Directories Courses Discussion Groups. Review of Sikh nationalism and identity in a global age by Giorgio Shani. Sikh nationalism and identity in a global age. The first part of the book chapters 2—4 focuses on the Punjab and starts with the figure of Guru Nanak — Based largely on W.
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In the second half of the book, Shani examines the history of Sikh support for Khalistan in the diaspora. The author deserves applause for creating a readable narrative that effectively incorporates his understanding of Sikh history and demonstrates his close acquaintance with the theoretical literature centered upon themes ranging from identity formation to nationalism, disapora studies, and globalization.
This is the first extended discussion of Sikh national identity, and it deserves a warm welcome. His characterization of the Sikh material is derived solely from scholarship available in English and currently popular in the field of Sikh Studies. His argument would have benefited considerably from a turn to indigenous Punjabi sources. An attempt to incorporate material artifacts, such as Sikh coins, which begin to appear from onward, and written texts, such as the Guru Panth Parkash The Rise of the Sikhs of Rattan Singh Bhangu d.
Both of these terms and their mutual identification appear in Guru Panth Prakash, originally composed in the s, and Mahima Parkash The Rise of Praise , completed in The Sarbat Khalsa adopted 13 resolutions to strengthen Sikh institutions and traditions. The 12th resolution reaffirmed the resolutions adopted by the Sarbat Khalsa in , including the declaration of the sovereign state of Khalistan. There are several Sikh groups such as the Khalistan Council that are currently functional and provides organization and guidance to the Sikh community.
Multiple Sikh militant groups are organized across the countries and coordinate their military efforts for Khalistan. Such groups were most active in s and early s and has since receded in activity.
These groups are largely defunct in India but they still have a political presence among the sikh diaspora, especially in countries such as Pakistan where they are not proscribed by law. Most of these outfits were crushed during the anti-insurgency operations by An unknown group before then, the Shaheed Khalsa Force claimed credit for the marketplace bombings in New Delhi in The group has never been heard of since. On 23 June , the Boeing aeroplane operating on the route was blown up midair off the coast of Ireland by a bomb.
In all, people were killed, among them Canadian nationals and 22 Indian nationals.
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The main suspects in the bombing were the members of a Sikh separatist group called the Babbar Khalsa , and other related groups who were at the time agitating for a separate Sikh state of Khalistan in Punjab, India. In September , the Canadian Commission of Inquiry investigated reports, initially disclosed in the Indian investigative news magazine Tehelka ,  that a hitherto unnamed person, Lakhbir Singh Rode , had masterminded the explosions.
The United States Department of State found that Sikh extremism had decreased significantly from to , although the report noted that "Sikh militant cells are active internationally and extremists gather funds from overseas Sikh communities. In , Kuldip Nayar , writing for Rediff. Simrat Dhillon, writing in for the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies , noted that while a few groups continued to fight, "the movement has lost its popular support both in India and within the Diaspora community".
Understanding Religious Violence", "The movement is over," as many militants had been killed, imprisoned, or driven into hiding, and because public support was gone. Operation Bluestar and its violent aftermaths popularized the demand for Khalistan among many Sikhs dispersed globally. It also enabled Pakistan to become involved in the fueling of the movement.
Some Sikh groups abroad even declared themselves as the Khalistani government in exile. The sikh place of worship, gurdwaras provided the geographic and institutional coordination for the Sikh community. Sikh political factions have used the gurdwaras as a forum for political organization. The gurdwaras often served as the site for mobilization of diaspora for Khalistan movement directly by raising funds.
Indirect mobilization was provided by promoting a stylized version of conflict and sikh history. The rooms in gurdwara exhibit pictures of Khalistani leaders along with paintings of martyrs from Sikh history. This visually establishes a line of oppression starting from 17th Century to modern day. Gurdwaras also host speakers and musical groups that promote and encourage the movement.
Among the diasporas, Khalistan issue has been a divisive issue within gurdwaras. These factions have fought over the control of gurdwaras and their political and financial resources. The fights between pro and anti-Khalistan factions over gurdwaras often included violent acts and bloodshed as reported from UK and North America. The gurdwaras with Khalistani leadership allegedly funnel the collected funds into activities supporting the movement. Different groups of Sikhs in the diaspora organize the convention of international meetings to facilitate communication and establish organizational order.
In April the third convention was held in Slough, Berkshire where the Khalistan issue was addressed. All these factors further strengthened the emerging nationalism among Sikhs. Sikh organizations launched many fund-raising efforts that were used for several purposes. After one of the objectives was the promotion of the Sikh version of "ethnonational history" and the relationship with the Indian state. The Sikh diaspora also increased their efforts to build institutions to maintain and propagate their ethnonational heritage.
