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SIKHOLARS LONDON

SIKH GRADUATE STUDENT CONFERENCE


SATURDAY 18 MAY, 2013
AGENDA
10:00am Opening and Welcome 10:30-12pm Panel 1 Contemporary Thoughts: Gurbachan Jandu Royal Anthropological Institute Sikh Youth as British Citizenry: The New Frontier of the Communitys Identity Leela Priyanka Arshi University College London Discrimination from womb to tomb: the phenomenon of missing women in Punjab and Haryana, North India Jasjit Singh University of Leeds Places of learning? The role of gurdwaras in the religious lives of 18-30 year old British Sikhs 12:00-1:30pm Lunch 1:30-3:00pm Panel 2 Colonial Re/Inter-Actions: Preet Kaur SOAS, University of London Anand Karaj: A socio-legal inquiry into Sikh conceptions of marriage and divorce Parmbir Gill Oxford University A Different Kind of Dissidence: The Ghadar Party, Anticolonial Mobilizing and the Politics of Sikh Religiosity Priya Atwal Oxford University Politics Behind the Purdah: Maharani Jind Kaur and Anglo-Sikh Relations, 1839-1849 3:15-4:45pm Panel 3 Others Near and Far: Harwinder Singh Sikh Education Council The Assassination of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale Saleem Khan London Metropolitan University Portrayals of Sikh-Muslim Relations Upjeet Sidhu University College of London Conflicting Narratives: Sikh Genocide of 1984 in India 4:45-5:00pm Conclusion

CONTEMPORARY THOUGHTS
Sikh Youth as British Citizenry: The New Frontier of the Communitys Identity
GURBACHAN JANDU
In 1967 G.S. Aurora published research on first generation Sikh migrants in London, describing them as Frontiersmen in light of the three societal challenges they faced. Over five decades later, Britains Sikhs have overcome employment and housing but cultural distance niggles on in the formation of British Sikh identity. Whilst Sikhs are now prosperous, they retain elements of settled strangers this stops them being considered citizens socially. However, this is not the case with the current Sikh youths identity. This research considers how the utilisation of national identity politics helps Sikh children make sense of their lives. Is national identity the new frontier?

Discrimination from womb to tomb: the phenomenon of missing women in Punjab and Haryana, North India
LEELA PRIYANKA ARSHI
This paper explores the concept of missing women in relation to the North Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, focusing on the concepts of son-preference and daughter-discrimination. This paper finds that discrimination against females is present at every stage of their life, but is most profound before and at birth. Discrimination against females and a preference for males has persisted in society despite socio-economic developments, pointing to a gender bias that is entrenched in the patrilineal kinship system dominant in these two states. Despite policy implementation, discrimination against females continues to be rife and does not look set to change in the near future unless societal attitudes regarding females change.

Places of learning? The role of gurdwaras in the religious lives of 18-30 year old British Sikhs
JASJIT SINGH
Using data gathered as part of a wider study of the religious lives of 18-30 year old British Sikhs, this paper will focus on the role of gurdwaras as arenas of religious transmission. Although gurdwaras have been described as the Sikhs principal religious institutions, acting as the foundations of community building and providing forums for collective worship by the sangat (Singh and Tatla 2006: 69) few studies have examined the role they play in the religious lives of young Sikhs. Having examined the history and geography of gurdwara development in the UK, I will discuss the different types of gurdwara that currently exist and how the type of gurdwara influences the religious transmission services provided to young Sikhs.

COLONIAL RE/INTER-ACTIONS
Anand Karaj: A socio-legal inquiry into Sikh conceptions of marriage and divorce
PREET KAUR
What can a philosophical examination of Sikh marriage tell us about the social practice of divorce? Though separation and divorce customarily exist, there is a dearth of literature that examines the philosophical conception of Sikh marriage. Such an understanding is intrinsic in order to understand the status and legitimacy of divorce. The proposed paper presents the authors current research into the Sikh conception of marriage examining religious philosophy and worldview alongside legal developments in British colonial history. Attempting to understand the Sikh conception of marriage by way of comparing and contrasting it with Hindu and Muslim conceptions, the author presents a socio-legal analysis of Sikh marriage in order to understand marriage as a sacrament, contract, or otherwise. Firstly, the author will present her current research on the marriage ceremony known as anand karaj, delineating the history uncovered around this ceremony and how it has evolved over time. Specifically, the author will examine primary documentation by British colonial administrators during the passing of the Anand Marriage Act. Secondly, the author will explore the legal implications of a religious Sikh marriage, examining Sikhs historical role of relations with state law in Punjab and the Indian subcontinent, and then examine if the anand karaj represents marriage as a contract, sacrament, or otherwise. Lastly, the author will present her analysis of how the increasing importance of divorce in Sikh communities can be understood in relation to the conception of Sikh marriage.

