Punjab Research Group

PRG Meeting at Coventry University, 30 June 2012

Posted in PRG Meetings by Pippa on October 29, 2013

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

Prof Eleanor Nesbitt

Prof Eleanor Nesbitt

Eleanor Nesbitt, Ethnography, Religious Education and The Fifth Cup

My paper comments on issues, of concern to religious educators, which emerged from ethnographic studies conducted at the University of Warwick.  The research in question focused on UK communities of north Indian background, whose members identified themselves – in some contexts at least – as Sikh or as Hindu. The comments are made in the light of a play, The Fifth Cup, and pertain to how ‘world religions’ are defined and how they are represented in religious education.  In particular, with regard to the sensitivity of the issue of caste for pupils of South Asian origin, the article suggests that the training of religious education teachers needs to be informed by both ethnography and historical context and also raises question about curriculum content. I suggest that the ‘interpretive approach’ entails a necessary attentiveness to pupils’ experiences and perceptions, and that some issues may additionally call for expertise in pastoral care and conflict resolution.


Gurbachan Jandu

Gurbachan Jandu

Gurbachan Jandu London’s Sikh Youth as British Citizens: Identity Formation through Diversity and Discomfort

In London today, Sikh youth are challenged by the concept of “super-diversity” in the formation of British Sikh identity. To analyse this, ethnographical research was conducted in West London in the summer of 2011. This analysis is contextualised within British citizenship and national identity debates, especially with regards to the history of Sikhs in Britain. The conclusion offered is as follows; London’s Sikh youth, due to increased personal welfare efficacy and acculturation, have developed a heterogeneous identity achieved through an uncomfortable negotiation process with diversity in an urban setting. The product of this process is an increased awareness of British citizenship and national identity compared to previous Sikh generations. This development causes a disjuncture including a possible inter-generational conflict that is set to further increase the lack of coalescence in the British Sikh community. Sikhism in London could now be seen as “Sikhisms” as Sikh youth uncomfortably equilibrate Sikhism and Panjabi culture in England’s pluralised Capital. This work also utilises my own experiences as a Sikh in London.


Navtej Purewal

Navtej Purewal

Manpreet K. Gill and Navtej K. Purewal Girls’ Elementary Education in Transition in Punjab (India): Discrimination, Privatisation and Systemic Decline

Female education is a key indicator of gender equity and disparity. Statistically, progressional educational enrollment patterns and literacy of girls in India at primary level significantly lag behind that of boys. The 2004 World Bank Report Resuming Punjab’s Prosperity: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead criticised access through state education and called for a heightened role for the private sector in education provision in a state known for its paradoxial development patterns of agricultural economic prosperity alongside gender imbalance through masculine sex ratios. This article will chart available data on gender and education in the state of Punjab since the release of this report in tracing some of the immediate effects that this privatisation policy shift has had upon girls access to education. The gendered context of the household unit which informs family decision-making around girls educational opportunities, in this sense, articulates the ways in which private household space interacts with the public space in framing the economic, cultural and structural meanings of girls education, calling for a materialist analysis of gendered outcomes evident within paths towards educational attainment (Delphy 1984; Leonard 1980, 1992). Utilising secondary DISE and Census of India 1991 and 2001 data sources from 2005-6 and 2008-9; the article will highlight a qualitative change in enrolment patterns for girls. While the share of girls has improved considerably at primary stage of education (grades 1-5), it begins to decline as children move to upper primary schools (grades 6-8). The article attempts to assess the possible meanings for this trend and will analyse the data within the backdrop of privatisation policies. In order to do so the article will measure the gender disparities in different types of educational institutions (private and government) within the state of Punjab and across its districts. Enrolment is expressed in percentage or ratio, and there are several indicators representing enrolment, including Gross Enrolment Ratio, Gender Parity Index, and Percentage share of boys/girls.

Muhammad Aurang Zeb Mughal

Muhammad Aurang Zeb Mughal

Muhammad Aurang Zeb Mughal, Cultural Perspectives on Women’s Education in Rural South Punjab, Pakistan

The role of women in the rural agrarian economy of Pakistan is well established. Rural women are involved in farm activities as well as household responsibilities. There have been more sociocultural concerns over women’s education in villages than in the big cities. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of rural women getting formal education due to population growth leading to the lack of cultivable land, and the recognized role of education in socioeconomic spheres of life. Urbanization and electronic media are working as catalysts in the increased literacy rate of women. Although the unemployment rate is also higher for men, rural women have fewer opportunities for educational and professional development due to social constraints on their mobility. This paper tries to explain these constraints within a cultural context ranging from religion to the norms and values. The paper also provides an analysis of changing attitude towards women’s mobility by their families in particular and the community in general, by putting into question the empowerment of women in the new economy, and projecting some possibilities. The primary data for this study is derived from an ethnographic study of Jhokwala Village, Lodhran District, Pakistan as part of the doctoral project in anthropology while some secondary sources have also been used to inform the educational trends.


Professor Tariq Rahman

Professor Tariq Rahman

Tariq Rahman, Urdu as the Language of Education in British India

This article describes how Urdu became a language of schooling and, to a lesser extent, vocational training during British rule in India. The areas focused upon are the present-day Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab. The teaching of Urdu as well as Hindi facilitated the mobilization of the antagonistic Muslim and Hindu communal identities which led eventually to the partition of India. One part of education was the creation of pedagogical literature in Urdu which attempted to supplant the existing textual material which came to be regarded as decadent, erotic or frivolous. The new reformist canonical Urdu prose was reformist and its aim was to create a sober, puritanical, responsible and religious Muslim character imbued with Victorian values.










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Review of film Rabba

Posted in Articles, Film, News/Information, Partition by Pippa on November 11, 2008

Here is a review of Rabba..in Frontline. Hope you enjoy it.

ON a balmy afternoon under the monsoon sky in Atalahn village in Punjab’s Ludhiana district, four elderly men sitting under a banyan tree are animatedly discussing Urdu. “A beautiful language, with nuances neither Hindi nor Punjabi can equal,” says one. “It’s our language, forged from Arabic and Punjabi,” says another.

The third one remembers how, when Partition was announced, “all of us in Class III, studying lesson number 14 in Urdu, threw our Qua’ida in the air and said, ‘Urdu ud gaya, Urdu ud gaya’ [Urdu has flown away].” The fourth friend ruminates: “We used to think Urdu belonged to Muslims; nobody knew it was a language.” Sixty years on, the partition of India continues to cast a shadow on the subcontinent, shaping individual destinies and cultural lives in unforeseen ways – constantly provoking new explorations to unravel its many dimensions. How does a society or a generation culturally come to terms with having lived through a moral vacuum at a time of genocidal violence?

The link is:

or PDF: partition-documentary

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