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Relocating Gender in SIKH HISTORY: Transformation, Meaning and Identity

Relocating Gender in SIKH HISTORY: Transformation, Meaning and Identity



  • Dimensions: 8.7' X 5.6'
  • Edition:2003
  • Publisher:Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  • ISBN:0195663152
  • Cover Type:Hardcover
  • Number of Pages: 296
  • About the Book:

    This penetrating volume is one of the first to chart the history of gender construction in Sikhism. Focusing specifically on the Singh Sabha reform movement-spearheaded by British-educated Sikhs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries-in analyses the development of gender ideals under the Sikh gurus, and their adaptation and in some cases transformation by the new intellectual elite.

    The Singh Sabha reform movement aimed at resurrecting reform movement aimed at resurrecting the 'purity' of Sikhism as it existed during what was considered the golden age of the guru period. The reformers, armed with western education and the Victorian ideals of the high colonial era, sought to reinterpret tradition according to their own needs and visions. In its analysis of the ideology of gender and identity promoted by thee Singh Sabha reformers, the study looks at both male and female ideals and the ways in which these were informed by notions of gender in Victorian Britain. It also examines the development of novel ritual identities, exploring the educational initiatives meant to produce reformed Sikhs, unadulterated by popular traditions that were integral to the ritual universe of the populace. In the process, the author challenges current understandings of the inclusion of women in the ritual formations of Sikhs.

    A major contribution to an uncharted field of research, this wide-ranging study will attract students and scholars of gender studies, the Sikh religion, and Sough Asian colonial history as well as general readers interested in historical understanding of the role of women within Sikhism.

    About the Author:

    Doris R. Jakobsh is an Instructor in Religion, Renison College, University of Waterloo, Canada.


    Acknowledgements x
    Introduction 1
    ONE The Construction of Women in Sikh History and Religion-Attitudes and Assumptions An Overview of Secondary Sources 7
    The Principle of Silence 8
    The Principle of Negation 10
    The Principle of Accommodation 12
    The Principle of Idealization 16
    Conclusion: Moving Beyond Description 18
    TWO The Development of the Early Sikh Tradition A Gender Perspective 22
    The Milieu 22
    The Early Guru Period 23
    The Janam-sakhis 27
    The Later Guru Period 35
    Gender and the Theology o Difference 37
    'The Wiles of Women' 44
    The Chaupa Singh Rahit-nama 46
    Conclusion 47
    THREE Of Colony and Gender
    The Politics of Difference and Similarity
    Colonization and the Politics of Difference 53
    Manliness, Morality and the Politics of Similarity 58
    Construction of Womanhood: The British in India 69
    The Politics of Similarity and its discontents 80
    FOUR Contextualizing Reform in Nineteenth Century
    Punjab: Continuity and Change
    Dissension and Control: The Punjab Administration and
    Kuka Reform
    The Genesis of the Punjab Intelligentsia 89
    Indian Reform, the Missionary Undertaking and the 'Women's Question' 99
    Positioning Punjab's Womanhood: Indigenous
    Politics Principles and the Colonial Milieu
    Dissenting Visions of Gender Reform:
    Guru Ram Singh and the Namdhari Sikhs
    Contextualizing Women's Reform in the Nineteenth
    Century: Contrasting Perspectives
    Dayananda's Arya Samaj Movement and Singh
    Sabha Reforms: Contesting Claims and Rhetoric
    FIVE Education, Gender Codes and Politics 127
    The Sikhs and Female Education: The Missionary
    Endeavour, Sikh Orthodox Tradition and Reform
    Initiatives: An Overview
    The Tat Khalsa and its Educational Ideals 132
    The Politics of Gender: The Home and the World 134
    The Sikh Kanya Mahavidyala 144
    The Politics of Language: A Gendered Perspective 148
    The Sikh Educational Conference: Enlarging Female
    Sikh Role Models and the Tat Khalsa: Crisis of Authority 153
    Bhai Vir Sing and the Invention of Tradition 160
    The Political Milieu: Agitation and Allegiance 168
    The Rhetoric of Reform, Education and the
    Politics of Patriotism
    SIX Extending Male Control: 179
    The Gentrified Imagination and Popular Female Traditions
    The Anand Marriage Bill: Gender Politics, Rhetoric, and Reason
    Extending Male Control: The 'New Patriarchy' 194
    Popular Female Traditions and the Gentrified Imagination 203
    SEVEN Redefining the Ritual Drama:
    The Feminization of Ritual
    Creation and Revision-The Feminization of Ritual 210
    What's in a Name? Circumscribing Sikh Female
    Re-defining the Sikh Code of Conduct in the
    Twentieth Century
    Contemporary Scholars and Rewriting of History 232
    Overview 238
    Women in the Singh Sabha Movement-Agents of Change or Casualties of Reform? 240
    Circumventing Hegemony: Alignment and Resistance 244
    Women's Reform-Laying the Foundation for a New Era 247
    Appendix 251
    References and Selected Bibliography 255
    Index 283

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