SikhRI and the Anand Marriage Act – A Critical Appraisal

The Anand MarriageAct has been discussed a few times on The Langar Hall. Years ago, I thought of the passage of the new act in Pakistan was one of the years greatest successes by the community. In this year of 2009, the Sikh Research Institute plans to observe the centennial of the Anand Marriage Act of 1909 in a big way.

Releasing a publication that can be viewed here and accompanied by the following the video with Harinder Singh, the PR campaign seeks to put limelight on the issue of Sikhs falling under the category of Hindu in the Indian Constitution. In fact it is emphatically stated in the publication.

Our hope in featuring this date in legislative history is to inspire Sikhs to demand acknowledgement as a distinct community, especially with regards to legal reforms.

YouTube Preview Image

While I believe the attempt is praiseworthy, an uncritical celebration of the colonists bill is also nave and highly problematic.

The document acknowledges the situation under which the Act came about.

The Anand Marriage Act was passed under British occupation of South Asia.

Again, I was impressed by the work done to produce such a document including translations of the Lavan, reproduction of the pertinent sections from the Sikh Rehat Maryada, as well as the law itself. Still, it does sit uneasy when Sikhs (due to their present political situation) long for the days of imperialists-past.

In the video, Harinder Singh states that the passage of the act was a ‘soft way of asserting [our] sovereignty.’ However can the bestowal of recognition (not quite an ‘assertion’ and very different than the later Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925 ) by the actual sovereigns of the time (the British Raj) really be seen as an act of Sikh sovereignty? Should we really celebrate decisions by an oppressive, non-democratic, brutal regime that was the British Raj? Yes, we can use the precedence for future laws, but must we celebrate a centennial?

Too often I find Sikhs glowing proudly about their place as the British Empires cannon fodder of choice. Sikhs as collaborators in imperial armies (my own family included in WWI and WWII) were used to put down many other people that sought their own sovereignty and dignity against British colonialism. There might be structural reasons that colonialism puts into play that casts various groups against one another, but I refuse to believe that Sikhs should not be able to critically engage with their own past. When we celebrate the history of the Khalsa, we celebrate the history of sovereignty, freedom, and resistance. We can continue to fight for the recognition of our own community without having to glorify or whitewash British colonialism.


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48 Responses to “SikhRI and the Anand Marriage Act – A Critical Appraisal”

  1. ??? ????? says:

    Jodha used to say, "Despite the various attacks on the Singh Sabha movement for only promoting Khalsa hegemony and other spurious slanders by neo-Sanatans, post-colonialists (I am reminded of a professor that once told me that he would only become a post-colonialist, when colonialism ends) attempting to form neo-Brahman ‘intelligentsias’" from http://thelangarhall.com/sikhi/how-large-is-the-t

    Now you say, "can the bestowal of recognition (not quite an ‘assertion’ and very different than the later Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925 ) by the actual sovereigns of the time (the British Raj) really be seen as an act of Sikh sovereignty?" and, "There might be structural reasons that colonialism puts into play that casts various groups against one another, but I refuse to believe that Sikhs should not be able to critically engage with their own past."

    I'm glad you've turned the corner. But saying fashionable items makes not an enquiry. I think you need to acknowledge the scholars and organizations that are bringing these issues regarding colonialism, orientalism, imperialism, and the Sikh past and present experience into focus.

    • Sanhewal says:

      Why leave it to Jodha, a non-expert in the philosophical deconstruction of the Singh Sabha, as part of the larger understanding that we are practicing a corrupted Sikhi?

      http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/17448727.a… is a resource fine enough.

      • ??? ????? says:

        Sanhewal, I thank you for your reference. The Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory journal is, no doubt, the central locus for Sikhs in the West to 'seriously' study the deeper dimensions of Sikh politics, and with special attention to post-colonial thought. Though, I would strongly resist the claim that Sikh Formations has, in any of its articles so far published, forwarded the explicit thesis that Sikhs in the modern are practice a corrupted Sikhi. For instance, in one article, Navdeep Mandair puts forth the concept of hetero-lingualism, that makes space for a diversity of tongue and experience for Sikhs in the West. If you would like, I could look up the exact volume, publication date for this.

        Thanks for the response.

  2. ??? ????? says:

    Jodha used to say, "Despite the various attacks on the Singh Sabha movement for only promoting Khalsa hegemony and other spurious slanders by neo-Sanatans, post-colonialists (I am reminded of a professor that once told me that he would only become a post-colonialist, when colonialism ends) attempting to form neo-Brahman ‘intelligentsias’" from http://thelangarhall.com/sikhi/how-large-is-the-t

    Now you say, "can the bestowal of recognition (not quite an ‘assertion’ and very different than the later Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925 ) by the actual sovereigns of the time (the British Raj) really be seen as an act of Sikh sovereignty?" and, "There might be structural reasons that colonialism puts into play that casts various groups against one another, but I refuse to believe that Sikhs should not be able to critically engage with their own past."

