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The Construction of Religious Boundaries: Culture, Identity, and Diversity in the Sikh Tradition

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The Construction of Religious Boundaries: Culture, Identity, and Diversity in the Sikh Tradition Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this major reinterpretation of religion and society in India, Harjot Oberoi challenges earlier accounts of Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam as historically given categories encompassing well-demarcated units of religious identity. Through a searching examination of Sikh historical materials, he shows that early Sikh tradition was not concerned with establishing distinct religious boundaries. Most Sikhs recognized multiple identities grounded in local, regional, religious, and secular loyalties. Consequently, religious identities were highly blurred and several competing definitions of what constituted a Sikh were possible.

In the closing decades of the nineteenth century, however, the Singh Sabha, a powerful new Sikh movement, began to view the multiplicity in Sikh identity with suspicion and hostility. Aided by social and cultural forces unleashed by the British Raj, the Singh Sabha sought to recast Sikh tradition and purge it of diversity. The ethnocentric logic of a new elite dissolved alternative ideals under the highly codified culture of modern Sikhism.

A study of the process by which a pluralistic religious world view is replaced by a monolithic one, this important book calls into question basic assumptions about the efficacy of fundamentalist claims and the construction of all social and religious identities. An essential book for the field of South Asian religions, this work is also an important contribution to cultural anthropology, postcolonial studies, and the history of religion in general.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [431]-457) and index.

Table of Contents

Maps and Tables

Preface

Note on Orthography

Glossary

Introduction

1: Boundaries and Transgressions: The Khalsa Normative Tradition

2: Sanatan Tradition and its Transmission: Gurus, Saints, Ascetics, and Scholars

3: An Enchanted Universe: Sikh Participation in Popular Religion

4: Conserving Sanatan Sikh Tradition: The Foundation of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha

5: The Interpretive Process: The Expansion of the Singh Sabhas

6: A New Social Imagination: The Making of the Tat Khalsa

7: Resistance and Counter-resistance: The Triumph of Praxis

Conclusions

Appendix: Singh Sabhas Established Between 1873 and 1900

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226615936
Author:
Oberoi, Harjot
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Location:
Chicago, IL :
Subject:
History
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Sikhism
Subject:
Sikhism -- Relations.
Subject:
Sikhism -- Social aspects.
Subject:
Religion Eastern-Sikhism
Edition Description:
1
Series Volume:
86-18
Publication Date:
19941231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Pages:
516
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

Related Subjects

Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Sikhism
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

The Construction of Religious Boundaries: Culture, Identity, and Diversity in the Sikh Tradition New Trade Paper
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