Abstract and Keywords
The paper begins with a critique of the popular/Orientalist view of Indian society that conceptualizes caste in unitary terms, as a pan-Indian system, organized around the notion of varna hierarchy. Though caste is indeed a fact of life in Punjab and among the Sikhs living elsewhere, the Sikhs’ social structure has its own specificity and historicity. Even though ideas of hierarchy and untouchability have been a part of life, the Sikh religious ideology does not support caste-based social divisions. Caste in the Sikh Panth has also seen many changes over the last century. The ‘rearticulation’ of Sikh identity during the religious reform movements meant a rejection of caste, popularly viewed as a Hindu practice. Democratic politics and economic development have changed caste-based social relations.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.