Punjab Research Group

State Formation and the Establishment of Non-Muslim Hegemony Post-Mughal 19th-century Punjab by Rishi Singh

Posted in New Publications by Pippa on March 27, 2015

rishi singhState Formation and the Establishment of Non-Muslim Hegemony Post-Mughal 19th-century Punjab by Rishi Singh

This book explores one of the most crucial factors leading to the non-Islamic paradigm in the political and social fabric of Punjab—the emergence of a Sikh ‘space’ from the time of advent of the gurus.

It examines the Punjab state under Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his rightful domination over the majority Muslim subjects.

The conversion of Punjabis both from Hindu and Muslim backgrounds to Sikhism began to create problems for the Muslim elites in Punjab, even though Muslim and Sikh leaderships engaged with each other. The book traces how Ranjit Singh derived legitimacy from Muslim subjects in five crucial areas of governance: religion, justice, army, agrarian policy and the formation of new Muslim elites.

New Publication on Sikh Studies: Diaspora: A Journal for Transnational Studies

Posted in Academic Journals, Diaspora, Migration, New Publications, News/Information, sikhs by gsjandu on April 9, 2014

Michael Nijhawan has alerted us of a new edition of the above journal that contains three papers on the Sikh diapora. One of which is as per this link:



The author can be reached on:

Michael Nijhawan
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology, York University
4700 Keele St, Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3
Phone: 416-736-2100 xt.77994
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Caste in Britain: New Reports from The Equality and Human Rights Commission

Posted in New Publications, News/Information by gsjandu on March 14, 2014

Please see a link below to new publications with regards to the April 2013 enactment of the Statutory Prohibition of Caste Discrimination into British Equality Law.


The report has kindly been sent to us by Meena Dhanda who has worked on the report and can be contacted on M.Dhanda@wlv.ac.uk.

For information on postings you can contact:


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Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten by Rajmohan Gandhi

Posted in New Publications, News/Information, Partition by Pippa on February 17, 2014

Fakir S. Aijazuddin, THE RESOURCEFUL FAKIRS – Three Muslim brothers at the Sikh Court of Lahore

Posted in New Publications by Pippa on January 21, 2014

the resourceful fakirsTHE RESOURCEFUL FAKIRS – Three Muslim brothers at the Sikh Court of Lahore. The Foreword has been provided by William Dalrymple.

Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Punjab was welded for the first and only time in its tumultuous history into a unified kingdom. The Resourceful Fakirs traces the history of this colourful period in an original and intriguing way—through the careers of three Muslim brothers who were courtiers at the Sikh Darbar of Lahore.

Fakir Azizuddin served as the Maharaja’s indispensable spokesman and trusted negotiator in all the dealings he had with the neighbours surrounding his expanding kingdom, including the increasingly powerful British. It was a tribute to Azizuddin’s skill that throughout the 30 years of their association, he enjoyed the unalloyed confidence of the canny Maharaja. Fakir Imamuddin held the keys to Govindgarh Fort (near Amritsar) where the fabled Sikh treasury and armoury were located. Their youngest brother Fakir Nuruddin occupied a position of prominence at the court and, after Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839, acted as a member of the Regency Council during the minority of the young Maharaja Duleep Singh.

Portraits, engravings, maps, and period photographs visually enhance the text of this historically reliable and eminently readable narrative.

*  *  *  *

William Dalrymple in his Foreword writes:

The Resourceful Fakirs is a fascinating, original and long overdue study of these three intriguing characters, written by their direct descendant, Fakir Aijazuddin. The Sikh Khalsa as a whole is a much underwritten subject. Although Pakistan has very similar boundaries to the Kingdom of Ranjit Singh, the Sikhs have attracted the attention of far too few Pakistani historians; while Sikh historians have rarely been able to access the voluminous records of Ranjit’s Singh’s court, held in the heart of the Punjab Civil Administration in the Punjab State Archives in Anarkali’s Tomb in central Lahore. Many of the documents used to Aijazuddin to write this book have never been published before, and this book is a substantial contribution to the subject. In addition to creating memorable pen portraits of the three brothers, he gives one of the best sketches in print of life at the heart of Ranjit Singh’s inner circle.

