Shared Histories

My research has shown that Sikh and Muslim relations in the contemporary diasporic condition have been significantly informed by shared, complex, and troubled histories. The key defining historical features that have come to shape Sikh and Muslim relations appear to cluster around: Mughal rule, Partition violence, and migration and settlement.

Mughal Rule

The emergence of the Sikh community has often been represented through a series of bloody battles with Mughal authorities in the Punjab. Here we are presented with stories of the Sikh community being coerced into conversion to Islam and sons and husbands being executed in front of Sikh women. Narratives of Sikh resistance and the […]

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Partition, by Sujata Bhatt “She was nineteen-years-old then and when she stood in her garden she could hear the cries of the people stranded in the Ahmedabad railway station. She felt it was endless – their noise – a new sound added to the city. Her aunt, her father’s sister, would go to the station […]

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Migration Histories and Diaspora

“The ‘immigrant’, rather than the social institutions and social policies responsible for the problems of what later came to be described as ‘inner-city’ areas, became the object of their resentment. This resentment was reflected in the negative constructions of the ‘immigrant.’ As was the case during the British Raj, it was Asian cultural practices which […]

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North American Context

South Asian migration to North America can be traced back to the early 1900s, where in very small numbers, mainly males travelled to the US and Canada for agricultural labour. Despite the low levels of migration in the early phases, both the US and Canada showed overt hostility towards the community where they were subjected […]

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Komagata Maru Incident

The Komagata Maru incident of 1914 alerts us to the challenging history of Sikh migration to British Columbia, where many Sikhs and South Asians including Muslims and Hindus, found themselves immediately confronted with Canada’s explicit exercise of racist practices and policies. The Komagata Maru incident involved Gurdit Singh, a Sikh man, who chartered a Japanese […]

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British Context

The 1950s of Britain marked the most notable episode of postcolonial immigration. Accounts examining South Asian migration to Britain tend to characterise the migration process within a dualistic framework whereby notions of rural-urban, traditional-modern, religious-secular and centre-periphery, often frame the way in which the connection between South Asian movement and the formation of overseas communities […]

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