- The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies: Reflections on the current State of Play in an Emergent Discipline
Edited by two leading scholars, this compendium is undoubtedly a landmark, no less in the field of Sikh studies than of Punjab studies. But just how do the two disciplines relate to one another? That they intertwine is plain to see, since the former is intrinsically a component of latter. But if that is so, just how is that intertwinement best understood? Is it the case that Sikh studies is so unique that it deserves to be filleted out into a singular disciplinary strand in its own right, running in parallel to, but independent of, strands labelled (Punjabi) Hindu studies, (Punjabi) Muslim studies and so forth? Moreover is it the case that each of those strands can be boiled down to an orthodox essence? Or are they all just as extensively internally multi-stranded themselves? But if so, just how and why have clashes between these perspectives arisen? Are they of ancient origin, or is it the case that the current search for religious purity is a thoroughly modern phenomenon – namely an egregious outcome of ideological and political disputes which emerged in the colonial era, and which have become even more vigorous in post-colonial times, thereby undermining the integrity of Punjab’s long-established condition of religious and socio-cultural plurality?
Postcolonial nationalist elites maintained the structures of power they had inherited from the colonial experience, and as a rule after gaining so-called independence for their countries, they often aggressively pursued the very same colonial policies they had fiercely fought against during the colonial period. They inherited from Europe a readymade nation-state (with its constitutive power structures) for which the existing social formations had not been adequately prepared.
The political, legal, and cultural struggles of today's Muslims stem from dissonance between their moral and cultural aspirations, on the one hand, and the moral realities of a modern world, on the other – realities with which they must live, but were not of their own making.
- Religious reconstruction in wake of the European enlightenment: Post-colonial developments in Christendom and Dar ul-Islam by Roger Ballard
Religious traditions are never either homogeneous or static, if only because they are constantly being reinvented by those involved. Whilst processes of reconstruction and reinterpretation of established beliefs and practice are consequently ever present, they become particularly salient in times of socio-political chaos and disruption.
- Changing interpretations of Shari’a, ‘Urf and Qanun - by Roger Ballard
- Religious reconstruction in wake of the European enlightenment: Post-colonial developments in Christendom and Dar ul-Islam
- by Roger Ballard
this paper seeks to explore the dialectics of the ideological responses of Euro-America’s new-found Imperial subjects during the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in which premises of the European enlightenment attained a position of global hegemony, and the way in which those processes have in many ways been re-discovered and further re-interpreted in the more recent post-colonial period, during which diasporic migrants from the Global South, and especially their locally-born offspring, have established thriving ethnic colonies in Europe’s former metropolitan heartlands.
Mādri Muzhub in the Punjabi diaspora: the re-establishment of meaning in an alien environment - by Roger Ballard
Building further on the analysis developed above, this paper explores the ways in which the resources of the kismetic domain are being deployed to reconstruct metaphisically-grounded worlds of meaning and purpose by Punjabi settlers in the UK
Panth, Kismet, Dharm te Qaum: four dimensions of Punjabi religion - by Roger Ballard
Against the background of ever greater levels of ethnic polarization between all three of Punjab's major religious traditions, and a resulting tendency for each tradition to be represented in essentialistic terms, this paper sets out to show that the historical roots of these tendencies are extremely shallow. Developing a counter-view, it suggests that such politically-driven understandings of the religious scene in Punjab are strongly Euro-centric in character, and argues that a greater sensitivity to the logic of popular ideas and practices, together with an awareness of the different levels at which Punjabi religion operates reveals a much higher level of overlap between the three traditions than current discourse normally allows for.
- Islam and the Construction of Europe - by Roger Ballard
This paper explores the historical grounding of Europe-as-Christendom, and suggests on that basis not only that the greater part of contemporary Western European Islamophobia is but a rearticulation of an ideology which was first established in the aftermath of the Crusades, but also that the much more generalized fear of alterity which is such a characteristic feature of Western European cultural traditions can be traced back to the theological and cosmological vision originally propagated by Saint Augustine.
