This book is a major intervention in the understanding of the dynamics of internal migration in South Asia. It traces the historical roots of certain migrant Sikh communities to the south and north-east India; chronicles their social, religious and economic practices; and examines peculiar identity formations.
This first-of-its-kind empirical study examines the socio-economic conditions of Sikhs in the Deccan and the North-East who are believed to be the descendants of the soldiers in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army despatched to the two regions in the early nineteenth century. It draws on extensive ethnographic accounts to present the social realities of the different communities, including language, religion, culture, occupation, caste, marriage and kinship, and agency. It also questions the idea of Sikh homogeneity that many within the community have come to believe in, while revealing both differences and similarities.
The book will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of sociology and social anthropology, migration and diaspora studies, religion, especially Sikh studies, cultural studies, as well as the Sikh diaspora worldwide.
Table of Contents
List of Figures. List of Tables. Preface. Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. Dakhani and other Sikhs in the Deccan 3. Axomiya and Mazhabi Sikhs in the North-East 4. Socio-economic Profile of the Sikhs in the Deccan and the North-East 5. Local is authentic 6. From material to the mental 7. In lieu of conclusion. Glossary. References. Index
Birinder Pal Singh is Professor of Eminence, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Punjabi University, Patiala, India. He has a doctorate from Panjab University, Chandigarh, and an MPhil from the School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He was a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (1993–1995). His research areas cover tribal, peasant and other communities and the sociology of violence. He has published the books Economy and Society in the Himalayas: Social Formation in Pangi Valley (1996); Problem of Violence: Themes in Literature (1999); Violence as Political Discourse: Sikh Militancy Confronts the Indian State (2002); ‘Criminal’ Tribes of Punjab: A Social-Anthropological Inquiry (edited, 2010); and Punjab Peasantry in Turmoil (edited, 2010). He has also published several research papers including in Sikh Formations, Economic and Political Weekly, Gandhi Marg and Journal of Punjab Studies.