Punjab Research Group

Special Issue of South Asian Diaspora: Imagining Punjab and the Punjabi Diaspora

Posted in Academic Journals, Articles, Migration, Poetry and Literature by Pippa on July 30, 2014

South Asian Diaspora Volume 6, Issue 2, 2014




Imagining Punjab and the Punjabi diaspora: after more than a century of Punjabi migration

Anjali Gera Roy


  • ‘The heart, stomach and backbone of Pakistan’: Lahore in novels by Bapsi Sidhwa and Mohsin Hamid Claire Chambers
  • Culture shock on Southall Broadway: re-thinking ‘second-generation’ return through ‘geographies of Punjabiness’ Kaveri Qureshi
  • Punjabiyat and the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Virinder S. Kalra
  • Tracing Sufi influence in the works of contemporary Siraiki Poet, Riffat Abbas Nukhbah Taj Langah
  • Exiled in its own land: Diasporification of Punjabi in Punjab Abbas Zaidi
  • (Dis)honourable paradigms: a critical reading of Provoked, Shame and Daughters of Shame Shweta Kushal & Evangeline Manickam

Pilgrimage of a writer by Jasmine Singh

Posted in Book reviews by Pippa on November 7, 2009

pilgrimage paradiseEvery journey has a purpose, which gives a perspective to life. Also, the journey that we embark never ends, even after we are gone from the face of earth. The soul remains, and takes on a yet another journey. Writer Kamla Kapur (born Kamaljit Kaur Kapur) is also on a pilgrimage to discover the deeper meaning of life. She tries to get there with Pilgrimage To Paradise, Sufi Tales from Rumi, released at a function organised by Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi on Saturday.

On a spiritual journey of submission, surrendering herself, falling in love with ‘Rumi’ was natural for Kamla. “I heard Rumi’s name while I was growing up,” says the winner of two national awards in 1977. “The moment came, when I moved into my husband, Payson Steven’s house shortly before our marriage. There, I saw three volumes of the Mathnawi in his library.

Read further: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090927/ttlife1.htm


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Kitte Mil Ve Mahi

Posted in Film, Poetry and Literature by Pippa on September 6, 2009
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PRG Meeting 27 June 2009, Coventry University

Posted in PRG Meetings by Pippa on June 2, 2009

The meeting was very kindly hosted by Shinder Thandi, Coventry University.

Speakers included:

Tahir Mahmood and Ian Talbot Waqas Butt

Tahir Mahmood, PhD Candidate, Coventry University, ‘Shahpur District: Collaboration and Control during the First World War’

Waqas Butt, Independent Researcher (formerly Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad), ‘People’s rebellion in Punjab in 1857: Focus on Ahmed Khan Kharal in the areas of Ganji Bar and Neli Bar

Saleem Khan Manjit Singh, Shinder Thandi and Steve Taylor

Saleem Khan, PhD Candidate, London Metropolitan University, ‘The Struggle within Pakistani Islam: Shias, Sunnis and Sufis in the Punjab’

Manjit Singh, Professor of Sociology, Panjab University, Chandigarh and Dr. Steve Taylor, Northumbria University, UK, ‘Bonded Labour and Social Exclusion in Punjab, India’

Virinder Kalra, University of Manchester, Update on their research on common spiritual sites and practices in Punjab

Attached is the full programme: PRG programme jun 09

People’s history of the Punjab: Humanism and equality Dr Manzur Ejaz

Posted in Articles by Pippa on April 15, 2009

April 10th, 2009

Islamic extremism is not new in the subcontinent: At one time even the Emperor Akbar, the most liberal among Mughal rulers, was forced to ban alcohol under the pressure of the religious establishment. However, at that time the difference was that an alternative ideology was also evolving, but this is not the case in the political discourse of today. The Pakistani state has successfully created a disconnection from the tradition of an alternative ideology by promoting the religious version of the ruling Muslim elites – most Muslim rulers were conservative Sunnis – and Mullahs.

The alternative ideology in the Punjab started with the Chishtia’s challenge to the establishment through the rebellious poetry of Baba Farid-ud-din Masood Ganj-e-Shakar (1175-1266). Baba Guru Nanak, following this tradition, critiqued the political economy as well as the system of ideas prevailing in both Hindu society and ritualistic Muslim religion. Nanak negated the political system more directly than anyone else had done in the Punjab before him.

Read full article: http://www.wichaar.com/news/319/ARTICLE/13559/2009-04-10.html

The slow demise of a proud nation By Shahan Mufti – GlobalPost

Posted in Articles by Pippa on March 24, 2009

With each act of terrorism, cultural life in Pakistan suffers another deadly blow.

