Punjab Research Group

cfp: PRG meeting at Wolfson College, Oxford, 25 October 2014

Posted in PRG Meetings by Pippa on September 10, 2014
Momentous events: 1984 and beyond

Punjab Research Group, Saturday 25th October 2014
A one-day workshop at Wolfson College, Oxford

It so happens that several historic anniversaries fall this year, which makes our October session of Punjab Research Group even more pertinent. It is thirty years since Operation Blue Star and the anti-Sikh pogroms. In addition, the outbreak of the First World War and the protracted tragedy of Komagata Maru off the coast of British Columbia, with scores of South Asians stranded aboard, remind us of the momentuous events in Punjab’s history and their on-going impact on the region in particular, and South Asia in general. The PRG’s forthcoming meeting is an opportune platform to discuss the context and aftermath of these events. We would particularly encourage papers discussing less-heard perspectives from women, religious minorities, non-dominant castes and classes, and welcome emerging scholars, independent writers and activists as well as academics. This one-day workshop is being hosted by Wolfson College, Oxford, a college with a strong South Asia research cluster. Please send 200 word abstracts and expressions of interest to Pritam Singh psingh@brookes.ac.uk, Iftikhar Malik i.malik@bathspa.ac.uk and Kaveri Qureshi kaveri.qureshi@anthro.ox.ac.uk by October 4th 2014. 

The Long Walk Home By Manreet Sodhi Someshwar – book review

Posted in Book reviews, Partition by Pippa on August 27, 2009

The Sunday Tribune,  August 23, 2009

Tumultuous history of Punjab by Aradhika Sharma

Some things don’t change Anant, you are the son, Neymat tells her brother as the three siblings (Anant, Neymat and Noor) gather to mourn the death of their father, the protagonist of the story. The Long Walk Home is the journey of Baksh, the man who had lived through the holocaust of Partition. It’s an ambitious panorama that she undertakes to paint but her technique of telling the story of the life of one man and about the life of two nations through his experiences pulls the story through.

Someshwar, as a matter of fact, has taken quite a risk because she not only seeks to portray the troubled pre-Partition and Partition times but also tries to straddle two-time frames, thus integrating history into the modern-day scenario. This could have resulted in rather confusing reading, but Someshwar, with consummate skill, manages to give the book a linearity that makes it seemingly easy. She uses what she calls “the device of layering the intimate with the epic to make history accessible”.

Read full book review: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090823/spectrum/book2.htm

The third Sikh ghallughara: ‘Terror in Punjab’ by Ram Narayan Kumar

Posted in Book reviews, New Publications by Pippa on July 5, 2009

Book review by Pritam Singh

June marks the 25th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, the fancy name given by the Indian state to the military action it took at Amritsar’s Harmandir Sahib, or the Golden Temple, the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, starting on 3 June 1984. A quarter-century on, how do we describe this action, and what meaning do we attach to it? Do we describe it, as the ideologists of the Indian state continue to do, as a holy task undertaken by the Indian military to clear the temple of the militants who had taken control of it? Or do we describe it, as some Indian nationalists and leftists do, as a sad and necessary action to defeat an imperialist conspiracy to disintegrate India? Do we celebrate it, as some Hindu nationalists do, as a successful assertion of India’s Hindu strength against the Sikh minority’s separatist aspirations? Or do we condemn it, as Sikh and Punjabi nationalists do, as a genocidal attack on Sikh dignity, assertion and identity? Perhaps we decry it, as most human-rights defenders and leftists do, as a human tragedy resulting in the deaths of thousands of human beings – pilgrims, priests, Sikh combatants and Indian army men.


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