Relocating Gender in Sikh History - Transformation, Meaning and Identity

Relocating Gender in Sikh History - Transformation, Meaning and Identity

Product ID: 11138

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Author: Doris R Jakobsh
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 296
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0 195663152


This penetrating volume is one of the first to chart the history of gender construction in Sikhism. The Singh Sabha reform movement aimed at resurrecting the purity of Sikhism as it existed during what was considered the golden age of the guru period.

Focusing specifically on the Singh Sabha reform movement – spearheaded by British-educated Sikhs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries-it analyses the development of gender ideals under the Sikh gurus, and their adaptation and in some cases transformation by the new intellectual elite.

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 the 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 South Asian colonial history as well as general readers interested in a historical understanding o the role of women within Sikhism.





The Construction of Women in Sikh History and Religion - Attitudes and Assumptions
An Overview of Secondary Sources


The Development of the Early Sikh Tradition
A Gender Perspective


Of Colony and Gender
The Politics of Difference and Similarity


Contextualizing Reform in Nineteenth Century Punjab:
Continuity and Change


Education, Gender Codes and Politics
The Sikhs and Female Education:
The Missionary Endeavour, Sikh Orthodox Tradition and
Reform Initiatives: An Overview


Extending Male Control:
The Gentrified Imagination and Popular Female Traditions


Redefining the Ritual Drama:
The Feminization of Ritual




References and Selected Bibliography