Published: March 23, 2009


LAHORE — Pakistan’s second city, widely considered to be the country’s cultural capital, is undergoing gradual but unsettling change.


For hundreds if not thousands of years a bastion of social and cultural life for not only the region but the world, the city has become a soft target for those who disagree with the Pakistani government and its policies, or with society at large.


Terrorists and militants no longer see a reason to limit their attacks to security forces and government institutions and they now increasingly see value in targets of deep cultural significance.  

Ayeda Naqvi, a writer based in Lahore says she believes such attacks “aren’t just isolated acts of terrorism.”


In November last year, Naqvi was at the “Al-Hamra” open air theater in Lahore to see her favorite mystical Pakistani folk singer perform at the World Performing Arts Festival. The festival which showcased Pakistani artists and others from around the world was attacked with handful of planted bombs on its final night. Such acts of terrorism are “part of a larger effort to wipe the slate of Pakistani culture clean,” Naqvi said.


For full article: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/pakistan/090312/the-slow-demise-proud-nation

People’s history of the Punjab: Caste oppression, conversions and Sufism

Posted in Articles by Pippa on February 10, 2009

By Manzur Ejaz

The enigma of the ruled converting en masse to the religion of the rulers is best depicted by the following joke: in the last days of British rule, after a demonstration in Lahore, a desi garbage handling lady, Laveezan, asked her friend Mary what the demonstration was all about. Mary replied, “They are demanding freedom from us.”

Like Laveezan and Mary, Punjabi Muslims identify themselves with the Islamic rulers of India: being followers of the same religion as the ruling community, they consider themselves a part of it. However, the economic status of lower-caste converts to Islam remained the same throughout the nine centuries of Muslim rule in India. The same holds true for the British period: converts to Christianity didn’t find themselves any better for it.

Conversions to Islam in India have been the subject of furious debate. Hindu fundamentalists assert that the conversions were obtained by force, while many Muslims argue that they were voluntary; that lower-caste Hindus were attracted to Islam by the Sufis of Punjab. The truth probably lies somewhere in between these two extreme views. The controversy however makes the examination of the dynamics which made Muslims a majority in Punjab no less important.

To read the full article: http://www.wichaar.com/news/315/ARTICLE/11994/2009-02-05.html

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How Ajmal Kasab took to radical Islam by Jugnu Mohsin

Posted in Articles, News/Information by Pippa on January 13, 2009

Faridkot of Ajmal ‘Qasai’ (Kasab) fame is a mere ten miles from my ancestral village in tehsil Depalpur, Punjab. Before the 21-year-old went on his killing spree in Mumbai, Faridkot was known only because it is one of many thus named towns and villages celebrating and honouring the great Chishti sufi, Sheikh-al-Islam, Fariduddin Masud Ganj-e-Shakar (1173-1266) known in Pakistan, northern India and as far as Afghanistan and Central Asia, as Baba Farid.


The saint’s followers or murids spread throughout the Punjab and beyond across north India. Everywhere, they named their settlements Faridkot. Now one such Faridkot is on Google Earth as the home of the sole surviving terrorist of India‘s 9/11, as many Indians see it. How this came to pass is a story of countless impoverished Pakistanis who have taken to jihad and radical Islam as a way of claiming an identity and a livelihood in a state that has failed to provide both in sixty years of independence.

This Punjab, where I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, appeared to me peaceful, bucolic, unconcerned with caste or creed and at one with its ancient spirit. But then I was a child of privilege. My father, tracing his lineage to the 16th century Qadiri sufi Daud Bandagi Kirmani, whose Akbar Shahi tomb still dominates the pinnacle of our village, Shergarh, farmed land in the area owned by his family for generations. Immersed in his culture and history, my father took my siblings and me on tours of this ancient part of the Punjab.


For full article: http://in.rediff.com/news/2009/jan/05mumterror-how-ajmal-kasab-took-to-radical-islam.htm


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Rabbi Shergill is one of a kind, says Sufi singer and scholar Madan Gopal Singh

Posted in Articles, Music, News/Information by Pippa on November 17, 2008

For Punjabi music and more importantly contemporary Indian music, eminent Sufi scholar, singer, filmmaker and a university professor Madan Gopal Singh feels Rabbi Shergill is nothing less than a blessing.

“His music is a breakthrough at Pan-Indian and global levels something that not many people have been able to do in contemporary music scene in our country. The Naxalite movement in Punjab gave birth to superb protest music in the region but again it didn’t go out of the state. I was singing Sufi music, doing concerts with Sahmat taking it all over the country but it was all very localised. One could never become the Pan-Indian phenomenon,” feels Singh who has closely watched Rabbi’s growth as an artiste.


To read the full article in The Hindu:



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