post-Partition South Asia, the paper’s case studies examine the relationship between local agency and ideas of national territory in partitioned Punjab. Both case studies illustrate how civilian and petty-official mobility in the borderland forced the provincial authorities on both sides to continually negotiate the spatial dimensions of their authority, based as much on practical coercive power as on the disputed meaning of the Radcliffe Boundary Award. The paper argues that such local actions politicised the parts of the borderland in which they took place. Through the symbolism of land in the mythology of territorial nation-states, and through the hydro-geographical connections between canal headworks on the border and Punjab’s vast irrigation network, these incidents were integral to the definition of borderland spaces as national places. The paper is based on archival work in the Punjab Archives, Lahore, and the National Archives, New Delhi.
Tahir Kamran, Ali Usman Qasmi, Ifitkhar Malik and Yunas Samad, Round table discussion on the 2013 Elections in Pakistan: A Punjab perspective.
The meeting was very kindly hosted and arranged by Meena Dhanda, University of Wolverhampton
Doris Jakobsh, Negotiating Sikh Female Identities Online: Image, Narrative and Text
The ‘marked body’ of the Sikh male has long been the focal point of coming to an understanding of Sikhism at large. When speaking of Sikhism, it is the highly visible Khalsa Sikh male, complete with external signifiers known as the 5Ks (kirpan – dagger, kanga – comb, kes – uncut hair, kacchera – breeches, kara – steel bracelet) and the turban traditionally worn by Sikh males, that have come to characterize the Sikh community, both in the Indian homeland of Punjab and within Sikh diasporic contexts. This paper examines the negotiation of Sikh female identity, in essence the religious particularization of Sikh women, taking place through varied means on the WWW. Through increasing and repeated imaging and iconization on the internet, novel attempts are being made to mobilize, legitimize and historicize Sikh female identity to more closely resemble the Khalsa Sikh male. The paper will address historical antecedents of these online gender constructions. It will also examine notions of authority in terms of Sikh female identity-making and whether these virtual constructs in fact reflect the ‘offline’ realities of Sikh females.
Shazia Ahmad, Categorizing Muslims: Colonial Definitions of ‘Sect’ and ‘Community’
The political economy of the Punjab in the late 19th century shaped how the colonial administration defined religious categories in Islam. Categories of ‘sect’ and ‘minority community’ were interlocking but distinct categories. While ‘sect’ was politically defined by a group’s relationship to traditional forms of religious authority, and thus their relationship to non-Muslim rule, ‘minority community’ was a legal construction defined in the Punjab by the application of personal law. This paper argues that the influence of Henry Maine on agrarian policies, especially in the application of Muslim personal law in urban areas and customary law over agricultural lands, complicated how ‘orthodoxy’ and ‘heterodoxy’ were constructed, leading to the sometimes contradictory identifications based upon locality and belief. This was demonstrated by the complex identity of the Ahmadiyya community, which was defined both by its dissent from ‘Church fathers’ within ethnographic descriptions and by the location of its religious authority within the agrarian Punjab in the law.
Meena Dhanda, Certain Allegiances, Uncertain Identities: the fraught struggles for recognition of Dalits in Britain
This paper foregrounds what dalits in Britain say about their affiliations to the members of their own caste groups as well as about their relations to the so-called ‘upper-castes’. An ambiguity of self-identification as dalits is noted, accompanied by an inner tension often expressed in decisions about whether or not to support the exit options taken by the second and third generation of Punjabi migrants in choosing to marry out of caste. Of significance is the complex positioning of dalits apropos the so called ‘upper-castes’ in the socio-economic sphere in Britain, where some dalits have acquired significant wealth and accompanying status. Considerable energies are spent in checking the spread of fissures caused by intra-organisational politics that regularly threaten the otherwise congealed allegiance of groups to their respective places of worship and congregation. For Ravidassias, Buddhists and the Valmikis, the Jat Sikhs emerge as a common ‘enemy’, highlighting the fact that the upturning of the everyday relations of domination are the key to understanding the position of the dalits in Britain. It is argued that the driving force for reform in the UK is not an intellectually inspired criticism of casteism so much as a repugnance of the way in which Jat Sikhs are seen to assert their superiority.
