Punjab Research Group

Obituary: Roger Ballard passes away

Posted in News/Information by rsmaan on October 3, 2020
Roger Ballard

For those interested in South Asian, diaspora, human rights, anti-racism and Punjab studies, it is a sad news (learnt only a few hours ago) to share that Roger Ballard, an anthropologist, died two days ago. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s for the last few years. Roger gave a keynote address at the first international conference on Punjabi Identity I had convened on behalf of the Association of Punjab Studies (UK) in 1994 at Coventry University. The development of his address into a paper was published as the opening article in the book Punjabi Identity in a Global Context (OUP, 1999, Second Reprint 2015) I co-edited with Shinder Thandi. That paper ‘Panth, Kismet, Dharm te Qaum: Continuity and Change in Four Dimensions of Punjabi Religion’ remains a seminal paper in the field of religious/Punjab Studies. Roger also spoke at the launch of the book at the British parliament (House of Commons). He was an active participant in the development of the Punjab Research Group in its initial years in the 1980s and 1990s. His book Desh Pardesh: The South Asian Presence in Britain remains a seminal work in the field. He was a very friendly and caring person too. When I was editing the Punjabi Identity book, he wrote to me along with sending the final version of his article: don’t work too hard, do take some rest during the Christmas break. I pay tribute to his many dimensional contributions and will share, if I get, more information about funeral/memorial meeting. We would certainly think of honoring and remembering him at the Punjab Research Group.

Prof. Pritam Singh (Wolfson College, University of Oxford)
Director Punjab Research Group

The Sikh Next Door – An identity in Transition by Manpreet J Singh

Posted in News/Information, Research by rsmaan on October 3, 2020

The Sikh Next Door – An identity in Transition by Manpreet J Singh was published by Bloomsbury, India (Academic) last month. 

It traces the community’s transition into its heterogeneous, mutating, urban identities within India and outside. In doing so it moves out of the agricultural and martial tropes and analyzes Sikhs in their real -life contexts in urban lives. It brings into frame the trader/professional classes, those changed through interaction with other cultures, the Dalit Sikhs, to see how the changing contexts are re-shaping the community dynamics. It also creates a focus on Sikh women to trace their growth into contemporary urban structures.

The work also analyzes how others respond to the community, particularly in urban spheres. It discusses tropes of otherness reflected in humour, cinematic representations and social attribution in normal times, and violent responses like that of 1984 in India in times of crises. The book rounds off with a broad analysis of how the current generation of Sikhs is engaging with their religious and social identities.

Available from:
https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-sikh-next-door-9789389165579/

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