OTHERS NEAR AND FAR


The assassination of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale
HARWINDER SINGH
Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale is a personality who divides opinion amongst Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike today. There are those who staunchly defend him from every perceived attack and insult, just as there are those who question his motives as a Sikh leader and in particular his time in Amritsar prior to the 1984 attack led by the Indian Army. However, less than 30 years after his death, the polerisation of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale has prevented the true nature of his assassination to be analysed and presented. In this paper, I intend to review the events that led to his residency in Amritsar, analyse the reasons why he was targeted as a militant by the Govt, and discuss how he has been re-assassinated in the time since and by whom.

Portrayals of Sikh-Muslim Relations


SALEEM KHAN
Relations between Sikhs and Muslims is depicted as being usually historically hostile. The relations between Sikhs and Muslims is of a very complicated nature. The Punjab had been under various Turko-Afghans since the demise of Rajputs as a major force in the region. Sikh political ascendency replaced Afghan rule over Punjab, the Sikh empire also took a part of the Afghan kingdom which finally become the NWFP of Pakistan. The Mughals, Afghans and Punjab Muslims had complex relations with the Sikhs as well as with each other. Some see Sikh-Muslim relations as religious conflicts while for others it is a regional-imperial power struggle with socio-economic aspects. This paper explores how a shared history is seen by both Sikhs and Muslims.

A Different Kind of Dissidence: The Ghadar Party, Anticolonial Mobilizing and the Politics of Sikh Religiosity
PARMBIR GILL
In this paper I investigate the relationship effected between religion and politics by the Ghadar Party of 1913. First, I outline prevailing secularist interpretations of the organization and critique some of their central claims and assumptions. Next, I illustrate how the Party transposed fragments of Sikh history to the struggle against British colonialism through its written propaganda. I then draw on Karl Marxs analysis of practice in the Paris Commune of 1871 in order to theorize the involvement of elements of the Sikh community in Ghadars mobilization. Through its prose and practice, I argue that the organization implicated Sikhi as both a force and a stake in anticolonial combat, and therein infused religiosity with emancipatory politics in a potently novel fashion, which remains difficult to comprehend in the present.

Conflicting Narratives: Sikh Genocide of 1984 in India


UPJEET SIDHU
Operation Bluestar served as a fatal attack on Sikh sentiments as it involved the army entering into the Sikhs holiest place of worship- Sri Harmandir Sahib. After an event that occurs on such a large scale; it is vital to be able to get as close to the truth as possible; in hope of bringing closure to victims. Twenty Nine years later, there still remains a stark contrast in accounts of Operation Bluestar. The government firmly uphold that it was a necessary government intervention to rid the place of worship of terrorists; whilst victims and others who have studied the event find firm evidence to believe it was an attack on the Sikh faith. Such opposing viewpoints need to be addressed in hope of giving justice to the scale of the event.

Politics Behind the Purdah: Maharani Jind Kaur and Anglo-Sikh Relations, 1839 1849
PRIYA ATWAL
The Anglo-Sikh Wars were a huge turning point for British imperial power. Victory over the Sikh Empire finally allowed the East India Company to control Indias perilous northwestern frontier. My paper will challenge existing assumptions about the causes of the events that led to war in the 1840s by re-examining the political career of Maharani Jind Kaur. I will argue that gender played a significant part due to the enhanced destabilisation brought about when a young woman suddenly took the throne in a male-dominated and militarised kingdom. Central to this analysis will be a deconstruction of the historical split in the Maharanis image as saint or sinner, asking how and why such representations became important political weapons.

SPECIAL THANKS
Prakash Shah (Director, GLOCUL: Centre for Culture and Law) Opinderjit Kaur Takhar (University of Wolverhampton) Preet Kaur Virdi National Sikh Youth Federatio (NSYF) Paarus

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