Region, Religion and Politics 100 Years of Shiromani Akali Dal
An objective and dispassionate study of the oldest religion based regional political party: the Shiromani Akali Dal, participating in the democratic politics and processes of socio-economic development and transformation of the country. It delineates and analyses events and developments from the emergence of the Akali Dal, as a religious movement, its transformation into a religious political party, concerned with safeguarding the political, social and economic interests of the Sikhs as a minority and to represent them in governing institutions, engaged in the struggle for power in secular domain mobilising the community support using the ideology of fusion of religion and politics, yet lacking equal support from different sections of the community. Rather than dwelling on a mere narrative of events and describing strategies, tactics and agitations of the Akalis an attempt has been made to understand why and how social and economic antagonisms arising out of generation and articulation of demands in a pluralistic society, undergoing modernization and democratization may be marked by identity politics. The study is located in the broader framework of rise and growth of regional parties and identity politics in India as a part and consequence of India’s adopted model of state and nation building, integration and socio-economic development and transformation.