1st Edition

Bhai Vir Singh (1872–1957) Religious and Literary Modernities in Colonial and Post-Colonial Indian Punjab

Edited By Anshu Malhotra, Anne Murphy Copyright 2023
    254 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume brings together works by established and emerging scholars to consider the work and impact of Bhai Vir Singh. Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957) was a major force in the shaping of modern Sikh and Punjabi culture, language, and politics in the undivided colonial Punjab, prior to the Partition of the province in 1947, and in the post-colonial state of India. The chapters in this book explore how he both reflected and shaped his time and context and address some of the ongoing legacy of his work in the lives of contemporary Sikhs. The contributors analyze the varied genres, literary, and historical that were adopted and adapted by Bhai Vir Singh to foreground and enhance Sikh religiosity and identity. These include his novels, didactic pamphlets, journalistic writing, prefatory and exegetical work on spiritual and secular historical documents, and his poems and lyrics, among others. This book will be of particular interest to those working in Sikh studies, South Asian studies, and post-colonial studies.

    1 Introduction: Bhai Vir Singh as author, scholar, and reformist

    Anshu Malhotra and Anne Murphy

    2 Innovation in Punjabi Literature: Considerations on the Advent of Literary Modernity

    Farina Mir

    3 Print publics, literary experiments, and community formation in the work of Bhai Vir Singh Arti Minocha

    4 The Conversion Loop: Gender, Identity, and Storytelling in Bhai Vir Singh’s Sundarī

    Anshu Malhotra

    5 Revisiting The Khalsa Samachar (1899-1900): Women's Issues and Concerns

    Parneet Kaur Dhillon and Jaspal Kaur Dhanju

    6 Didacticism and Punjabi Theatre: Bhai Vir Singh's experimental Raja Lakhdata Singh

    Gunjeet Aurora Mehta

    7 Beyond the Past: Poetry as a Notation of the Present

    Anne Murphy

    8 Intertextuality and Reception History: Connecting Bhai Vir Singh’s Srī Kalgīdhar Camatkār to Gurbilās literature

    Julie Vig

    9 Vir Singh’s Publication of the Gurpratāp Sūraj Granth

    Jvala Singh

    10 Bhai Vir Singh’s Puratan Janamsakhi: Sikh Book Culture and the Historical Turn

    Harjeet Singh Grewal

    11 Transcendence and the Modern Sikh Subject: Analyzing Bhai Vir Singh’s Theology Arvind-Pal S. Mandair

    12 The manifold lives of Bhai Vir Singh’s Sundri

    Doris R. Jakobsh


    Anshu Malhotra is a Professor in the Department of Global Studies and Kundan Kaur Kapany Professor and Chair of Sikh and Punjab Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, USA.

    Anne Murphy is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and holds the Chair of Punjabi Language, Literature, and Sikh Studies.