    I'm glad you've turned the corner. But saying fashionable items makes not an enquiry. I think you need to acknowledge the scholars and organizations that are bringing these issues regarding colonialism, orientalism, imperialism, and the Sikh past and present experience into focus.

    • Sanhewal says:

      Why leave it to Jodha, a non-expert in the philosophical deconstruction of the Singh Sabha, as part of the larger understanding that we are practicing a corrupted Sikhi?

      http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/17448727.a… is a resource fine enough.

      • ??? ????? says:

        Sanhewal, I thank you for your reference. The Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory journal is, no doubt, the central locus for Sikhs in the West to 'seriously' study the deeper dimensions of Sikh politics, and with special attention to post-colonial thought. Though, I would strongly resist the claim that Sikh Formations has, in any of its articles so far published, forwarded the explicit thesis that Sikhs in the modern are practice a corrupted Sikhi. For instance, in one article, Navdeep Mandair puts forth the concept of hetero-lingualism, that makes space for a diversity of tongue and experience for Sikhs in the West. If you would like, I could look up the exact volume, publication date for this.

        Thanks for the response.

  3. Jugni says:

    How does acknowledging a historical context glorify colonialism? Rather, the publication forefronts the efficacy of the Singh Sabha Movement and cites this example from history to encourage similar efforts today.

  4. Jugni says:

    How does acknowledging a historical context glorify colonialism? Rather, the publication forefronts the efficacy of the Singh Sabha Movement and cites this example from history to encourage similar efforts today.

  5. Jodha says:

    Poster 1 – You don't seem to understand my point or see disharmony, when there is none. I have no doubt that in 1909 for the Singh Sabha Movement, the Anand Marriage Act of 1909 was of great importance and was widely celebrated. I am sure that I too would have celebrated in 1909. My only problem is that Sikhs in 2009 need not uncritically celebrate the centennial of the Act. Now that you know I am not a post-modernist in all of its garb, I do not see any point to your last paragraph.

    Jugni – Point understood. I felt that the packet did not really adequately acknowledge historical context. I am all for encouraging similar efforts today!

    • ??? ????? says:

      Jodha, please avoid using straw-man arguments and red herrings such as "now that you know I am not a post-modernist in all of its garb." No one mentioned post-modernism until you just name dropped the term. Anyone can CTRL+F and see. So let's stay on track.

      Allow me to demonstrate once again. Once again, I quote you, " "Despite the various attacks on the Singh Sabha movement for only promoting Khalsa hegemony and other spurious slanders by neo-Sanatans, post-colonialists (I am reminded of a professor that once told me that he would only become a post-colonialist, when colonialism ends) attempting to form neo-Brahman ‘intelligentsias’" Here you demonstrate that you have a farcical understanding of post-colonial methods. It is not a condition that issues centered about post-colonial thought do not require, or demand, the end of colonial politics. I thought this was obvious. Right? Can you produce a _single_ reputable thinker who establishes that a necessary condition of the soundness of post-colonial thought is the actual eradication of colonialism on earth?

      And if you do want to talk about "post-modernism", I'd love for you to tell art critics and historians that Andy Warhol isn't to be seen broadly as a post-modernist artist because people some people still paint like Picasso! Or that Vonnegut's work wasn't working with post-modern thought, because folks still wrote (and still do!) like Fitzgerald.

      So, what I mean to say here is that I am glad you no longer hold those old views. You must have learned at least something about the vast issues regarding colonialism, orientalism, imperialism, and their relevance for the Sikh past and present. It would be helpful if you could bring the sources engaging these issues in the Sikh context to the fore. What are the contemporary sources and movements engaged in thinking about post-colonial thought in the context of Sikhs that you draw on?

  6. Jodha says:

    Poster 1 – You don't seem to understand my point or see disharmony, when there is none. I have no doubt that in 1909 for the Singh Sabha Movement, the Anand Marriage Act of 1909 was of great importance and was widely celebrated. I am sure that I too would have celebrated in 1909. My only problem is that Sikhs in 2009 need not uncritically celebrate the centennial of the Act. Now that you know I am not a post-modernist in all of its garb, I do not see any point to your last paragraph.

    Jugni – Point understood. I felt that the packet did not really adequately acknowledge historical context. I am all for encouraging similar efforts today!

    • ??? ????? says:

      Jodha, please avoid using straw-man arguments and red herrings such as "now that you know I am not a post-modernist in all of its garb." No one mentioned post-modernism until you just name dropped the term. Anyone can CTRL+F and see. So let's stay on track.