To date, Aijazuddin has been known mainly as one of Pakistan’s most eminent art historians. With this volume he has now become, in addition, one of Pakistan’s most interesting historians and biographers. The Resourceful Fakirs is a remarkable achievement.

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Available from:


ABG BhavanM3,

Connaught Circus

New Delhi 110 001


The Ghadar Movement by Grewal, Puri and Banga

Posted in New Publications by Pippa on November 5, 2013

Threghadare 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

Women and Partition by Pippa Virdee

Posted in Articles, New Publications, Partition by Pippa on October 9, 2013

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’


‘In one hand a pen in the other a gun’: Punjabi language radicalism in Punjab, Pakistan by Kalra & Butt

Posted in Articles, New Publications by Pippa on September 18, 2013

‘In one hand a pen in the other a gun’: Punjabi language radicalism in Punjab, Pakistan by Virinder S. Kalra & Waqas M. Butt

Published in South Asian History and Culture, 2013


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.

Full article: Punjabi Language Radicalism

Pool of Life: The Autobiography of a Punjabi Agony Aunt by Kailash Puri

Posted in New Publications by Pippa on August 12, 2013

Pur PoolOfLifePool of Life

The Autobiography of a Punjabi Agony Aunt

Kailash Puri and Eleanor Nesbitt

Eleanor Nesbitt’s introduction contextualises the life of Kailash Puri, Punjabi author and agony aunt, providing the story of the book itself and connecting the narrative to the history of the Punjabi diaspora and themes in Sikh Studies. She suggests that representation of the stereotypical South Asian woman as victim needs to give way to a nuanced recognition of agency, multiple voices and a differentiated experience.

… The narrative presents sixty years of Kailash’s life. Her memories of childhood in West Punjab evoke rural customs and religious practices consistent with recent scholarship on ‘Punjabi religion’ rather than with the currently dominant Sikh discourse of a religion sharply distinguished from Hindu society. Her marriage, as a shy 15-year-old, with no knowledge of English, to a scientist, Gopal Puri, brought ever-widening horizons as husband and wife moved from India to London, and later to West Africa, before returning to the UK in 1966. This life experience, and Gopal’s constant encouragement, brought confidence to write and publish numerous stories and articles.

… Kailash writes of the contrasting experiences of life as an Indian in the UK of the 1940s and the 1960s. She points up differences between her own outlook and the life-world of the post-war community of Sikhs from East Punjab now living in the West. In their distress and dilemmas many people consulted Kailash for assistance, and the descriptive narrative of her responses and advice and increasingly public profile provides insight into Sikhs’ experience in their adopted country. In later years, as grandparents and established citizens of Liverpool, Kailash and Gopal revisited their ancestral home, now in Pakistan – a reflective and moving experience. The book includes a glossary of Punjabi words and suggestions for further reading.

Further details: http://www.sussex-academic.com/sa/titles/biography/PurlNesbitt.htm

Raziuddin Aquil and Kaushik Roy, eds, Warfare, Religion, and Society in Indian History (New Delhi: Manohar, 2012)

Posted in New Publications by Pippa on March 7, 2012

Raziuddin Aquil and Kaushik Roy, eds, Warfare, Religion, and Society in Indian History (New Delhi: Manohar, 2012); pp. 341. Price: Rs 995. ISBN 978-81-7304-958-3.

About the Book:

This volume includes essays on a wide range of themes, marked by various distinct approaches to the study of connections between religion and warfare in Indian history from earliest times to the present. Such a collection could possibly cause some consternations, even as the editors began with the basic premise that some of the critical questions be discussed as freely as possible, despite constraints of ideological barriers limiting the fields of inquiry.

Written by a mix of veterans as well as early career scholars, the essays will provoke some debate on what all could possibly be undertaken as legitimate historical exercise and whether it is impossible to write a professional and non-partisan history of such politically sensitive issues as the entanglement of religion and warfare in Indian history and society.

