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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article offers an analysis of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the principal Sikh politico-religious organization functioning as a regional political party of Punjab. It delineates the origin of SAD as coordinating agency for the Gurdwara Reform Movement in 1920s and its transformation into a political party to protect and promote Sikh sociopolitical and religious interests before and after independence. It assesses its role in the struggle for the formation of the Punjabi-linguistic state (Punjabi Suba) and as an alternative ruling party in the reorganized Punjab. It also critically evaluates SAD's sociocultural and economic programmes; itsperformance in Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) and legislative elections; its relations with Congress, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), and earlier with the Muslim League and the Unionist Party. It points out the challenges SAD faces in balancing its role to represent region and religion, Punjab and the Panth and widespread factionalism in Sikh affairs.

Keywords: Akali, Shiromani Akali Dal, Panth, Punjabi Suba, SGPC, Congress, BJP, Muslim League, Unionist Party

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