      Allow me to demonstrate once again. Once again, I quote you, " "Despite the various attacks on the Singh Sabha movement for only promoting Khalsa hegemony and other spurious slanders by neo-Sanatans, post-colonialists (I am reminded of a professor that once told me that he would only become a post-colonialist, when colonialism ends) attempting to form neo-Brahman ‘intelligentsias’" Here you demonstrate that you have a farcical understanding of post-colonial methods. It is not a condition that issues centered about post-colonial thought do not require, or demand, the end of colonial politics. I thought this was obvious. Right? Can you produce a _single_ reputable thinker who establishes that a necessary condition of the soundness of post-colonial thought is the actual eradication of colonialism on earth?

      And if you do want to talk about "post-modernism", I'd love for you to tell art critics and historians that Andy Warhol isn't to be seen broadly as a post-modernist artist because people some people still paint like Picasso! Or that Vonnegut's work wasn't working with post-modern thought, because folks still wrote (and still do!) like Fitzgerald.

      So, what I mean to say here is that I am glad you no longer hold those old views. You must have learned at least something about the vast issues regarding colonialism, orientalism, imperialism, and their relevance for the Sikh past and present. It would be helpful if you could bring the sources engaging these issues in the Sikh context to the fore. What are the contemporary sources and movements engaged in thinking about post-colonial thought in the context of Sikhs that you draw on?

  7. Jodha says:

    Ok commenter,

    Those in the know are aware that 'post-modernism' represents certain methodologies, but also has come to form its own dogmas in being opposed to what they often term the "Enlightenment project." It has its own formations in this particular academic tradition, but those that have carried these dogmas into other fields. They are also set within this academic tradition.

    With regard to the notion of the eradication of colonialism as a necessary pre-requisite to post-colonial thought, it was obviously a joke (geez, lighten up), but a poignant one nonetheless.

    Yes "post-modernism" means different things in different contexts. Great job! Just like there is baroque art, baroque music, baroque architecture, etc. These movements don't always mean the same thing, nor are they all even within the same time period.

    Sikhs can critically think and appreciate all parts of their past in their contexts. I need not become so enamored by jargon, nor should others. Beneath the veneer is little else. As far as contemporary movement engaging in post-colonial thought, all Sikh groups that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial (since these are your measures of time, not mine!). The Truth is Timeless!

    • ssingh says:

      posted by ??? ?????: "Jodha, please avoid using straw-man arguments and red herrings"

      can you please try again – reformulate your thoughts/post – except keeping this advice in mind?

    • ssingh says:

      posted by ??? ?????: "Jodha, please avoid using straw-man arguments and red herrings"

      can you please try again – reformulate your thoughts/post – except keeping this advice in mind?

    • ??? ????? says:

      Jodha,

      The first paragraph that you've forwarded here seems right to me so I must agree with your basic evaluation of post-modern discourse in its incapacity to free itself from a meta-narrative. With regards to the rest of your post, I must echo ssingh here. I did not demonstrate that the meaning of pomo depends on context, but that in various cases, of, for instance, art and literature, post-modernism doesn't depend on the death of Modern thought prior to it. But, we can ignore these issues to discuss what is really at hand. You say:

      "Sikhs can critically think and appreciate all parts of their past in their contexts. I need not become so enamored by jargon, nor should others. Beneath the veneer is little else."

      'Beneath the veneer is little else'. Can you demonstrate what this means? By all means, I don't think anyone thinks it is praiseworthy or useful to become 'enamored by jargon'. So, your platitude doesn't do anything for me, but I'd rather get to your point if it has any substance. What do you mean that the jargon of scholarship, including Sikh scholarship that is coming to terms and exploring the depths of colonialism/imperial history/orientalism, has little else beneath its veneer?

      Here's another platitude of yours:

      "As far as contemporary movement engaging in post-colonial thought, all Sikh groups that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial (since these are your measures of time, not mine!). The Truth is Timeless!"

      "All Sikhs that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are colonial"???? What does that even mean? Is it that _all_ Sikhs who draw their inspiration from Gurbani are colonial subjects in the way we've been talking about in this thread????

      • ??? ????? says:

        Jodha, Please clarify.

        1. You've just said that in regards to Sikh scholars exploring methods and issues regarding post-coloniality, "beneath the veneer is little else".

        2. You also said that, "All Sikhs that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are colonial."

        Can you stand by these claims?

        • Jodha says:

          No Commenter, I probably cannot stand by your misrepresentation of my claims.

          However, yes I can stand by my original claims.

