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The Sikhs in Canada: Migration, Race, Class, and Gender

The Sikhs in Canada: Migration, Race, Class, and Gender



  • Dimensions:8.9' X 5.7'
  • Edition:2003
  • Author:Gurcharn S. Basran & B. Singh Bolaria
  • Publisher:Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  • ISBN:0195648862
  • Cover Type:Hardcover
  • Number of Pages:326
  • From the Jacket :

    The passage of Sikhs from India to Canada and their location in the Canadian mosaic constitutes an interesting subject for sociological analysis. This book deals with the migratory patterns and characteristics of Sikh immigrants to Canada, the trials and tribulations faced by them, and their professional and social status in a foreign land.

    This volume discusses the self-perception of the Sikhs as an oppressed minority community in India. It analyses their desire to create a space for themselves - politically, economically, and geographically - to safeguard their religious, cultural, and linguistic rights. The authors focus on the historical and contemporary plight of the Sikhs in Punjab, from where most of the Sikhs immigrated, and links it with the formation and politics of the Sikh community in Canada.

    The authors go on to discuss the Canadian immigration policy in general and the policies specific to immigration from India. The current socio-economic status of the Sikh immigrants and the participation of Sikh immigrant workers in the Canadian labour force is another vital issue of concern. Racism, racial discrimination, and racist labour policies at the workplace resulted in exploitation of early Sikh workers. The authors recount instances of political activism and anti-colonial and anti-racist activities of 'pioneer' immigrants.

    The nature and formation of social and cultural institutions of immigrants are influenced to a great extent by the Canadian immigration policy which had a deep impact on the formation and development of Sikh families and conjugal life in Canada. The book covers race, class and gender issues as they related to the status of the Sikhs in Canada.

    This book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, anthropology, politics, and history.

    About the Author :

    Gurcharn S. Basran and B. Singh Bolaria are Professors, Department of Sociology, University of Sanskatchewan, Canada.

    Excerpts From Reviews:

    On May 13, 1914, 376 British subjects (12 Hindus, 24 Muslims, and 340 Sikhs) of Indian origin arrived in Vancouver harbour abroad the Komagata Maru, seeking to enter Canada, 352 of the passengers were denied entry and forced to depart on July 23, 1914. This plaque commemorates the 75th anniversary of the unfortunate incident of racial discrimination and reminds Canadians of our commitment of an open society in which mutual respect and understanding are honoured, differences are respected, and traditions are cherished. - Plaque at the Gateway to the Pacific, Downtown Vancouver

    Komagata Maru Incident 75th Anniversary: Dedicated to the memory of the 376 passengers (340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, 12 Hindus) who arrived at Burrard Inlet, Vancouver on May 23, 1914, from Indian sub-continent on the ship Komagata Maru (Guru Nanak Jahaz). Due to the racist immigration policy of the Dominion of Canada, they were forced to leave on July 23, 1914. Khalsa Diwan Society, Vancouvr, pays respect to those passengers by commemorating the reprehensible incident. - Plaque in the Vancouver Gurdwara dedicated July 23, 1989




    1. Introduction:  
      Increasing Diversity in the Canadian Mosaic 1
      Deracialization and Recent Immigrants 1
      Immigrant Characteristics: Give Us Your Educated 5
      International Migrations 8
      Role of the State 11
      Summary 11
    2. Sikhs and Sikhism: The Khalsa Panth 14
      Introduction 14
      Sikh Gurus and Sikh Religion 15
      The Development of Sikhism and Sikh Identity 22
      Sikh Ethical Values: Personal and Social Conduct 23
      Contradictions of Everyday Living 25
      Summary 27
    3. State, Religion, Language and Politics 30
      Introduction 30
      The Sikh State Prior to British Colonialism: The Sikh Raj 31
      Gurdwara Reform Movement 34
      Sikhs and the Anti-Colonial Struggle 36
      Politics of Language 38
      The Anandpur Sahib Resolution 40
      Economic Development and its Contradictions 54
      The Politics of the 'Punjab Problem' 56
      State Crimes and Criminalization of Political Dissent 65
      Summary and Conclusion 69
    4. Migration, Labour and Racism 77
      Introduction 77
      International Migrations 78
      Capital and Foreign Labour 80
      State and Labour Procurement 83
      Institutional Racism and Exploitation 84
      Summary 89
    5. From Indian to Canada:
    Immigration Policy and Migration Patterns
      Introduction 95
      Indian Immigration: 1990-1908 95
      Indian Immigration: 1909 to the Second World War 99
      Indian Immigration: Post-War Period, 1966 103
      Indian Immigration: Since 1967 104
      Political Consciousness and Resistance 107
      Summary 110
    6. Colonialism and Indian Labour: Work and Life in the Colonies 116
      Introduction 116
      Colonialism and Indian Labour 117
      Sikh Workers: Reproduction of Low-Cost Labour 121
      Single Male Labour 122
      Colonial Status, Racism, and Legal-Political Rights 124
      Racial Labour Policy 126
      Racially Segregated Labour and Living Conditions 126
      Racial Preference in Employment and Blocked Alternative Opportunities 128
      Differential Wages: Racism and Price of Labour 129
      Racialized Work and Segregated Work Areas 131
      Racialized Occupational and Social Hierarchy 133
      Undesirable Immigrants, Preferred Workers 135
      Everyday Lived Experiences of Sikhs 138
      Summary 143
    7. Post-War Immigrants: Opportunities and Constraints  150
      Introduction 150
      Post-War Immigrants 151
      Immigrants Increasingly from Non-Traditional sources 152
      Recent Immigrants Better Educated 153
      Labour Force Profile of Immigrants 154
      Visible Minorities: Non White in Colour of Non-Caucasian in Race 156
      Socio-Economic and Labour Force Profile of Sikhs 159
      Media and the Minorities: Problemetizing the Sikh Community 167
      Community Conflict and Immigration Controls 175
      Social Image of Sikhs and Other Racial Minorities 178
      Victimization and Criminalization of 'Look-Alike' Minorities 179
      Race and Colour Matter 182
      Summary 185
    8. State Policies, Family Formation and Inequality 192
      Introduction 192
      State Policies and Early Family Formation 193
      Contemporary Families: Structural Diversity, Social Relations and Cultural Practices 196
      Gender Equality and Decision-Making 197
      Families, Children, Courtship, and Marriages 198
      Cultural Transmission: Language and Religion 201
      Economic Statue of Visible Minority Families 201
      Visible Minority Women: Race, Class, Gender 203
      Summary 207
    9. The Sikhs: From Indian to Canada 213
      Introduction 213
      Religion, Identity, and Politics 214
      Migrations and Labour Reproduction 216
      Colonial Status, Racism, and Sikh Workers 218
      Post-War Canada: Social Mobility and Inequality 219
      Race, Gender, and Family 220
      Conclusions 221


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