Chapter

Contextualizing Reform in Nineteenth-Century Punjab

Doris R. Jakobsh

in Relocating Gender in Sikh History

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679199
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081950 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679199.003.0005
Contextualizing Reform in Nineteenth-Century Punjab

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This chapter investigates the roots and context of the Singh Sabha Reform Movement and its influence within the colonial context in Punjab. The author goes through describing the following: the contribution to female education by the Kuka Movement; British support to the efforts of the Punajbi intelligentsia in spreading education and the learning of Gurmukhi; the Christian missionary contribution to improving the status of women; the combined efforts of colonial rulers and the Sikh elite in the eradication female infanticide, dowry, mourning and marriage rituals, prostitution, women's songs, and women's clothing; the dissenting interpretations of women's reforms under the Namdharis led by Guru RamSingh; the contribution of the Arya Samaj Movement towards women's upliftment; and, finally, the taking over of gender re-construction by the Singh Sabha Movement (in which 120 were in operation by 1899). By the end of the nineteenth century, the women's question became integral to defining the religious identity of the Sikhs as being different from that of the Hindus and the Muslims. The author concludes by pointing out that only Sikh males were involved in these transformational measures: Sikh women were not consulted.

Keywords: Punjab; Singh Sabha Reform movement; Arya Smaj Movement; Kuka reforms; Gurmukhi; Sikh society; Namdhari movement; Guru Ram Singh; Sikh women; Sikh identity

Chapter.  16709 words. 

Subjects: Sikhism

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