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The Sikhs - Ideology, Institutions and Identity
by J S Grewal      (Author ALERT)

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ProductID: 27327 - Hardcover - 215 Pages (Year: 2009)
Oxford University Press ~ ISBN: 9780195694949

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This unique collection brings together essays by a leading Sikh scholar, J.S. Grewal. Spanning over four decades, it presents a comprehensive and authoritative account of key aspects of Sikh tradition from Guru Nanak to the present times.

Organized thematically, The Sikhs provides a detailed discussion of all the central issues in Sikh history and religion. The first three parts deal with ideological underpinnings, evolution of socio-political institutions, and Sikh literature. They examine areas like Guru Nanak and his Panth; political identity of the Khalsa Panth; martyrdom in Sikh literature; evolution of the Sikh state; Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht; and the debates surrounding the Janamsakhi and Prem Sumarg.

Grewal also explores socio-political issues concerning Sikhism—norms of equality, caste, and gender—along with topics like the contest over sacred space, cultural reorientation under colonial rule, and the Akali question. Towards the end, he underlines the importance of J.D. Cunningham’s work in a cross-cultural dialogue and critically investigates the debates concerning Sikhism in recent the decades.

For the range of issues raised and the dexterity with which they are handled, this book will be indispensable for scholars, students, and researchers of Sikhism, Punjab Studies, medieval Indian history, religion, and literature.


In terms of the range of issues addressed and the depth with which this discussion is handled, there is no comparable book currently available in the area of Sikh studies… These essays present a statement that is distilled from a long academic endeavour characterized by a mastery of a rich array of primary sources and a firm grasp of finer details of scholarly interpretation of the central issues in Sikh history.
-- Gurinder Singh Mann, Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

Dr Grewal's command over sources, understanding of historical processes, and the ground realities make complex issues intelligible to the lay reader, and the positions he takes are difficult to refute. His work exemplifies a rare combination of critical approach, open mindedness, empathetic understanding and humanistic sympathies. It also proves that a rigorous application of historical method can yield rich dividends in the study of religion and literature.
-- Indu Banga, Professor, Punjab University, Chandigarh

 Table of Contents

Preface. Introduction.

I. Ideological underpinnings:
1. Guru Nanak and his Panth.
2. 'Raj Karega Khalsa'.
3. Martyrdom in Sikh history and literature.

II. Socio-Political Institutions:

4. The Sikh state.
5. The Darbar Sahib and the Akal Takht.

III. Concerns of Sikh Literature:

6. An early eighteenth century Janamsakhi.
7. The Prem Sumarg: a Sant Khalsa vision of the Sikh Panth.

IV. Norms of Equality:

8. Caste and the Sikh social order.
9. Sikhism and gender. V. New Socio-Cultural Orientations:
10. Contest over the sacred space.
11. Colonial rule and cultural reorientation.
12. The Akalis and Khalistan.

VI. Cross Cultural Debates:
13. Empathy with the Sikh past: J.D. Cunningham.
14. The contemporary controversy in Sikh studies.

Glossary. Bibliography.
Name Index. Place Index.
Subject Index.


 About the Author

J S GREWAL, formerly Professor of History and then Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Director, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, is an eminent historian of the Punjab, and of medieval and modern Indian history in general. His numerous works include Guru Nanak in History (1969), The Sikhs of the Punjab (1990), and Contesting Interpretations of the Sikh Tradition (1998).


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