Parmbir Gill, Pious Rebels: The Religiosity of Ghadar Prose and Practice
My paper aims to investigate the relationship between religion and politics in the writings and activities of the Ghadar Party, a North America-based immigrant organization which sought to overthrow colonial rule in India in the early twentieth century. Though a diverse array of writings on this movement has emerged over the decades following its defeat, extant English-language scholarship has invariably characterized its politics as secular in form and content. Celebrating Ghadar’s secularism as an alternative to the more divisive faith-based mobilizations against British rule operating at the time, this historiography has, I argue, mistakenly assumed an identification of the religious with the communal, and has sacrificed an engagement with the former at the altar of principled opposition to the latter. As a result, the indispensability of religious language to Ghadar’s political project, as well as the rebels’ own transformation of pre-existing notions of religious identity, have both been precluded from serious analysis. I seek to redress this omission by tracing the currents of religiosity which pervade not only the Party’s newspaper and poetry but also the concrete activities of its non-writing mass base. In so doing I hope to open up possibilities for rethinking the historical existence of the Ghadar Party as well as our own attitudes toward the place of religion in political struggle.
Gurinder Singh Mann, British and the Sikhs: The Impact and Legacy of Colonial Dominance in the Punjab
The British came into India under the premise of trade and commerce. Over time their motivations and political ambitions became a dominant factor in establishing themselves as rulers of the country. This paper looks specifically at the institutions of the Panjab and the how the religion of the Sikhs was changed. As a direct consequence the Panjab became subservient to the new colonial powers. The paper looks at the various acts of UK parliament that influenced the lives of those living in Panjab. This includes the relatively unknown Charter Act of 1813 which produced tensions between The East India Company and the Christian missionary movement. Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) consolidated his base as the ruler of the Panjab and became a champion of European innovations. The interactions between Ranjit Singh and the British were a compelling narrative of the Nineteenth Century. With the advent of the Anglo-Sikh wars and the annexation of the Panjab, the British ushered in a new era of expansionism as a result a significant legacy was left on the Panjab. This legacy still influences the Panjab to this day.
Sukhwinder Singh (Prof Sukhpal Singh, Professor, IIM, Ahmedabad, India and Prof Julian Park, School of Agriculture, University of Reading, UK), Sustainability of Agriculture in the Indian Punjab: Indicators and determinants
Punjab has been at the centre stage in India since the green revolution days because of its exceptional performance in agriculture sector. However, the recent developments in agriculture in Punjab are quite concerning. The current cropping pattern using the modern green revolution technologies has started impacting the sustainability of agriculture in Punjab in terms of declining net farm incomes and mining of natural resources, especially soil and water. Subsidy and MSPAP (Minimum Support Price and Assured Purchase) driven policy regime has been encouraging mono-cropping (i.e. wheat and rice cultivation on more than two-third of Punjab’s gross cropped area) for the last four decades resulting into low crop diversity leading to a number of bio-diversity implications for farmers in Punjab. On the other hand, agricultural policy and research have been unsuccessful up to large extent in providing economically viable alternative cropping pattern to farmers in Punjab. Centre and State agricultural research institutions have been continuously facing major human and financial crunch due to squeezing of public expenditure on agriculture. Agricultural sustainability in Punjab is a complex phenomenon. Therefore, it becomes imperative to outline its main indicators and determinants to help understand the current and future implications of agricultural development in Punjab. Based on currently available literature on agricultural development in Punjab and a field survey conducted in 2010, this paper examines the current state of agriculture in Punjab, outlines the main indicators and determinants of agricultural sustainability in Punjab and infers policy suggestions for restoring the lost splendour of agriculture sector in Punjab.
The meeting was kindly hosted by Shinder Thandi, Coventry University.
