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.

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ROAD TO MANDALAY – SIKHS IN BURMA by Swarn Singh Kahlon

Posted in Articles, Diaspora, Migration by Pippa on July 30, 2014

Based on Travels of Swarn Singh Kahlon, December, 2011

Article appeared in The Sikh Review, Kolkata, February, 2014 issue.

 

THE ROMANCE OF BURMA

There are two romantic poems about Burma;

ONE by Rudyard Kipling (1889-90),

where he tries to relive on return to London his travels in Burma:

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,

There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;

For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the Temple-bells they say:

“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!”

 

AND THE SECOND

By the exiled Mughal King, Bahadur Shah Zafar who immortalised his death in Burma (1862) through the epitaph he wrote on the wall with a burnt stick:

Kitna hai badnaseeb Zafar, dafan ke liye

do gaz zamin na mili ku e yaar mein”

 

This was also the period when Sikhs started to migrate to Burma; a country now renamed ‘Myanmar’. The Sikh migration to Burma was an important component of global Sikh migration and remained a popular destination for about six decades.

Many Sikhs have their relatives and friends who still talk about the Burma days even if they have returned permanently since long back. A visit was very tempting especially as my wife’s mother was born and grew up in that country. Whenever my mother-in-law and her sisters had some confidences to share they would shift to speaking Burmese even after their return three decades ago.

Read full article: Road to Mandalay

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
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ROAD TO MANDALAY – SIKHS IN BURMA

Posted in Articles, News/Information by Pippa on February 18, 2014

A TALE OF EXEMPLARY LOYALTY TO FAITH

(Based on Travels of Swarn Singh Kahlon, December, 2011)

http://www.sikhglobalvillage.com

(Article appeared in The Sikh Review, Kolkata, February, 2014 issue).

 

THE ROMANCE OF BURMA

There are two romantic poems about Burma;

ONE by Rudyard Kipling (1889-90),

where he tries to relive on return to London his travels in Burma:

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,

There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;

For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the Temple-bells they say:

“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!”

 

AND THE SECOND

By the exiled Mughal King, Bahadur Shah Zafar who immortalised his death in Burma (1862) through the epitaph he wrote on the wall with a burnt stick:

Kitna hai badnaseeb Zafar, dafan ke liye

 do gaz zamin na mili ku e yaar mein”

This was also the period when Sikhs started to migrate to Burma; a country now renamed ‘Myanmar’. The Sikh migration to Burma was an important component of global Sikh migration and remained a popular destination for about six decades.

Many Sikhs have their relatives and friends who still talk about the Burma days even if they have returned permanently since long back. A visit was very tempting especially as my wife’s mother was born and grew up in that country.  Whenever my mother-in-law and her sisters had some confidences to share they would shift to speaking Burmese even after their return three decades ago.

Read full article: Road to Mandalay

PRG Meeting at University of Wolverhampton 3 Nov 2012

Posted in PRG Meetings by Pippa on October 29, 2013

The meeting was very kindly hosted and arranged by Meena Dhanda, University of Wolverhampton

Doris Jakobsh

Doris Jakobsh

 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

Shazia Ahmad

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 with Pritam Singh

Parmbir Gill with Pritam Singh

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

Gurinder Singh Mann

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

Sukhwinder Singh

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.

 

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The Kenya Land & Freedom Depository Project, London

Posted in Events, News/Information by gsjandu on July 19, 2013

Kenyan born artist Tajender Sagoo is inviting artists, activists, journalists, thinkers and citizens to contribute to a depository of experiences, reflecting on life in the British colony of Kenya, especially during the Emergency 1950 – 1960 and the Mau Mau liberation struggle.

The Land & Freedom Depositions project seeks to explore the silences present in the ongoing British narrative of Kenya via the construction of a new visual dialogue. Sagoo aims to create a space for untold stories. The deposition project will become part of an exhibition to be held in London at the end of the year.

“Listening to my father talking about the reality of living and working in British Kenya made me realise how much the British state have hidden from us,” says Sagoo.

All types of *physical or non- physical items and ideas can be deposited in the project. It can be text based, oral or a photograph of an object or a copy of a Kipande (pass card) or a Loyalty certificate. (Other items might be essays, articles, diaries, schoolbooks, adverts, tickets, domestic items, textiles, recipes, songs, poetry etc.) Or you may want to present a talk or event that can be recorded for the depository. *(please do not submit original material).

