Sikhism in a Global Context

N. Gerald Barrier

in Sikhism in Global Context

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780198075547
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082056 | DOI:
Sikhism in a Global Context

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This chapter explores the legacy of history and migration to understand contemporary challenges to Sikhism in the global context. When the Sikhs settle abroad, tensions between their former and new cultural settings influence their lives. Although coming from one region in India—the Punjab—the Sikh community has always been relatively small in size. However, the means of communication between different diasporic communities—and with their homeland in Punjab— have grown steadily over the years. The author discusses the role of a new print culture, internet chatrooms, and websites as places of debate about issues relating to Sikhs and Sikhism. In the diaspora, the Sikhs have managed an increasingly stable and productive adaptation in new cultural settings. Most legal cases against the key symbols of Sikhism—the kirpan and turban—have been won by the Sikhs in different countries. The author discusses how Sikhs perceive their faith as a world religion, and are working at the local, national and international levels to build bridges to other religions. Contrary to stereotypical images of the community, Sikhs have moved toward resolving organizational disputes without resort to violence and legal proceedings. The author concludes by pointing out how the educational efforts of the Singh Sabhas and the Chief Khalsa Diwan have seen growth in the number of young Sikh scholars with broad visions and the capacity to adapt to a world of rapid change.

Keywords: Sikhism; Sikh diaspora; global context; Sikh community; Singh Sabhas; Chief Khalsa Diwan; Stable adaptation; Sikh education; Sikh chatrooms; Sikh websites; Sikh identity

Chapter.  8196 words. 

Subjects: Sikhism

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