Eleanor Nesbitt, Ethnography, Religious Education and The Fifth Cup
My paper comments on issues, of concern to religious educators, which emerged from ethnographic studies conducted at the University of Warwick. The research in question focused on UK communities of north Indian background, whose members identified themselves – in some contexts at least – as Sikh or as Hindu. The comments are made in the light of a play, The Fifth Cup, and pertain to how ‘world religions’ are defined and how they are represented in religious education. In particular, with regard to the sensitivity of the issue of caste for pupils of South Asian origin, the article suggests that the training of religious education teachers needs to be informed by both ethnography and historical context and also raises question about curriculum content. I suggest that the ‘interpretive approach’ entails a necessary attentiveness to pupils’ experiences and perceptions, and that some issues may additionally call for expertise in pastoral care and conflict resolution.
Gurbachan Jandu London’s Sikh Youth as British Citizens: Identity Formation through Diversity and Discomfort
In London today, Sikh youth are challenged by the concept of “super-diversity” in the formation of British Sikh identity. To analyse this, ethnographical research was conducted in West London in the summer of 2011. This analysis is contextualised within British citizenship and national identity debates, especially with regards to the history of Sikhs in Britain. The conclusion offered is as follows; London’s Sikh youth, due to increased personal welfare efficacy and acculturation, have developed a heterogeneous identity achieved through an uncomfortable negotiation process with diversity in an urban setting. The product of this process is an increased awareness of British citizenship and national identity compared to previous Sikh generations. This development causes a disjuncture including a possible inter-generational conflict that is set to further increase the lack of coalescence in the British Sikh community. Sikhism in London could now be seen as “Sikhisms” as Sikh youth uncomfortably equilibrate Sikhism and Panjabi culture in England’s pluralised Capital. This work also utilises my own experiences as a Sikh in London.
Manpreet K. Gill and Navtej K. Purewal Girls’ Elementary Education in Transition in Punjab (India): Discrimination, Privatisation and Systemic Decline
Female education is a key indicator of gender equity and disparity. Statistically, progressional educational enrollment patterns and literacy of girls in India at primary level significantly lag behind that of boys. The 2004 World Bank Report Resuming Punjab’s Prosperity: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead criticised access through state education and called for a heightened role for the private sector in education provision in a state known for its paradoxial development patterns of agricultural economic prosperity alongside gender imbalance through masculine sex ratios. This article will chart available data on gender and education in the state of Punjab since the release of this report in tracing some of the immediate effects that this privatisation policy shift has had upon girls access to education. The gendered context of the household unit which informs family decision-making around girls educational opportunities, in this sense, articulates the ways in which private household space interacts with the public space in framing the economic, cultural and structural meanings of girls education, calling for a materialist analysis of gendered outcomes evident within paths towards educational attainment (Delphy 1984; Leonard 1980, 1992). Utilising secondary DISE and Census of India 1991 and 2001 data sources from 2005-6 and 2008-9; the article will highlight a qualitative change in enrolment patterns for girls. While the share of girls has improved considerably at primary stage of education (grades 1-5), it begins to decline as children move to upper primary schools (grades 6-8). The article attempts to assess the possible meanings for this trend and will analyse the data within the backdrop of privatisation policies. In order to do so the article will measure the gender disparities in different types of educational institutions (private and government) within the state of Punjab and across its districts. Enrolment is expressed in percentage or ratio, and there are several indicators representing enrolment, including Gross Enrolment Ratio, Gender Parity Index, and Percentage share of boys/girls.
Muhammad Aurang Zeb Mughal, Cultural Perspectives on Women’s Education in Rural South Punjab, Pakistan
The role of women in the rural agrarian economy of Pakistan is well established. Rural women are involved in farm activities as well as household responsibilities. There have been more sociocultural concerns over women’s education in villages than in the big cities. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of rural women getting formal education due to population growth leading to the lack of cultivable land, and the recognized role of education in socioeconomic spheres of life. Urbanization and electronic media are working as catalysts in the increased literacy rate of women. Although the unemployment rate is also higher for men, rural women have fewer opportunities for educational and professional development due to social constraints on their mobility. This paper tries to explain these constraints within a cultural context ranging from religion to the norms and values. The paper also provides an analysis of changing attitude towards women’s mobility by their families in particular and the community in general, by putting into question the empowerment of women in the new economy, and projecting some possibilities. The primary data for this study is derived from an ethnographic study of Jhokwala Village, Lodhran District, Pakistan as part of the doctoral project in anthropology while some secondary sources have also been used to inform the educational trends.