Deposits submitted to the project will undergo a system of classification where they will be divided into a white, grey or black group, (in reference to the classification system used in the internment camps).

For more information about making a deposition please contact Tajender Sagoo or Saleh Mamon.

Background

In October 1952 the British declared a state of emergency in Kenya to suppress a growing independence movement commonly known as the Mau Mau war of liberation. (Mau Mau was also referred to as the Kenya Land and Freedom Army).

There are many people living today who were in Kenya during the Emergency period, in which the British administration operated a colour bar system, racially segregating the African, South Asian and European communities.

The Kenya Emergency was a brutal campaign of detention without trial characterised by a system of punitive punishments put in place to counter the calls for independence. Communities were interned in camps and underwent a system of “cleansing” called the Pipeline. People were classified into White, Grey or Black groups according to how loyal to the Kenyan State they were. White being the most loyal and Black being ‘Mau Mau’.

Recently, in a case spanning 10 years, three Kenyans Jane Muthoni Mara, 73, Paulo Muoka Nzili, 85 and Wambugu wa Nyingi, 84 took legal action against the UK Government for the torture they suffered at the hands of British officials during the Mau Mau uprising between 1952 and 1960.

In an historic judgment (October 2012), the High Court rejected the British Government’s attempt to strike out the claims of the three Kenyan victims of British Colonial torture on the grounds that the claims were time barred.

In June 2013, the British government announced an out of court settlement with the torture victims. For further info see http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2013/June-2013/Statement-from-Leigh-Day-on-Kenyan-torture-victim

About

Born in Kenya, Tajender Sagoo is an artist/weaver and curator of the Pop Samiti project based in London. Her practice uses textiles in a multi disciplinary approach. She has a strong interest in using pattern and colour to investigates the relationships between objects and the ideas that they express in the historical and modern experience.

Saleh Mamon is co- curator of the Kenya Land & Freedom Depository project. Born in Kenya he is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Goldsmith Centre of Culture Studies. He witnessed the forced removal of Kenyan African men by armed soldiers on open trucks in Nairobi at the age of twelve. He is interested in the ‘hidden’ history of the Third World. In the mainstream discourse the violent process of colonisation and suppression of resistance by armed force remains largely erased. He believes strongly that this production of history needs to be challenged and an alternative explored to reveal the experience of the colonised peoples.

This is an independent project, it is not funded by any organisation or institution.

Contact

If you would like to make a deposition or make an enquiry contact:

Tajender Sagoo (popsamiti@gmail.com ) or Saleh Mamon ( salehmamon@yahoo.co.uk)

Limehouse Town Hall

646 Commercial Road

London E14 7HA

Tel:075 3047 2483

The Sikh Turban: Exploring An Icon Of A Migratory Peoples’ Identity

Posted in Events, Migration, Research, sikhs by gsjandu on May 15, 2013

Research Consultation: Anthropological Collection on Sikh Turbans

The Horniman Museum, London

Kind assistance is requested with researching a collection displaying the dastar as part of Sikhs’ global migration. The collection has three aspirations; to firstly display the pagh’s physical variation as geographically dichotomous and freighting a regionally intrinsic identity trope for instance Makhan Singh as a kalasingha wearing a Kenyan kilemba. Secondly to consider the pagh and its contentious role in Sikh identity within the milieu of other head-coverings e.g. Mitres in Europe during The Middle Ages. Thirdly to reflect on the pagh in Sikh-Britain relationships e.g. Winterhalter’s 1854 portrait of Duleep Singh  or turbaned Sikhs as stock British Armed Forces’ media images. Thoughts on the collection mode and process are especially welcomed. The Horniman Museum Collections can be explored at www.horniman.ac.uk, whilst the researchers can be reached on gorby.jandu@gmail.com and JZetterstrom-Sharp@horniman.ac.uk. The collection is due to gain exhibition in 2014 with displays finalised by end 2013.

SIKHOLARS LONDON. SIKH GRADUATE STUDENT CONFERENCE. CfP

Posted in Conferences by gsjandu on April 30, 2013

The conference will be held at Queen Mary University of London on Saturday, 18th May, 2013. It is sponsored by the GLOCUL: Centre for Culture and Law, School of Law at Queen Mary, University of London and the Jakara Movement.

Proposals for individual papers should be no more than 250 words in length and may be uploaded at the conference website, with a current CV/resume.

