An Argument for Sikh Nationality

J.S. Grewal

in History, Literature, and Identity

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780198070740
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080427 | DOI:
An Argument for Sikh Nationality

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Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha’s magnum opus, Gurshabad Ratanākar Mahān Kosh (The Encyclopaedia of Sikh Literature), published in 1930, was preceded by two seminal works: Gurmat Prabhakār (1898), a collection of verses from the Gurū Granth Sāhib, and Gurmat Sudhākar (1899), which dealt with various themes based on Sikh literature produced during the precolonial period. Bhai Kahn Singh’s Ham Hindū Nahīn explores the issue of Sikh identity, one of the major concerns of the Singh Sabha reformers. Bhai Kahn Singh presents his thesis in the form of a dialogue between a Hindu and a Sikh. It also discusses issues related to scriptures, caste system, idea of incarnation, worship of Goddess among the Sikhs, and idol worship. Ham Hindū Nahīn can be interpreted as an argument for Sikh nationality based on a distinct Sikh identity. The chapter also discusses recent historical perspectives of scholars like Daljeet Singh, W.H. McLeod, and Harjot Oberoi.

Keywords: Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha; Gurshabad Ratanākar Mahān Kosh; Ham Hindū Nahīn; Singh Sabha reformers; Sikh identity; Sikh literature; Sikh nationality

Chapter.  9108 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sikhism

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