Tariq Rahman, Urdu as the Language of Education in British India
This article describes how Urdu became a language of schooling and, to a lesser extent, vocational training during British rule in India. The areas focused upon are the present-day Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab. The teaching of Urdu as well as Hindi facilitated the mobilization of the antagonistic Muslim and Hindu communal identities which led eventually to the partition of India. One part of education was the creation of pedagogical literature in Urdu which attempted to supplant the existing textual material which came to be regarded as decadent, erotic or frivolous. The new reformist canonical Urdu prose was reformist and its aim was to create a sober, puritanical, responsible and religious Muslim character imbued with Victorian values.
Public Lecture by Omar Kasmani entitled “The earth is made transparent to me”: Space and Embodiment among Fakirs of Sehwan Sharīf
The AKU-ISMC will be hosting a Public Lecture by Omar Kasmani entitled “The earth is made transparent to me”: Space and Embodiment among Fakirs of Sehwan Sharīf on Monday 4th November 2013. The lecture will be starting at 5:00pm at the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. This promises to be a fascinating session and we hope that you will be able to attend. To register for this event please go to: https://akuismclecture04112013.eventbrite.co.uk.
In Sehwan Sharīf – a pilgrimage town in Sindh, Pakistan and home to the renowned antinomian mystic, Lāl Shahbāz Qalandar (d.1274 CE) – fakirs rely on particular notions of embodiment as well as dreams and visitations to authorize their roles as spiritual guides and charismatic healers. The doing of fakīrī, as research suggests, references at once its material, spatial and imaginative dimensions. In other words, the honing of inward as well as outward dispositions across female, male and khadrā (or hijra) fakirs puts within reach new configurations of gender; enables a network of fakir spaces and communities; and reveals significant historical and imaginative continuities. Straddling fakir self-representations and historical imagination of the place, the talk aims to highlight the ways in which fakir bodies and capacities are contingent to fakir-spaces, and how dialogical realms of dreams and visions flow seamlessly into lived fakīrī space.
Omar Kasmani is an anthropologist, writer and artist. His work, both artistic and academic, lies at the intersection of gender, queer subjectivities and practices of devotion. His research focuses on female, male and khadrā fakirs at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. He is currently based in Berlin where he is a doctoral candidate at the Freie Universität, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies. He holds a MA in Muslim Cultures from Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.
In the summer of 2013, the first ever British Sikh Report was published using both the 2011 national census in England and Wales and an organic survey that attracted over 600 respondents – one of the most significant of its kind. Here a PRG website contributor offers their review as the annualised exercise begins for the next version in 2014. Please click on the link below for the review article.
This post’s author can be contacted on: email@example.com
A couple of new articles on women and partition:
Pippa Virdee, ‘Remembering partition: women, oral histories and the Partition of 1947.’ Oral History, Autumn 2013, Volume 41, No 3, pp. 49-62.
Abstract: This article explores key developments in the way Partition has been represented in the history of India and Pakistan. It more specifically examines how alternative silent voices have been become more visible in the past fifteen years in the historiography of Partition. This shift has been made possible with the use of oral testimonies to document accounts of ordinary people’s experiences of this event in the history of India and Pakistan. The article then goes on to reflect on the author’s experiences of working in South Asia and the use of oral history as a radical and empowering tool in understanding women’s history in Pakistan.
Follow link for details: http://www.oralhistory.org.uk/journal-search.php?parameter=issue&searchkey=86
Pippa Virdee, ‘The Heart Divided: Writing the Human Drama of Partition in India/Pakistan’