Popular Islam in Pakistan and its reconstruction in Britain - by Roger Ballard
The core of this paper is an empirical account of the way in which Islam - as popularly understood - pervades the lives, thoughts, and experiences of the rural population of Pakistani Punjab. It then goes on to suggest that these understandings - which often differ sharply from those currently regarded as orthodox' - are nevertheless directly inspired by a creative admixture between spiritual traditions which are indigenous to South Asia and the teachings of Muin-ud-Din Ibn 'Arabi. Last but not least it considers the additional transformations which are currently being precipitated as this tradition re-establishes itself in the UK.
The Politics of Religion in Punjab - by Roger Ballard
An exploration of the roots and development of processes of ethno-religious polarization in contermporary Punjab.
Religion and the Legitimation of Violence - by Roger Ballard
A review of historical variations in the nexus between religion and violence in the Christian, Muslim and Hindu traditions presented as a background to the growing impact of Protestant-inspired neo-fundamentalism in all three of these traditions during the course of the the past century.
Continuity And Variety In Islamic Thought And Practice: A Cosmologically Grounded Overview - by Roger Ballard
A brief text-book style introduction to Islamic theology.
- The conceptual foundations of the Hindu Cosmological vision: and intoroductory glossary - by Roger Ballard
The Development of the Sikh Tradition - by Roger Ballard
Prepared for Microsoft Encarta, this article appeared in the 1996 version. However as a result of protests organized through Khalsanet, Microsoft headquarters in Seattle (which found itself bombarded with emails) removed this article from the next edition.
'My Dad's Hindu, my Mum's side are Sikhs': Issues in religious identity - by Eleanor Nesbitt
This detailed ethnographic study of popular forms of religious belief and practice amongst east Punjabi migrants and their British-born offspring provides a richly illuminating insight into the complex character of the processes of religious construction which have begun to take place within Britain's rapidly maturing South Asian Ethnic colonies. As such this study offers a powerful antidote to idealized - and hence misleadingly essentialised - accounts of South Asian religions as free-standing, autonomous and internally homogeneous entities.
Challenging Paradigms: Popular Religious Practice in South Asia - by Roger Ballard
Arguing that observations of everyday religious and spiritual practice provides a necessary complement to the study of textual sources, this presentation (which can also be viewed as an on-line slide show) explores the remarkable continuities in the devotional activities which take place at Punjabi shrines - no matter whether they are nominally designated as 'Hindu', 'Sikh' or Muslim.
The Legitimization of a Regional Folk Cult: the Transmigration of Baba Balaknath from Rural Punjab to Urban Europe - by Ron Geaves
The Bitter Drama of the Sikhs - by Roger Ballard
This paper, which originally appeared in New Society, was published in the immediate aftermath of the Indian Army's assault on the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984. It sets the rising support gained by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the economic and political context of that period.
Punjab's Uneasy Calm - by Roger Ballard
A report from Punjab written twelve months after the assault on the Golden Temple.
Waris Shah's epic tale of The Adventures of Hir and Ranjha, as translated by Frederick Usborne
- The History and Current Position of Afghanistan’s Hindu and Sikh Population - by Roger Ballard
An overview of the history of Afghanistan's indigenous Sikh and Hindu population, of the diaporic exodus precipitated by the rising forces of neo-fundamentalism, and the efforts of the UK immigration authorities to dismiss and disregard these developments.
The Logic of Cremation in Indic Contexts: An Anthropological Analysis - by Roger Ballard
An expert report prepared for use in a Judicial Review of the Newcastle City Council's interpretation of the 1902 Cremation Act, and its consequent decision that not to allow open pyre cremations conducted according to Hindu rites to be performed within its jurisdiction.
Three further Addenda to the above- by Roger Ballard
Prepared for a conference on current developments in Islamic Family Law, this paper takes the opportunity to compare and contrast the meaning of ‘law’ in general, and ‘family law’ in particular in the classical Shari’a tradition with the premises which currently underpin contemporary forms of post‐enlightment European Family Law. Having done so, it goes on to explore the way in which the institutions of the Shari’a have been comprehensively remoulded (if not yet entirely wholly eliminated) in the course of confrontations with the impact of ‘progressive’ impact of hegemonic European ideological assumptions, no less in colonial, post‐colonial and diasporic contexts.