Today, I speak with two fantastic guests about queerness, gender, and intersectionality as Sikhs. Queerness and gender are taboo topics among Sikhs and queer Sikhs often experience within their own communities. We discuss the nature of this repression and how we can work together to combat those stigma.
"Remnants of a Separation is an Oral History archive focusing on material memory. It is the first and only material study of the Partition of India, taking into consideration those objects that refugees brought with them when they migrated across the border, those objects that were left behind in houses and lastly, those objects that were lost in the midst of the journey of migration."
Arish Singh is a Chicago-based comedian who has opened for national acts like Hasan Minhaj, Hari Kondabolu, Tim Heidecker, and W. Kamau Bell. He was featured at the 2017 Bridgetown Comedy Festival and was a semifinalist for the 2017 Stand Up NBC Competition. Singh can be seen on the current season of the Netflix original series Easy cabbing around a semi-fictionalized Chicago. In real Chicago, Singh runs Monkey Wrench, a live monthly comedy show that has featured guests like Matt Christman, Felix Biederman, and Jake Flores, and is little more than a leftist plot against the ruling class.
The Prabodhcandrodaya - The Rise of the Moon of Awakening, is a very influential Sanskrit play, written at the end of the 11th century. Rooted in Advaita Vedanta philosophy, the text took numerous forms over the centuries, including a Persian version (17th century), as well as a Braj Bhasha version (18th century) translated by Pandit Gulab Singh, a Nirmala Sikh.
Dr. Jasjit Singh has conducted an in-depth study into Sikh activists and whether accusations of violent Sikh groups in the UK are valid. The results were illuminating in many ways. We learn what his findings tell us about the realities of Sikh activism, the narratives fabricated around Sikh identity, and how we can build meaningful conversations in our communities.
All Sikhs are familiar with the story of Baba Deep Singh - the brave warrior who led a mission to retake the Golden Temple from Afghan forces in the 18th century. In the traditional story, Baba Deep Singh loses his head in battle but stands back up, retrieves his head, and carries it the rest of the way to the precincts of the temple where he falls having achieved his goal. The story is a potent one that is meant to instill limitless resolve in the face of oppression in those who hear it.
Charles Allen, one of the great British historians of the Indian Sub-Continent of his generation joins us to discuss Rudyard Kipling's The Eyes of Asia. The new edition from Kashi House brings us the stories of four Indian soldiers writing home from the Western Front of the first World War. These fictionalized letters were created by Kipling through his reading of soldiers' actual letters which he accessed through the military censor at the time.
The Khalistan resistance movement is rooted in the Sikhs long-term struggle with the Indian state. Since it's inception, India has imposed harsh control over religious and ethnic minorities and exploited and terrorized them for political and material gain - we have learned of the plight of the Sikhs in previous episodes. Learn a bit about the movement in this conversation.
We also discuss whether a Sikh can also be a leftist and how to use leftist analysis to identify oppressive systems and attitudes on our society as well as our own communities.
Throughout their history, Sikhs have often found themselves at odds with the ruling hierarchies of their societies.
This comes from a fundamental belief in the spiritual and material sovereignty of all people and their right to dignity. Social programs that seek to nourish all regardless of social standing have acted as radical tools of equality. Ultimately in many cases, Sikhs along with trans-religious comrades have directly resisted oppressive structures with both active protest and even defensive violence.
Amardeep Singh left his life in the corporate world to investigate his ancestral history in Pakistan. Little did he know that this would lead him on two trans-Pakistani tours documenting the ancient forts, houses, and places of worship left behind by the Sikhs after India's partition. His work is compiled in two books: Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan and The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan.
Not only do they show the rich cultural legacy of pre-partition Punjab, but they speak to those people's memories of a society less divided across religious boundaries. We discuss this as well as how and why these divisions were deepened and how they contributed to the fracture of these once coexisting communities.
Pav Singh was born in Leeds, England, the son of Punjabi immigrants. As a member of the Magazine and Books Industrial Council of the National Union of Journalists he has been instrumental in campaigning on the issues surrounding the 1984 massacres.
In 2004, he spent a year in India researching the full extent of the pogroms (from which members of his extended family narrowly escaped) and the subsequent cover-up. He met with survivors and witnessed the political fall-out and protests following the release of the flawed Nanavati Report into the killings. His research led to the pivotal and authoritative report 1984 Sikhs’ Kristallnacht, which was first launched in the UK Parliament in 2005 and substantially expanded in 2009. In his role as a community advocate at the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, London, he curated the exhibition ‘The 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogroms Remembered’ in 2014 with Delhi-based photographer Gauri Gill.
Courtesy of www.kashihouse.com