Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants

Overview

The ethnic and religious violence that characterized the late twentieth century calls for new ways of thinking and writing about politics. Listening to the voices of people who experience political violence—either as victims or as perpetrators—gives new insights into both the sources of violent conflict and the potential for its resolution.

Drawing on her extensive interviews and conversations with Sikh militants, Cynthia Keppley Mahmood presents their accounts of the human ...

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Overview

The ethnic and religious violence that characterized the late twentieth century calls for new ways of thinking and writing about politics. Listening to the voices of people who experience political violence—either as victims or as perpetrators—gives new insights into both the sources of violent conflict and the potential for its resolution.

Drawing on her extensive interviews and conversations with Sikh militants, Cynthia Keppley Mahmood presents their accounts of the human rights abuses inflicted on them by the state of India as well as their explanations of the philosophical tradition of martyrdom and meaningful death in the Sikh faith. While demonstrating how divergent the world views of participants in a conflict can be, Fighting for Faith and Nation gives reason to hope that our essential common humanity may provide grounds for a pragmatic resolution of conflicts such as the one in Punjab which has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the past fifteen years.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Mahmood (Frisian and Free: Study of an Ethnic Minority of the Netherlands, Waveland, 1989) undertook this investigation as a study of the anthropology of violence and based her interviews solely on Sikhs living in North America, including some in prison. The narratives relate primarily to the relationship of the individual to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, or the invasion of the holiest Sikh temple by the Indian government in 1984. The last portion of the book raises questions about membership in communities and violent attempts to force conformity. Mahmood discusses Edward Said, Salmon Rushdie, and Harjot Oberoi (a Sikh whose academic writings have stirred much controversy). She is careful to state that the militants within the Sikh community are a minority and raises ethical issues for an anthropologist undertaking such research. Highly recommended.-Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis
From the Publisher
"Highly recommended."—Library Journal

"Mahmood brilliantly interweaves Sikh militants' narratives—their aspirations, fears, beliefs, and actions—with an understanding of India's Khalistan movement in particular and of contemporary political conflict in general. . . . Fighting for Faith and Nation provides the theoretical and methodological tools for understanding the politics of violence and militancy and the troubled concepts of nation and freedom. More important, it provides a sensitive and responsible approach to difficult and contentious issues—to matters, literally, of life and death."—Carolyn Nordstrom, University of California, Berkeley

"A stunning presentation of narrative ethnography, achieving the remarkable feat of forcing the reader to enter into the world—and the world view—of those whom most of us would regard as terrorists. The issues this book raises cannot be ignored."—Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812215922
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/1996
  • Series: Contemporary Ethnography
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 875,936
  • Product dimensions: 0.73 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Cynthia Keppley Mahmood is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maine, Orono.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2001

    Fighting for faith (Sikhism) and Nation (Khalistan): KHALISTAN ZINDABAD!

    By far one of the best books I have ever read. This book is not for just Khalistanis, but for everyone who wants to know the truth. It is written by a non-Sikh and a non-Indian for that matter giving it a bi partisan view of the Punjab situation past and present. It is a well-written and easy to read book. At times this book was so intense that I had to put it down so I would not over flow with emotion. This is not for the weak of heart; there are eyewitness stories of militants and survivors of tragedy. I have read other books on the Punjab crisis but none come close to the one on one interview that Cynthia has given. These stories will grip your heart and turn it around. Stories of brave Sikhs IN OUR TIME! Many times people think that the days of Baba Deep Singh are gone, but after reading this book you will know there are countless of those kinds of Sikhs, who are upholding what Sikhi really is, while we live in luxury and just proclaim our selves as Sikhs with high heads. There heads pay for our heads tending tall today. We have been humiliated by the Government of India, and the only reason that we can even walk with our respect today is because of what the freedom fighters in Punjab did for us. Many times you will see non-Sikhs wearing a Kara, I once asked one of my south Indian friends, why do you wear a Kara, and his response was, this is the sign of bravery. What bravery? Today we wear a Kara and proclaim to be brave, and this comes from the lives others have given. So many people don¿t know the truth, and even some of our own Sikhs choose not to know the truth because they are fearful that it might make them uncomfortable in there 'comfortable' life styles. How can we live easily while the rest of our people suffer? This makes people take the easy way out, and decide, it¿s better if I don¿t know, then to be made to feel guilty. I think I have gone off on a different direction, but back to the book. If you know English, and are someone who proclaims to be a Sikh, then you owe it to those people who died, to at least READ about them, and what they went threw. They have given their today, so that Sikh Panth could have a prosperous tomorrow. Put down the TV Remote and pick up this book. For the sake of humanity READ THIS BOOK... Please join our group: Khalistan@yohoogroups.com or email me at Khalistanee@hotmail.com The mission of the group is to inform people about Sikhs Struggle for Khalistan, and Injustice done to Sikhs and other minorities by INDIAN Govt.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2010

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