This book is a study of the transformations in Punjab created by biotechnological revolutions, economic restructuring, persistent migrations, and political upheaval in the late 20th century. The sacred centre at Amritsar, the transnational settlement of Southall and a Doaba village form the terrain for this — three sites that can seen as metonymic spaces of identity that transcend geographic boundaries, and form the structure of this book.
Relations between the rural, the sacred and the transnational, fostered through migration, marriage and material exchange, existed well before 1984. After 1984, however, and through the violent decades of the militancy period, these three locations became connected via the circulation of political ideologies, violent deaths, financial aid, a sense of disaffection, and the migration of men. Analysis of the linkages between transnational migration and religious revival is a key theme of this study.
Conversely, the enhanced engagements of the diaspora with homeland politics became a source of support and created sanctuary spaces for political asylum seekers and transnational migrant labour. Re-analysing existing material and drawing on fieldwork-based interviews, as well as local history archives, the book presents a different framework to analyse the politics and social history of Punjab.
Acknowledgements 1. Introduction: Bringing a Field to Focus 2. Commemorating Hurt: Memorialising Operation Bluestar 3. Binocular Disparity: Risky Strategies and Family Plans 4. Sent Away Boys: The 'Ghar Jawai' and the Militant 5. Transacting Asylum: Transnational Communities, Hospitality and Political Asylum 6. Descent to Illegality: Transnational Migrations of Labouring Men. Bibliography. About the Author. Index