          Yes, for the most part the output of many post-colonial studies, whether applied to Sikh Studies or elsewhere has had little impact in the academy outside it. Hopefully you will produce something to change that. The "turn" that was post-modernism is being left behind in most academic disciplines.

          About the 2nd comment, since you 'fetishize' the colonial period, I wrote:

          all Sikh groups that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial. The Truth is Timeless!

          The spirit of the Khalsa ties Sikh history. It was there before the colonial period, it was there during the colonial period, it continues after the colonial period. Again, why the 'colonial' experience should be our primary category of analysis and the focus of fetishization is beyond me, but feel free to continue. Best wishes brother!

        • ??? ????? says:

          Clarification: my quoting you should read: "All Sikhs that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are… colonial".

  8. Jodha says:

    Ok commenter,

    Those in the know are aware that 'post-modernism' represents certain methodologies, but also has come to form its own dogmas in being opposed to what they often term the "Enlightenment project." It has its own formations in this particular academic tradition, but those that have carried these dogmas into other fields. They are also set within this academic tradition.

    With regard to the notion of the eradication of colonialism as a necessary pre-requisite to post-colonial thought, it was obviously a joke (geez, lighten up), but a poignant one nonetheless.

    Yes "post-modernism" means different things in different contexts. Great job! Just like there is baroque art, baroque music, baroque architecture, etc. These movements don't always mean the same thing, nor are they all even within the same time period.

    Sikhs can critically think and appreciate all parts of their past in their contexts. I need not become so enamored by jargon, nor should others. Beneath the veneer is little else. As far as contemporary movement engaging in post-colonial thought, all Sikh groups that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial (since these are your measures of time, not mine!). The Truth is Timeless!

    • ssingh says:

      posted by ??? ?????: "Jodha, please avoid using straw-man arguments and red herrings"

      can you please try again – reformulate your thoughts/post – except keeping this advice in mind?

    • ssingh says:

      posted by ??? ?????: "Jodha, please avoid using straw-man arguments and red herrings"

      can you please try again – reformulate your thoughts/post – except keeping this advice in mind?

    • ??? ????? says:

      Jodha,

      The first paragraph that you've forwarded here seems right to me so I must agree with your basic evaluation of post-modern discourse in its incapacity to free itself from a meta-narrative. With regards to the rest of your post, I must echo ssingh here. I did not demonstrate that the meaning of pomo depends on context, but that in various cases, of, for instance, art and literature, post-modernism doesn't depend on the death of Modern thought prior to it. But, we can ignore these issues to discuss what is really at hand. You say:

      "Sikhs can critically think and appreciate all parts of their past in their contexts. I need not become so enamored by jargon, nor should others. Beneath the veneer is little else."

      'Beneath the veneer is little else'. Can you demonstrate what this means? By all means, I don't think anyone thinks it is praiseworthy or useful to become 'enamored by jargon'. So, your platitude doesn't do anything for me, but I'd rather get to your point if it has any substance. What do you mean that the jargon of scholarship, including Sikh scholarship that is coming to terms and exploring the depths of colonialism/imperial history/orientalism, has little else beneath its veneer?

      Here's another platitude of yours:

      "As far as contemporary movement engaging in post-colonial thought, all Sikh groups that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial (since these are your measures of time, not mine!). The Truth is Timeless!"

      "All Sikhs that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are colonial"???? What does that even mean? Is it that _all_ Sikhs who draw their inspiration from Gurbani are colonial subjects in the way we've been talking about in this thread????

      • ??? ????? says:

        Jodha, Please clarify.

        1. You've just said that in regards to Sikh scholars exploring methods and issues regarding post-coloniality, "beneath the veneer is little else".

        2. You also said that, "All Sikhs that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are colonial."

        Can you stand by these claims?

        • ??? ????? says:

          Clarification: my quoting you should read: "All Sikhs that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are… colonial".

        • Jodha says:

          No Commenter, I probably cannot stand by your misrepresentation of my claims.

          However, yes I can stand by my original claims.

          Yes, for the most part the output of many post-colonial studies, whether applied to Sikh Studies or elsewhere has had little impact in the academy outside it. Hopefully you will produce something to change that. The "turn" that was post-modernism is being left behind in most academic disciplines.

          About the 2nd comment, since you 'fetishize' the colonial period, I wrote:

          all Sikh groups that draw their inspiration from Gurbani are pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial. The Truth is Timeless!

          The spirit of the Khalsa ties Sikh history. It was there before the colonial period, it was there during the colonial period, it continues after the colonial period. Again, why the 'colonial' experience should be our primary category of analysis and the focus of fetishization is beyond me, but feel free to continue. Best wishes brother!

  9. P.Singh says:

    I like to think, perhaps incorrectly, that I'm not super-dumb. And I don't mean normal dumb, like when Jason Kidd said “We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees”.

