Abstract and Keywords
This essay discusses the context of the formation of 'Sikhism', a term that has served since the nineteenth century to identify Sikh thought and praxis as a world religion. This context arguably extends beyond the historical conditions of an emergent Eurocentric modernity and coloniality to the contemporary discourses of Euro-American postmodernity and postcoloniality. Whilst an examination of this Western contextualization of an Indian praxis is essential to understand the transition from a precolonial sikhi to modern/colonial Sikhism, this study examines this contextualization as both exceeding and disrupting the linear temporality suggested by the prefixes pre- and post- (e.g. precolonial to postcolonial, premodern to postmodern). In response, the essay posits a postcolonial sikhi(sm): that is, a living tradition that reanimates a precolonial sikhi within the Western imaginary and yet escapes the reinscription of the modern/colonial frame.
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