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date: 24 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article seeks to account for the development of Sikh nationalism as a discourse which ‘interpellates’ Sikhs as subjects of a ‘national’ community centred on the Khalsa Panth. Conventional approaches to the study of Sikh ethno-nationalism, based on Western theories of nationalism, regard territoriality to be an inevitable feature of the nationalist discourse. Claims to Sikh nationhood are seen to rest on the existence of a territorially defined homeland in the Punjab. It is argued here, however, that the values upon which Sikh nationhood are based are universal and not confined to a particular ethnic group or territory. In short, the Sikh nation exists wherever Sikhs congregate and maintain the external symbols of the Sikh faith. Furthermore, it is suggested that this notion of ‘embodied sovereignty’ is more suited to the needs of our globalizing world than the emphasis on territorialized sovereignty upon which the movement for Khalistan is based.

Keywords: nation, nationalism, Khalsa, Khalistan, Sikhism, sovereignty, territoriality, globalization

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