    I mean super dumb, like when Britney Spears said “I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.”

    Reading the back-and-forth discussion makes me feel a tad super dumb.

    Now, I can't figure out whether I'm an orientalist, imperialist, post-colonialist, or a post-modernist. I'm pretty sure that's not the right context, but when I'm confused, I create my own context – it makes me happy.

    If someone had thrown the word "king" anywhere in the above posts, I could have latched on to that. I KNOW Singh is King – bumper stickers in Surrey say so.

    Dumb it down for the rest of us (or just me) y'all. Or maybe we can come back to the Anand Karaj Act, the history around it, and the motivation behind it :)

    Seriously, by the time I get back from eating my tempura roll in Uganda…

    • Jodha says:

      I am with you P.Singh. This debate is little more than 'sterile fecundity' (how's that for some SAT words, or whatever you all take in Canada). The debate produces a lot of words, but remains sterile as it doesn't say much. Oh well, welcome to academia.

      On to tempura in Uganda!

    • ??? ????? says:

      P. Singh,

      As you must know, Sikhs are notoriously stereotyped as backwards, illiterate, barbaric people by Indians and Americans. The common stereotype in the Indian film industry involves the stupid joker Sikh who makes himself look as stupid as he is visually portrayed.

      On the second case is someone like Jodha, who echos the Sarah Palin/George Bush/McCain line: We don't need no stinkin' intellecshuls tellin' us what to do. The problem is not that Jodha and the likes here at TheLangarHall aren't smart. It doesn't matter if they are, and being smart is not a terribly fantastic virtue anyways imho. The problem is their haughty, priggish approach in which they so confidently proclaim evaluate right from wrong (Just look at the vacuous and doltish assessment of the Singh Sabha legacy here: http://thelangarhall.com/sikhi/sikhri-and-the-ana… ). But, if Jodha wants to actually say anything _substantial_ and _serious_ about these important matters, he can't.

      Look at what he just said, "The debate produces a lot of words, but remains sterile as it doesn't say much. Oh well, welcome to academia." This celebration of ignorance is beyond me. What major global movement (no, I'm not talking about the Jakara Movement here) has not taken its shape in academia? The internet? Globalism? Imperialism? International human rights discourse? The Space race? The Cold War? All of these have been crucially and essentially taken place by virtue of academic and scholarly projections and subsequent political maneuvers. Jodha doesn't get this. Jodha, and the rest of TheLangarHall, would rather talk about turbans in fashion magazines. And yet, Jodha has the confidence to blindly assert: "The debate produces a lot of words, but remains sterile as it doesn't say much. Oh well, welcome to academia."

      Jodha's puny grasp of the behind-the-scene factors that have taken hold of the Western Sikhs, and Punjabi ones too, is only exemplified by his over-glorification of low-level activism. So, what is the recourse? To diss scholarship, of course! Look at his phrasing. Instead of discussing the merits of writing or literature, or of the contemporary state of Sikh Studies, Jodha dismisses scholars by saying such Fox News things as, "Yes, for the most part the output of many post-colonial studies, whether applied to Sikh Studies or elsewhere has had little impact in the academy outside it." First of all, It's wrong. Just look at the profound effect Edward Said's (for instance) work has had throughout the humanities, the multiplicity of field studies, sociology, and philosophy, and subsequently the genres of non-Western poetry, activism in a variety of contexts including the Palestine/Israel conflict and the Sudan, and the force of NGOs working in India to defend scheduled castes from the onslaught of the Indian government. For a self-proclaimed activist, Jodha is embarrassingly ignorant on how post-colonial thought has profoundly impacted NGO operations in places like Afghanistan, India, in the context of immigrant labor in Southern California for just one instance, and throughout Africa. And that's just one, albeit strong, scholar, Edward Said.

      Second of all, look at how Jodha defends his saying that, "beneath the veneer there is little else," by saying, post-colonial studies (both in and outside of the context of Sikh Studies) "has had little impact in the academy outside it". What was at hand was the soundness of Sikh academics and their approach. So, one might innocently enough think that whether a Sikh scholar's writing is sound or not depends on its merits as a thoughtful, well-researched, or poetic piece of literature. Nay, not for Jodha! For Jodha, there is little beneath the veneer, i.e. Sikh Studies and post-colonial thought is shallow, because it has little impact (which, of course is a false statement). Yes, this sounds a lot like Fox News here. Just recall Bill O'Reilly's obsession with what ratings various competing newscasts get, without having anything to say as to whether they deserve merit.

