Doris R. Jakobsh

in Relocating Gender in Sikh History

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679199
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081950 | DOI:

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The Sikh tradition traces its origins to fifteenth-century Punjab in North India, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, born in 1469 CE. He was followed by nine gurus, of whom the last—Guru Gobind Singh—created the Khalsa or Sikh military brotherhood. Sikh historiography has traditionally used the lens of class, caste, and religion in its writings about Sikhism, with the complete disregard for gender issues. How the desire of the nineteenth century Sikh elite to present the unparalleled position of Sikh women and Sikh men—as a feature of their distinctiveness from other groups—became a major feature of the gender construction is discussed in this introductory chapter. The author points to Sikh ideals being influenced by Victorian gender ideals which then informed the process of active gender construction through the educational and religious initiatives of the Singh Sabha. After outlining the premise of the book, the chapter concludes with an overview of the eight chapters that follow.

Keywords: gender construction; Sikh elite; Sikh historiography; Punjab after 1849; Sikh reform initiatives; Sikh women; Sikh men; Singh Sabha Reform Movement; Singh Sabha

Chapter.  2252 words. 

Subjects: Sikhism

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