• ‘Seeing’ my beloved: Darsan and the Sikhi perspective

      Takhar, Opinderjit Kaur; Harvey, Graham; Hughes, Jessica. (Equinox, 2018-09-01)
      Book: Sensual Religion demonstrates the value of paying attention to the senses and materials in lived religion and also leads the way for improved studies of religion as sensuality. Each of the five senses - vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell - will be covered by two chapters, the first historical and the second contemporary. The historical discussions focus on the sensuality of religion in ancient Greece, Samaria, Rome and Byzantium - including reflections on their value for understanding other historical and contemporary contexts. Chapters with a contemporary focus engage with Chinese, African-Brazilian, Sikh, First Nations and Metis, and Spanish Catholic religious lives and activities. Beyond the rich case studies, each chapter offers perspectives and arguments about better ways of approaching lived, material and performative religion - or sensual religion. Historical and ethnographic critical and methodological expertise is presented in ways that will inspire and enable readers to apply, refine and improve on their practice of the study of religions. In particular, our intention is to foreground the senses and sensuality as a critical issue in understanding religion and to radically improve multi- and inter-disciplinary research and teaching about the lived realities of religious people in this sensual world.
    • ‘Seeing’ my Beloved: Darsan and the Sikhi Perspective”. Body and Religion

      Takhar, Opinderjit Kaur (Equinox, 2018-10-15)
      ਕਾਗਾ ਕਰੰਗ ਢੰਢੋਲਿਆ ਸਗਲਾ ਖਾਇਆ ਮਾਸੁ॥ ਏ ਦੁਇ ਨੈਨਾ ਮਤਿ ਛੁਹਉ ਪਿਰ ਦੇਖਨ ਕੀ ਆਸ ॥੯੧॥1 The crows have searched my skeleton, and eaten all my flesh. But please do not touch these eyes; I hope to see my Beloved. (Guru Granth Sahib (GGS), Ang/page 1382) Sikhi, by which I refer to the teachings primarily contained in the Guru Granth Sahib (GGS), are replete with references to the eyes and for a longing to ‘see’ the Divine, often referred to as the Groom and the Beloved. The term generally used for this ‘vision’ in Indian philosophy is darśan, derived from a verb root dṛś, ‘to see’, therefore implying a vision of the Divine, and also a vision of Reality. My discussion will focus on the concept of darśan from a Sikh perspective.
    • Sikh Sects

      Takhar, Opinderjit Kaur; Singh, Pashaura; Fenech, Louis E. (Oxford University Press, 2014-03)
      This article discusses the issues and implications associated with attempting to provide a homogenous definition of Sikh identity that encompasses all ‘Sikhs’. The existence of sects or groups which define themselves as Sikhs in one way or another present a number of contentious debates within the global Panth. Sects amongst the followers of the Sikh Gurus have existed from the very early period of the development of the Panth. The diversity in the practical expression of Sikhi prompted the Singh Sabha’s efforts towards establishing a homogenous Sikh identity which later became synonymous with the Khalsa paradigm. There are some sects amongst Sikhs who adamantly affirm their Panthic identity such as the Namdharis and Nirankaris. However, there are a significant number of individuals who are actively seeking their total break-off from the Panth in order to assert an independent non-Sikh (and non-Hindu) identity. In this case, the efforts of the Ravidassias and Valmikis are significant.
    • Sikhi(sm) and the Twenty-FirstCentury Sikh Diaspora

      Takhar, Opinderjit Kaur; Lewis, Christopher; Cohn-Sherlock, Dan (Ashgate Publishing, 2014-08-28)
      Although the youngest of the six major world faiths, Sikhism currently has the fifth largest global following. This chapter will aim to address what makes the Sikh faith or Sikh way of life a sensible faith for millions of adherents and the extent to which Sikhi(sm) has adapted, and indeed whether adaptation is necessary, in terms of rationality and reason in the twenty-first century. Currently, there is debate amongst Sikhs whether the suffix ‘ism’ should be added to any references to their faith. Sikhs tend to show preference for the term ‘Sikhi’ which they believe is reflective of the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. Sikhs on the whole view their faith as a way of life rather than a pronounced dogma. Many also view the suffix ‘ism’ as a colonial invention of boxing customs and traditions together in a homogeneous category. I will explore the ways in which the central tenets of the Sikh way of life enable religious people to live Sikhi through their ordinary lives. The challenges pertaining to the transmission of Sikhi to British-born Sikhs will be addressed in the light of discussing the sensibility of Sikhi in the twenty-first century. Hence this is an attempt in providing criteria, or a ‘litmus test’, by which to assess the attractiveness of Sikhi to its millions of followers, with particular reference to the British Sikh diaspora. Christopher Lewis, earlier in this volume, has discussed the connotations of the term ‘sensible’ which extends also to an exploration of what the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ religion may entail. This will provide a framework for my analysis into the sensibility of Sikhi.
    • Social and political activism amongst British Sikhs: Responses to issues of equality and human rights – a new way forward?

      Takhar, Opinderjit Kaur; School of Humanities, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK (Taylor & Francis, 2018-06-12)
      This article discusses two key issues relating to activism amongst British Sikhs. The exploration focuses upon the mobilisation of Sikhs at rallies and protests surrounding human rights issues, as well as their overall objection to caste legislation in British Law. The revelations surrounding the British Government’s involvement in Operation Bluestar came as a huge shock not only to British Sikhs but also to Sikhs worldwide. This paper will discuss whether the British Sikh community has taken on a fresh approach when confronted with issues surrounding equality and human rights and will explore how youth led Sikh groups and organisations have responded to contemporary challenges by using Sikhi to encourage activism amongst British Sikhs.
    • The Place of Scripture in the Trajectories of a Distinct Religious Identity among Ravidassias in Britain: Guru Granth Sahib or Amritbani Guru Ravidass

      Takhar, Opinderjit Kaur (Taylor and Francis, 2014-01-09)
      This article highlights narratives, collected as informant testimonies, relating to trajectories of a distinct religious identity among the Ravidassia community in Britain. Current tensions surround the replacement of the Guru Granth Sahib with the Amritbani Guru Ravidass in Ravidassia places of worship. This is primarily in response to cartographies of the Ravidassia identity as distinct from Sikh identity. The opinions of Ravidassia individuals, from a varied age range, expressed in interviews conducted at various periods during 2010–2012, are considered in relation to dominant discourses emphasising the importance of one hegemonic ‘Ravidassia’ scripture. The interview data highlight three main positions among the followers of Guru Ravidass: (1) Ravidassias seeking a distinct identity but preferring to retain the Guru Granth Sahib in Ravidassia places of worship, (2) Ravidassias demanding a distinct identity by installing the Amritbani Guru Ravidass, (3) Ravidassias wanting to maintain their link with the Panth as Sikhs or as Ravidassi Sikhs.