      Now, P. Singh, to address your concerns explicitly. You shouldn't feel dumb, because you shouldn't be expected to be well-conversant in these terms. You, I assume, have no vested interest in these concepts and have never felt the need to come to terms with them. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. What's at issue is not that Jodha doesn't know what he's talking about (which, he doesn't), but that he can so confidently judge people and their approaches, and evaluate who is in the right and who is in the wrong, without doing his homework. And moreover, he celebrate this ignorance. Hey I rarely did my homework in high school, but it wasn't anything to celebrate.

  10. P.Singh says:

    I like to think, perhaps incorrectly, that I'm not super-dumb. And I don't mean normal dumb, like when Jason Kidd said “We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees”.

    I mean super dumb, like when Britney Spears said “I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.”

    Reading the back-and-forth discussion makes me feel a tad super dumb.

    Now, I can't figure out whether I'm an orientalist, imperialist, post-colonialist, or a post-modernist. I'm pretty sure that's not the right context, but when I'm confused, I create my own context – it makes me happy.

    If someone had thrown the word "king" anywhere in the above posts, I could have latched on to that. I KNOW Singh is King – bumper stickers in Surrey say so.

    Dumb it down for the rest of us (or just me) y'all. Or maybe we can come back to the Anand Karaj Act, the history around it, and the motivation behind it :)

    Seriously, by the time I get back from eating my tempura roll in Uganda…

    • Jodha says:

      I am with you P.Singh. This debate is little more than 'sterile fecundity' (how's that for some SAT words, or whatever you all take in Canada). The debate produces a lot of words, but remains sterile as it doesn't say much. Oh well, welcome to academia.

      On to tempura in Uganda!

    • ??? ????? says:

      P. Singh,

      As you must know, Sikhs are notoriously stereotyped as backwards, illiterate, barbaric people by Indians and Americans. The common stereotype in the Indian film industry involves the stupid joker Sikh who makes himself look as stupid as he is visually portrayed.

      On the second case is someone like Jodha, who echos the Sarah Palin/George Bush/McCain line: We don't need no stinkin' intellecshuls tellin' us what to do. The problem is not that Jodha and the likes here at TheLangarHall aren't smart. It doesn't matter if they are, and being smart is not a terribly fantastic virtue anyways imho. The problem is their haughty, priggish approach in which they so confidently proclaim evaluate right from wrong (Just look at the vacuous and doltish assessment of the Singh Sabha legacy here: http://thelangarhall.com/sikhi/sikhri-and-the-ana… ). But, if Jodha wants to actually say anything _substantial_ and _serious_ about these important matters, he can't.

      Look at what he just said, "The debate produces a lot of words, but remains sterile as it doesn't say much. Oh well, welcome to academia." This celebration of ignorance is beyond me. What major global movement (no, I'm not talking about the Jakara Movement here) has not taken its shape in academia? The internet? Globalism? Imperialism? International human rights discourse? The Space race? The Cold War? All of these have been crucially and essentially taken place by virtue of academic and scholarly projections and subsequent political maneuvers. Jodha doesn't get this. Jodha, and the rest of TheLangarHall, would rather talk about turbans in fashion magazines. And yet, Jodha has the confidence to blindly assert: "The debate produces a lot of words, but remains sterile as it doesn't say much. Oh well, welcome to academia."

      Jodha's puny grasp of the behind-the-scene factors that have taken hold of the Western Sikhs, and Punjabi ones too, is only exemplified by his over-glorification of low-level activism. So, what is the recourse? To diss scholarship, of course! Look at his phrasing. Instead of discussing the merits of writing or literature, or of the contemporary state of Sikh Studies, Jodha dismisses scholars by saying such Fox News things as, "Yes, for the most part the output of many post-colonial studies, whether applied to Sikh Studies or elsewhere has had little impact in the academy outside it." First of all, It's wrong. Just look at the profound effect Edward Said's (for instance) work has had throughout the humanities, the multiplicity of field studies, sociology, and philosophy, and subsequently the genres of non-Western poetry, activism in a variety of contexts including the Palestine/Israel conflict and the Sudan, and the force of NGOs working in India to defend scheduled castes from the onslaught of the Indian government. For a self-proclaimed activist, Jodha is embarrassingly ignorant on how post-colonial thought has profoundly impacted NGO operations in places like Afghanistan, India, in the context of immigrant labor in Southern California for just one instance, and throughout Africa. And that's just one, albeit strong, scholar, Edward Said.

