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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Punjābiyat or Punjabiness evokes contradictory images of a splintered identity as well as of a potentially powerful economic, political, and cultural force. We focus in this article on the relationship between Sikh culture and Punjābiyat to explore this contradictory nature. Punjābiyat acts as a unifying force, but not always taking the best elements of Sikhī. It temporarily erases the internal tension within Sikhī generated by the gap between ideals and lived experience. A constructive relation between Punjābiyat and Sikh culture needs to be conceived dialectically. The universal values of equality enshrined within Sikhi can be enlivened by the openness and inclusiveness of Punjābiyat. The individualism, conspicuous consumption, and degraded machismo that mark Punjabi identity, in turn, can be tempered by Sikhī, alongside various Sant traditions. The availability of cultural productions in Punjabi language, to assist in the evolution of this symbiotic relation, is crucial.

Keywords: Casteism, culture, diaspora, equalitarian, identity, language, Punjab, Punjābiyat, Sikhī, sovereignty, symbiotic relation

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