List of Contributors

1. Breaking the Thigh and the Warrior Code

Torkel Brekke

2. Dispatching Kafirs to Hell?: The Languages of Warfare, Politics and Religion in the Delhi Sultanate

Raziuddin Aquil

3. India’s Military Revolution: The View from the Early-Sixteenth-Century Deccan

Richard M. Eaton

4. Rethinking Early Mughal Warfare: Babur’s Pitched Battles, 1499-1529

Pratyay Nath

5. Territories, Wars, Nation: Chronicling Ahom-Mughal Confrontation

Arupjyoti Saikia

6. Responses to Religion and Politics: Riti-kal Poetry, c. 1550-1850

Sandhya Sharma

7. Indian Subaltern Autobiographies: Two Asian Officers in the Eighteenth-Century Bengal Army

Michael H. Fisher

8. Strategies under Stress: Army Management and Environment in Late Pre-Colonial Bahawalpur

Richard B. Barnett

9. Science and Secularization of Warfare: Transition in Siege Warfare in South Asia from Medieval to Modern Times

Kaushik Roy

10. ‘The Nation Within’: British India at War, 1939-1947

C.A. Bayly

Dalit Pachan, Mukti Atey Shaktikaran (Dalit Identity, Emancipation and Empowerment) by Ronki Ram

Posted in New Publications by Pippa on March 1, 2012

Ronki Ram’s second book on Dalit Pachan, Mukti Atey Shaktikaran (Dalit Identity, Emancipation and Empowerment) in Punjabi is released on February 1, 2012 at the International Punjabi Development Conference (February 1-3, 2012), organized by Punjabi University, Patiala (India). This book is a detailed account of Dalit identity as it emerged in the border state of Punjab in North-West India where concentration of Dalit population is highest in the country. The central thesis of the book revolves around the critical processes of the emergence of Dalit identity and the ways it facilitates Dalit emancipation and empowerment since the beginning of the Dalit movement (Ad Dharm) in the state in the second half of 1920s. The book also provides an in-depth account of the role of the philosophy and teachings of Guru Ravidass, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Shaheed Bhagat Singh in the rise of Dalit consciousness in Punjab. How the complex process of Dalit identity has been represented in the grass-roots Dalit poetry is another interesting aspect of this book, which lays special emphasis on the importance of doing research in Punjabi for the better understanding of Dalit question in Punjab. The book is based on ethnographic study done during the last two decades in the villages of East Punjab.

The book is published by the Publication Bureau, Punjabi University, Patiala (India).

Horrors of Partition, by A.G. Noorani

Posted in Book reviews, New Publications, Partition by Pippa on March 1, 2012

Frontline Vol 29 – Issue 4

Book review of The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed by Ishtiaq Ahmed; Partition Observed edited by Lionel Carter and Partition and Locality by Illyas Chattha.

In addition to the loss of human lives and property, the near-fatal blows on cultures mark Partition’s distinctively hideous features.

THE partition of the subcontinent of India deserves to rank as one of the 10 great tragedies in recorded human history. That is saying a lot. It is not only the loss of human lives and property but the near-fatal blows on cultures that mark its distinctively hideous features. Urdu and the composite Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb (culture) suffered grievously. People were uprooted, leaving an impoverished culture behind them. Of all the provinces, Punjab suffered the most. The massacre that preceded and followed its partition, along with that of India, was predictable and was predicted.

“Pakistan would mean a massacre,” the Premier of Punjab Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan predicted to the distinguished civilian Penderel Moon as early as in October 1938 ( Divide and Quit, page 20). That was well before the Muslim League adopted the Pakistan resolution on March 23, 1940, in Lahore, radically altering Sir Sikandar’s draft just 24 hours before it was passed. He repudiated it because it dropped the organic link between the two parts of India, which he had provided. He told the Punjab Legislative Assembly, on March 11, 1941, “We do not ask for freedom that there may be Muslim Raj here and Hindu Raj elsewhere. If that is what Pakistan means I will have nothing to do with it.”

Read full review:


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