      Second of all, look at how Jodha defends his saying that, "beneath the veneer there is little else," by saying, post-colonial studies (both in and outside of the context of Sikh Studies) "has had little impact in the academy outside it". What was at hand was the soundness of Sikh academics and their approach. So, one might innocently enough think that whether a Sikh scholar's writing is sound or not depends on its merits as a thoughtful, well-researched, or poetic piece of literature. Nay, not for Jodha! For Jodha, there is little beneath the veneer, i.e. Sikh Studies and post-colonial thought is shallow, because it has little impact (which, of course is a false statement). Yes, this sounds a lot like Fox News here. Just recall Bill O'Reilly's obsession with what ratings various competing newscasts get, without having anything to say as to whether they deserve merit.

      Now, P. Singh, to address your concerns explicitly. You shouldn't feel dumb, because you shouldn't be expected to be well-conversant in these terms. You, I assume, have no vested interest in these concepts and have never felt the need to come to terms with them. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. What's at issue is not that Jodha doesn't know what he's talking about (which, he doesn't), but that he can so confidently judge people and their approaches, and evaluate who is in the right and who is in the wrong, without doing his homework. And moreover, he celebrate this ignorance. Hey I rarely did my homework in high school, but it wasn't anything to celebrate.

  11. Rohan says:

    what the hell are you guys talking about??!? just enjoy the damn post.

  12. Rohan says:

    what the hell are you guys talking about??!? just enjoy the damn post.

  13. P.Singh says:

    You're right, I don't have any vested interest in the mentioned terms, and have never felt any real desire or need to examine these terms beyond my layman's understanding of them.

    I wrote my post, a little-tongue-in-cheek, hoping to lighten the mood a bit, get us off each other's throats, and back to the subject at hand; to my layman's eyes, it seems more a personal battle at the moment.

    Chalo (that is one fine Punjabi word – excellent for closing a post, when you don't know how else to end it).

    • ??? ????? says:

      P. Singh,

      I guess have a problem with people (Jodha)/blogs (TLH) who find it so easy to slander Sikhs as "neo-Brahmins". But your mood-lightening impulse is well appreciated. Chalo.

  14. P.Singh says:

    You're right, I don't have any vested interest in the mentioned terms, and have never felt any real desire or need to examine these terms beyond my layman's understanding of them.

    I wrote my post, a little-tongue-in-cheek, hoping to lighten the mood a bit, get us off each other's throats, and back to the subject at hand; to my layman's eyes, it seems more a personal battle at the moment.

    Chalo (that is one fine Punjabi word – excellent for closing a post, when you don't know how else to end it).

    • ??? ????? says:

      P. Singh,

      I guess have a problem with people (Jodha)/blogs (TLH) who find it so easy to slander Sikhs as "neo-Brahmins". But your mood-lightening impulse is well appreciated. Chalo.

  15. Jodha says:

    Commenter,

    You truly believe that the academy leads? You really do have a 19th century philosopher's view of the world. How quaint!

    You exaggerate Said's impact. Important absolutely, maybe even path-breaking (for Americans, who had yet to read Foucault), but utility today, even in academia – not much. If Sikh Studies was so sound and innovative, you would think that those in the field would be heavily quoted and vetted by other academics. For the most part they aren't (few exceptions do exist) and their work is largely seen as derivative.

    Yes commenter, you afterall know all (or at least are willing to bully and threaten people until they at least keep quiet). Sorry, not here.

    • ???????????? says:

      Jodha,

      Instead of posturing with these vague questions "You truly believe that the academy leads?", I wish you would just confront the questions and issues I've brought up in the last post(s). But, I guess I'm not going to get much out of you. Dialoguing with you is becoming impossible.

      You concede that post-colonial thought is absolutely important and potentially path-breaking. And then you say that it is not used enough. What does this have to do with anything? I told you that popularity contests are the business of FOX NEWS, and I suggested you pay mind to the cogency of argument that these thinkers produce. But you willfully ignored that. How can I get through to you? For instance, amongst Sikhs, Jakara and this blog are inconsequential. Therefore, according to your argument, there is nothing beneath the veneer when it comes to Jakara and this The Langar Hall blog (I agree with this conclusion, but for independent reasons). For another example, replace 'Sikh Studies' with Jakara/The Langar Hall and 'academics' with activists in your sentence: "If Jakara/The Langar Hall Studies was so sound and innovative, you would think that those in the field would be heavily quoted and vetted by other activists." See how you're just refuting your own project? According to your standards, proper and sound work is determined by the work's popularity. That is ridiculous. According to your argument, Sikhi is not sound or innovative, because it is not popular in respect to the 6 billion people in the world. Seriously, how base. I expect more from 'We Are The Movement!'.

      "For the most part they aren't (few exceptions do exist) and their work is largely seen as derivative. " Can you list names? Can you tell us who you mean here? I've asked you several times here to actually inform readers here whom you are talking about and from where you are drawing when it comes to post-colonialism and Sikhs. Just please say 'No. I will not.' so I can put this thing to a rest.

