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Conference Nov 15, 2009


Locating Punjabiyat: Language, Literature, and Landscape

Farina Mir

This paper explores modern notions of Punjabiyat as they emerge from late-nineteenth and early-twentieth
century Punjabi qisse, or epic stories/romance, focusing in particular on texts of Hir-Ranjha. Punjabiyat is
multi-faceted, of course, and representations in Hir-Ranjha undoubtedly portray it in all its richness. This paper
concentrates on a single representation or theme, however; it considers how the region—in territorial terms—
emerges both in these texts and through their production and circulation. I argue that the territory that
emerges through through both textual and historical analysis constitutes the cultural contours of colonial
Punjab. I compare this cultural manifestation of the region with the administrative practices of the colonial
state. That is, I compare the region as it emerges from Hir-Ranjha texts with the administrative unit Punjab
Province created by the colonial state.

 the traditions, beliefs, life worlds Punjabis have tenaciously shared irrespective of their religions,
caste, genders

Punjabi language
 Punjabi language was a considerable part of colonial era Punjabi culture
 We’ve looked at the administrative + political history, etc. when looking at Punjabi history.
Farina says what’s missed out on is the Punjabi language itself

Charting the Rise of Punjabi – i.e. where is Punjabi?

∙ David Llelyveld: ‘What we have is a diverse collection of language… used by different people for
different purposes.” (Court, liturgical, etc. Indicators of spoken language of the Punjab region)
∙ Shaikh Farid (1173-1265) – area around Pakpattan
∙ Janamsakhi literature (16th c)
∙ Dabistan – “Jaṭ ṭ kī”
∙ the language of the Sikhs
∙ later colonialists say about Sikh language that it is the ‘corruption of Multani’
∙ Khulasat ut-Tawarikh (1696) – refers to language we can infer is Punjabi

We must:
 account for a number of dialects (even ‘languages’), vs. a unified whole
 note: British linguistic surveys – map spoken languages of Punjab; even invent such languages
in the process

“Why do I speak of Punjabi and not its linguistic parts?” Because Farina’s focus is cultural/literary,
not linguistic/administrative. Participating in a shared culture that overcut this diversity.

Mapping Hī r-Ranjha
 to map out the territorial contours of the Punjabi area (16th-18th c)
a) map: author’s natality is mapped out
b) map: print technology, not necessarily cultural production (early 19 th c production)
c) map: print production
 maps give us an idea of production patterns, therefore Punjabiyat

Mapping of self + community onto text

 name + zā t + natal village
 Dī do + Ranjha + Takht Hazara
 tells us how text is a cultural ambit
 region as a specific locale is charted out here
 not as a political entity but an imagined ensemble of natal places with a religious/cultural

 locations: the narrative is inscribed in sacred geography

 sources of spiritual authority
 author’s own natal place

e.g. first qissa – Damodar, early 17th c.

 rivers are key (mentioned)
 village Jogiyā n

Composers portray the region through its constitution parts:

1. des (country, land)
2. pardes (foreign country or land)
3. watan (homeland)

Affective ties articulated through these terms the relationship between person and place. Place
becomes an important aspect of a person’s identity. Place is central to a sense of self + community.
 Ranjha says to Heer, as an attack, “I left my place for you!”
 Miran Shah Bahawalpuri, Ḍ holā Mirā n Shā h (Multan, 1899): “He went to the homeland
(watan), the land (des) of his beloved, and in the process, became a stranger (pardesi) to his own
land (des).”

Perceptual division between the two that’s social + spatial, simultaneously. Imaginary division
functions as locality division
 Emphasis is on difference of locality, vs. region, in an area (Punjab)

It’s the literal mapping out of a cultural zone.

Farina: What is interesting is that Punjab is mentioned/referred to in each of these traditions, but
specific territories are not mentioned/identified.
Conference Nov 15, 2009


Sanghol and Post-Independence Archaeologies in India

Dan Michon

In the years immediately following the partition of the subcontinent into two separate nation-states, Indian
archaeology, much like the new nation-state itself, began to nurture its own identity. While the methods and
theories of colonial British archaeology—represented most clearly by the work of three former Director Generals
of the Archaeological Survey of India: Alexander Cunningham, Sir John Marshall, and Sir Mortimer Wheeler—
still exacted respect and imitation, Indian archaeologists also began to formulate their own ideas and to pursue
their own agendas. The discovery, excavation, and interpretation of the early historic site of Sanghol bears the
marks of this identity formation, and the subsequent flourishing, of Indian archaeology. Thus, the first half of
this paper traces this story using Sanghol as its lens.

The second half of the paper focuses on one of the key developments in post-Independence Indian archaeology:
the extraordinary effort to locate and excavate numerous ancient sites coupled with a stunning lack of published
excavation reports. That is, the vast majority of the material that has been so meticulously excavated in the last
sixty years remains locked away in the various archaeological depots scattered throughout the subcontinent.
Sanghol is no exception to this pattern. The excavated material from thirteen years of hard work has remained
under analyzed, and the only public significance Sanghol has attained centers on the discovery of the famous
Mathura-style sculptures found on numerous railing pillars and coping stones unearthed in the 1984-85
excavation season. However, fortunately for Punjab Archaeology, this has begun to change as the Department of
Archaeology, Punjab, has opened its archives to me in 2004-5. Thus, the paper ends with a few preliminary
findings and suggestions for further research.

