Religion and nationalism in India : the case of the Punjab


Religion and nationalism in India : the case of the Punjab

Harnik Deol

(Routledge studies in the modern history of Asia, 8)

Routledge, 2000

  • : hb

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Bibliographical references: p. [190]-197

Includes index



This timely and significant study explores the reasons behind the rise in Sikh militancy over the 1970s and 1980s. It also evaluates the violent response of the Indian State in fuelling and suppressing the Sikh separatist movement, resulting in a tragic sequence of events which has included the raiding of the Golden Temple at Amritsar and the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The book reveals the role in this movement of a section of young semi-literate Sikh peasantry who were disaffected by the Green Revolution and the commercialisation of agriculture in Punjab. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Deol examines the role of popular mass media in the revitalisation of religion during this period, and the subsequent emergence of sharper religious boundaries.


  • Introduction 1. The Trouble with Classic Theories of Nationalism I Concepts and Definitions: What is unique about Modern Nationality? II The Origins of Nationalism in Europe: Modernization Theories of Nationalism
  • Critique of Modernization Theories III The Genesis of Nationalism in India: Pax Britannica 1857-1947: The Proliferation of Socio-religious Reform Movements
  • The Anti-Colonial nationalist Movement for the Struggle for India's Independence IV Conclusion 2. The Contradictory Unity of the Indian State I Who are the Religious Minorities in India? II Religion and Culture in India: The Concept of Time
  • Karma
  • Dharma
  • Belief in Rebirth or Reincarnation
  • The Concept of Truth III Interplay between Religious and Modern Democratic Institutions: The Anti-Colonial Nationalist Movement for the Struggle for India's Independence
  • Association Between Group Identity and Political Power IV The Resurgence of Religious Nationalism in Contemporary India: Religious Functionaries in Politics
  • Forms of Ritual Communication V The Resurgence of Religious Nationalism at this Moment in History: The Weakening of Political Institutions
  • Loss of Faith in Secular Institutions
  • Religious Nationalism as a Strategy for Change or a Form of Protest VI Conclusion 3. The Historical Roots of Sikh Communal Consciousness (1469-1947) I Early Sikh Tradition: The Period of the Sikh Gurus (1469-1708)
  • The Political Triumph of the Sikh Movement (1708-1849) II Socio-Religious Reform Movements and the Growth of Communal Consciousness in British Punjab: The Arya Samaj Movement
  • The Singh Sabha Movement III New Leaders and New Arenas: Recasting Social Identities IV Print Communication and the Creation of a new Public Sphere V The Development of Standardized Vernacular Languages of State VI Conclusion 4. The Rise of Sikh National Consciousness (1947-1995) I The Demand for a 'Punjabi Suba' or a Punjabi Speaking State in Independent India (1950-1966) II Background to the Present Conflict (1970-1990): The Anandpur Sahib Resolution 'Operation Bluestar' and 'Operation Woodrose' State Violence and the Rise and Fall of the Armed Resistence The Sikh Diaspora III Conclusion 5. Agrarian Crisis and the Rise of Armed Resistance I On Green Revolution: What is Green Revolution? Agricultural Change and Agrarian Social Structure Profiles of the Sikh Activists - Babies of the Green Revolution? II Peasant Insurrection and the Rise of Armed Resistance: The Pattern of Modernisation Agricultural Innovation and External Dependence 6. Transformation in Social Communication and the Upsurge of Religious Controversy: Dialogues in Vernacular Languages I Mass Literacy II The Press in Punjab: History of the Press in Punjab Growth of the Vernacular Press III A Comparison of Editorials IV Cassettes as Communicators: The Rise of Bhindranwale as a Cult Figure V Conclusion

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