  16. Jodha says:

    Commenter,

    You truly believe that the academy leads? You really do have a 19th century philosopher's view of the world. How quaint!

    You exaggerate Said's impact. Important absolutely, maybe even path-breaking (for Americans, who had yet to read Foucault), but utility today, even in academia – not much. If Sikh Studies was so sound and innovative, you would think that those in the field would be heavily quoted and vetted by other academics. For the most part they aren't (few exceptions do exist) and their work is largely seen as derivative.

    Yes commenter, you afterall know all (or at least are willing to bully and threaten people until they at least keep quiet). Sorry, not here.

    • شماسادههستيد says:

      Jodha,

      Instead of posturing with these vague questions "You truly believe that the academy leads?", I wish you would just confront the questions and issues I've brought up in the last post(s). But, I guess I'm not going to get much out of you. Dialoguing with you is becoming impossible.

      You concede that post-colonial thought is absolutely important and potentially path-breaking. And then you say that it is not used enough. What does this have to do with anything? I told you that popularity contests are the business of FOX NEWS, and I suggested you pay mind to the cogency of argument that these thinkers produce. But you willfully ignored that. How can I get through to you? For instance, amongst Sikhs, Jakara and this blog are inconsequential. Therefore, according to your argument, there is nothing beneath the veneer when it comes to Jakara and this The Langar Hall blog (I agree with this conclusion, but for independent reasons). For another example, replace 'Sikh Studies' with Jakara/The Langar Hall and 'academics' with activists in your sentence: "If Jakara/The Langar Hall Studies was so sound and innovative, you would think that those in the field would be heavily quoted and vetted by other activists." See how you're just refuting your own project? According to your standards, proper and sound work is determined by the work's popularity. That is ridiculous. According to your argument, Sikhi is not sound or innovative, because it is not popular in respect to the 6 billion people in the world. Seriously, how base. I expect more from 'We Are The Movement!'.

      "For the most part they aren't (few exceptions do exist) and their work is largely seen as derivative. " Can you list names? Can you tell us who you mean here? I've asked you several times here to actually inform readers here whom you are talking about and from where you are drawing when it comes to post-colonialism and Sikhs. Just please say 'No. I will not.' so I can put this thing to a rest.

  17. ??? ????? says:

    Jodha,

    It seems you've deleted my last post in which I responded to what you just wrote here (assumedly under the guise of me posting under an alternate name since I was on a different computer). You need to repost what I wrote under the name ????????????. I of course take responsibility for that post, and I'm sure you can do the IP tracking stuff to verify that. Restore that comment.

    It's become quite clear that I'm not going to be able to get anywhere with you on this subject, since you refuse to engage my actual arguments and points. But, rather, in a FOX NEWS fashion would rather appeal to popularity contests: "If Sikh Studies was so sound and innovative, you would think that those in the field would be heavily quoted and vetted by other academics." I don't think it's too far off to venture that you've not read these texts you talk about. At the VERY LEAST, please at least answer the question I've asked you AT LEAST 3 times already:

    You say: "For the most part they [Sikh scholars] aren't (few exceptions do exist) and their work is largely seen as derivative." Whose works do you refer to here as derivative, and which works are the exceptions? Please answer this question! I beg you pretty please!

  18. ??? ????? says:

    Jodha,

    It seems you've deleted my last post in which I responded to what you just wrote here (assumedly under the guise of me posting under an alternate name since I was on a different computer). You need to repost what I wrote under the name ????????????. I of course take responsibility for that post, and I'm sure you can do the IP tracking stuff to verify that. Restore that comment.

    It's become quite clear that I'm not going to be able to get anywhere with you on this subject, since you refuse to engage my actual arguments and points. But, rather, in a FOX NEWS fashion would rather appeal to popularity contests: "If Sikh Studies was so sound and innovative, you would think that those in the field would be heavily quoted and vetted by other academics." I don't think it's too far off to venture that you've not read these texts you talk about. At the VERY LEAST, please at least answer the question I've asked you AT LEAST 3 times already:

    You say: "For the most part they [Sikh scholars] aren't (few exceptions do exist) and their work is largely seen as derivative." Whose works do you refer to here as derivative, and which works are the exceptions? Please answer this question! I beg you pretty please!

  19. Barack-attul-Hussain says:

    Alas! if only all debates were as convenient as this! All one needs is to declare the truth -academic/critical study of Sikhi is worthless- and its done. No need for sources, coherence, or any sort an ethics of discussion.

  20. Barack-attul-Hussain-Obama says:

    Alas! if only all debates were as convenient as this! All one needs is to declare the truth -academic/critical study of Sikhi is worthless- and its done. No need for sources, coherence, or any sort an ethics of discussion.

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