Antiquarianism vs. Archeological Discovery

 antiquities treated as ends in themselves – discovery of objects for monetary value and wonder
 not systematic or scientific, like archeology
 “treasure of the past” --object itself has value; context itself isn’t important
 in colonial India, these two impulses are interchangeable

 Kushana sculptures, sandstone 1st-2nd c AD
 huges finds in 1984/5, but 13 excavations had been done, which aren’t remembered/mentioned

 interest changes from : pre-proto-historical  historical
Harappa  Dark Age (1300 BCE-500 BCE)
(Nortimer Wheeler; Taxila) Early Historic Period (500 BCE-500CE)
Medieval Period

1947 to 1967: Excavations in Punjab

 Bara + Salaura mounts (Harappan civilization)
 grants of Indian archeology (Archeological Survey of India, ASI) are focusing on the pre-
historical period
 things change in 1963 – focus shifts to early historical period
 reversal: sites implicated in textual sources are sought out first.
 but Sanghol reverses this – site was found first and then confirmed/found in sources
 ideological understanding of the relationship between text + artifact
 Cunningham had a textual understanding of archeology: trade routes mentioned in (religious)
texts; pilgrimage sites

Sanghol, locally known as Uchā Pinḍ

 highest archeological site/mount in Punjab; hasn’t yet been excavated except in the vicinity (13
Conference Nov 15, 2009


Pir, Baba, Sant, or Shaykh: Holy Men and Shared Shrines in Punjab
Anna Bigelow

This paper presents three different modes of inter-religious exchange at three sacred sites in Punjab, India.
Inter-religious relations in Punjab have been highly fraught since the time of Partition. Indeed Punjab was the
state most violently divided in 1947. The eastern region of Punjab was nearly cleansed of Muslims while the
west was cleared of Hindus and Sikhs. Yet Islam is not gone from Punjab. On the contrary in very interesting
and complicated ways the Muslim shrines that remain in Indian Punjab have become important locations for
ongoing interaction. Through ritual, narrative, and administrative modes of exchange the pious practices that
establish a shared ethical idiom for Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs emerge. Here I will explore the shrine of Baba
Farid in Faridkot, the Guru's Mosque in Sri Hargobindpur, and the tomb of Haider Shaykh in Malerkotla to
exemplify these three modes of exchange at three different types of shared sacred sites. The range and depth of
interaction challenges the expectation that these three religions should be fundamentally antagonistic towards
one another. On the contrary, we find that through both pragmatic and spiritual strategies people from a range
of backgrounds forge microstrategies of attunement that promote and give substance to a shared moral culture.

Three sites:
1. Malerkotla: dargah of Shaykh Sadruddin Sadri Jahan, a.k.a Dargah Haider Shaykh.
2. Sri Hargobindpur: Guru ki Maseet
3. Malerkotla: Sayyid Ghani Shah Chishti

Shared Sites:
 proprietory and participatory claims are not exclusive

Anna critiques ‘syncretism’, referring to Tony Stweart’s taxonomoy of ‘syncretism,’ which outlines
how it is articulated:
1. influence and borrowing
2. overlay or ‘cultural veneer’
3. alchemy
4. organic or biological reproduction.

Tony Stewart’s translational approach – language of encounter

1. formal literary equation
2. refraction and mirroring

Farina’s concept – shared piety (in her latest article)

Anna uses the term attunement: a process; ongoing encounter. From Francis Trix, who uses it for
conversational analysis between herself and her conversation with her Sufi Shyakh

3 types of attunement in shared sacred spaces:

1. ritual
2. spatial
3. discursive

 no Muslims here were killed during Partition
 Majority Muslim town, but the majority of pilgrims who come here are Hindus + Sikhs

 3 realms: government, home, neighborhood (centers of power) inscribe this
 mundane/daily interactions – life-cycle activities
 politicians, etc., will visit (Prakash Singh Badal; Sandeep Singh Mann) – for statehood;
minority recognition
 pilgrims

Range of ‘localizing practices,’ i.e. not specific to one tradition

 diwan (audience)
 kalam (in South Asia = Sufi writings)
 pir ibadat (term fro devotional practice)
 japa (guru)

Children’s relationship to the site

Though the overseer of one of the sites is critical to non-Muslim practices, he is open to children

Re: Bordieau and habitus

 On the question, “Why do you come to this shrine?”
 answer commonly given is, “vYsy…”
Conference Nov 15, 2009


Engaging with Muslims during the Early 19th Century Punjab

Rishi Singh

The paper examines the engagement of the Sikhs and their elites with the Muslims in the first half of the
nineteenth century Punjab. The work argues that after the emergence of the Sikh faith in the fifteenth century
there appeared on social fabric of elites two distinct categories Muslim and non Muslim (with sizable number of
those who followed the doctrines laid down by the Gurus). The emergence and expansion of the Sikh religious
ethos and political ambitions of its leadership influenced the political scenario in Panjab under the Mughal
rulers early on and also in context of the Maratha dominance. It is the argument here that even though Muslim
and Sikh religious leaderships engaged with each other, the conversion of Panjabis both from Hindu and
Muslim backgrounds to Sikhism began to create tribulations for the Muslim elites in the Panjab. The religious
group of Muslims existed with that of the Sikh and the Hindus but at the time of political tensions, clear
allegiances were formed between the two elite groups, especially at the moments when the call of the jihad was
given by the Muslim elites. The vision of a state not controlled by the Muslim elites, who were Mughals or
Afghans, became fundamental for the new non-Muslim elites of the Panjab.

What is a ‘warrior state’?

 Rishi says Ayesha Jala + Sugata Bose have used this term to refer to Sikhs, but in doing so they
haven’t defined what this is
 Also critiques Bayly for not understanding, or for assuming , that the Sikhs are militant

* had no idea what the rest of his lecture was about – was pointless *