Chapter

Extending Male Control

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/9780195679199.003.0007
Extending Male Control

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This chapter examines the displacement and reorganization of traditions to initiate markers and rituals of a specifically Sikh identity. The passing of the Anand Marriage Act of 1909—in the teeth of opposition from the Arya Samaj—came to represent Sikhism's distinction from the wider Hindu culture. The author contextualizes the Anand Marriage Act within the wider framework of Punjab politics, both communal and administrative. The deepening of communal rivalry suited colonial rulers, especially the Indian Army wherein Sikh soldiers had been trained to be loyal to the British. This led the objectives of the Tat Khalsa to become gradually aligned with British goals. Though the Singh Sabha reformers loudly promulgated the improvement of females as central to their reform mission, little was done about it. Instead, a ‘new patriarchy’ came to be established in which issues like women's ornamentation, women's clothing, the ban on the use of abusive language etc. in favour of ‘sober and solemn’ ceremonies resulted in Sikh women being confined to home and hearth. The ‘gentrification’ and other patterns of control over Sikh womanhood constituted an important aspect of the hegemonic position coveted by the Tat Khalsa. The author concludes by discussing how such strictures were resisted by women, even as they were reviled in moralistic writings as being responsible for the degeneration of Sikhism in general.

Keywords: Sikh women; Sikh identity; Anand Marriage Act; ‘a new patriarchy’; Sikh gentrification; Punjab politics; Tat Khalsa; Singh Sabha reformers; Sikh womanhood

Chapter.  12690 words. 

Subjects: Sikhism

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