India has accused Pakistan of supporting the Khalistan movement in the past, to allegedly seek revenge against India for its help in creating Bangladesh and, according to India, to "destabilize" the Indian state. Several sikh pilgrimage centres and historical gurdwaras are located in Pakistani Punjab which are frequented by tens of thousands of Sikhs from India and world over. During the pilgrims stay in Pakistan, the sikhs are exposed to Khalistani propaganda and leaders.
Such an exposure is not openly possible in India. Immediately after Operation Blue Star , authorities were unprepared for how quickly extremism spread and gained support in Canada, with extremists " The publisher of the "Indo-Canadian Times," a Canadian Sikh and once-vocal advocate of the armed struggle for Khalistan, he had criticised the bombing of Air India flight , and was to testify about a conversation he overheard concerning the bombing. There is speculation that the murder was related to Sikh extremism, which Purewal may have been investigating.
Another theory is that he was killed in retaliation for revealing the identity of a young rape victim. Terry Milewski reported in a documentary for the CBC that a minority within Canada's Sikh community was gaining political influence even while publicly supporting terrorist acts in the struggle for an independent Sikh state. Canadian journalist Kim Bolan has written extensively on Sikh extremism. Speaking at the Fraser Institute in , she reported that she still received death threats over her coverage of the Air India bombing.
In , a CBC report stated that "a disturbing brand of extremist politics has surfaced" at some of the Vaisakhi parades in Canada,  and The Trumpet agreed with the CBC assessment. Manmohan Singh , Prime Minister of India, expressed his concern that there might be a resurgence of Sikh extremism. There has been some controversy over Canada's response to the Khalistan movement.
Day is also quoted as saying "The decision to list organizations such as Babbar Khalsa, Babbar Khalsa International, and the International Sikh Youth Federation as terrorist entities under the Criminal Code is intended to protect Canada and Canadians from terrorism. The Khalistan movement reached its peak in late s and s  and the insurgency petered out in the s. Among the prominent reasons were. The present situation in Punjab is generally regarded as peaceful, and the militant Khalistan movement weakened considerably.
The Sikh community maintains its own unique identity and is socially assimilated in cosmopolitan areas. Some organisations claim that social divisions and problems still exist in rural areas, but the present situation remains largely peaceful; support for an independent homeland may remain strong among the separatist Sikh leaders  popular in the expatriate Sikh community outside India mainly in Europe and North America.
Although the situation in Punjab appears to be normal, recent developments are troubling and signal bad news for India. Information is surfacing about the revival of the Khalistan Movement by Sikh extremist groups operating from other countries. It was confirmed that the principal movers of the Sikh caucus were Khalistani activists trying to revive separatist sentiments.
There are also increasing fears that the Gurdaspur attack was an outstanding attempt to revive the Khalistan movement. Recently, many signs have been raised in several places in support of the Khalistan movement. Notably, on the 31st anniversary of Operation Bluestar , pro-Khalistan signs were raised in Punjab. In retaliation, 25 Sikh youths were detained by the police.
Despite residing outside India, there is a strong sense of attachment among Sikhs to their culture and religion. There is persistent demand for justice for the Sikh victims during the peak of the Khalistan movement. In some ways, The Sikh Diaspora is seen as a torch-bearer of the Khalistan movement, now considered to be highly political and military in nature. Recent reports clearly indicate a rise in pro-Khalistan sentiments among the Sikh Diaspora overseas, which can revive the secessionist movement.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 May Globalization and Religious Nationalism in India. Retrieved 30 April Reuters, The Sikh insurgency petered out in the s. He told state leaders his country would not support anyone trying to reignite the movement for an independent Sikh homeland called Khalistan.
Retrieved 22 May Suave, tech-savvy pro-Khalistan youth radicalised on social media". Retrieved 27 April Outlook India, Is there a resurgence of Khalistani extremism, considering the number of recent incidents and killings?
Review of Sikh nationalism and identity in a global age
There has been no resurgence. Retrieved 8 June Islamic Terrorism and the West. A Ray of Hope. Violence and New Religious Movements. The movement petered out in s and lost the "Mass Appeal". Retrieved 10 June The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia. The professed intention of the Muslim League to impose a Muslim state on the Punjab a Muslim majority province was anathema to the Sikhs Sikh leaders of all political persuasions made it clear that Pakistan would be 'wholeheartedly resisted'.
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