Abstracts Submission Deadline:

3rd May, 2013.

Please send all inquiries to info@sikholars.org.

For more information, please visit our website

www.sikholars.org

 

Since 2010, the Sikholars: Sikh Graduate Student Conference has been bringing together advanced graduate students working on a variety of subjects related to the study of Sikhs and Panjab. Pairing community organization with Stanford University’s Center for South Asia, the conference has hosted students from Pakistan to Canada, India to France from over 25 universities. We are excited to bring this venture to London in conjunction with Queen Mary University of London.

We are pleased to announce our call for papers. With topics ranging from Gurmukhi fonts in Unix Coding to sex-selective abortion, from Nihangs in the court of Ranjit Singh to diasporic literature, from the Khalistan movement to the North American bhangra circuit, from Sikh sculpture and architecture to representations of masculinity in Panjabi films, we encourage the widest possible range of those pursuing graduate studies on Sikh and Panjab related topics.

Rababi Kirtan Performances by Bhai Ghulam Mohammed Chand- November 2011

Posted in Events, Music by santhyb on November 3, 2011
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Micro-History: The Evolution of a New Genre by Bhagwan Josh

Posted in Articles by Pippa on April 28, 2009

Presented at the Professor JS Grewal Seminar, 19-21st March, 2009. Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar

 

In their attempts to come to terms with multi-dimensional power relations and the changes that occur within them over time, Societies as well social groups continue to grapple with the following important questions: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? This ‘we’ is pre-eminently a cultural artefact. Many a times these are called questions that concern the identity of a society or a social group. In the process of debates and discussions while answering these questions, societies generate stories or narratives about themselves as well as about others in their immediate or distant environment. Poets and writers of the past and the present, balladeers of the bygone days as well as historians of the modern period, have all fulfilled this deep-seated social need by shaping up suitable and desirable ‘mirrors’ of the past. Creating stories or narratives in the pre-colonial period took the form of various genres.

Read full paper: micro-history-b-josh

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Intern opportunities at United Sikhs – UN-affiliated NGO

Posted in Vacancies by Pippa on April 9, 2009

UNITED SIKHS is a international UN-affiliated NGO undertaking advocacy projects to protect and promote civil and human rights for minorities and underprivileged communities in the USA and globally. Our interns are involved in furthering that goal. We are currently looking for interns in each of the following four areas:

 

Legal Advocacy: Interns will have an opportunity to work with attorneys on a range of significant issues and projects. Although we cannot predict what our needs would be for each term, the duties of an intern will involve hands on work with legal cases, and legal research regarding discrimination, racial profiling, hate crimes, prisoners’ rights, indigent defense, education, free speech and national security.

Media Advocacy: Interns will also be involved with drafting press releases and articles; training for public speaking and interviews; media relations and on occasion, inquiries from the public. Film and design work is also available.

Community Organizing: While UNITED SIKHS advocacy profile includes cases on discrimination and other forms of human rights violations against minorities and underprivileged communities. UNITED SIKHS engages in community organizing around advocacy issues and preventative outreach work for the Sikh Community, hence, interns will have an opportunity to develop and participate in community organizing and awareness programs.

United Nations Coordination: Interns will attend various conferences and meetings at the United Nations, and will have a chance to learn systems at the United Nations. Interns will also be involved with the organization of UNITED SIKHS events at the UN.

 

We are accepting applications to our internship program on a rolling basis, and are accepting applications from interns interested in any of the above areas.

To Apply: Submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to law-usa@unitedsikhs.org

 

For further information: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/jobs/

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Book-signing event for ‘In the Master’s Presence: The Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib’

Posted in Events by Pippa on March 13, 2009

You are cordially invited to join Nidar Singh Nihang and I at our next book-signing event for ‘In the Master’s Presence: The Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib’.In the Master's Presence

 

We will be at Waterstone’s Ealing on Saturday 21st March from 11am to 3pm.

 

Waterstone’s are offering a hefty discount off the retail price for anybody buying a copy on the day.

 

We will be joined by acclaimed photographer Nick Fleming (www.nickfleming.com) and his wife Guru Kaur (www.gurukaur.com) who will be sharing their unique experiences of living among the Akali-Nihang Singhs, preservers of the nomadic Sikh warrior tradition of Punjab

 

The address is:

64 Ealing Broadway Centre

London W5 5JY

Tel: 020 8840 5905

Nearest tube and railway is Ealing Broadway

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