SWEDISH SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES NETWORK
|Shinder Thandi and Gurinder Singh Mann, two of the lecturers.|
Dr. Shinder Thandi, economist from Coventry University, continued with a presentation on the Sikh migration to Europe, especially United Kingdom, and the Sikh Diaspora situation. He presented some typical migration routes from the Punjab, new statistics on the European Sikh population, as well as Sikh self-representations and challenges in relation to the majority society.
The sociologist Dr. Constance Waeber
Elsberg from Northern Virginia College gave a lecture on Yogi Bhajan
and his followers in America who converted to Sikhism in the 1970s. Additional
to the historical background of the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy organization)
movement under Yogi Bhajan’s leadership, Elsberg paid attention
to the social reasons behind adherence to the movement and the new gender
ideology that was constructed in opposition to norms in the American society.
Based on an ongoing fieldwork among the Sikhs in Frankfurt Dr. Michael Nijhawan, an anthropologist from University of Heidelberg, presented some of the challenges Sikhs are facing in the German society and how ritual performances play a significant role in creating a new self-representation.
Dr. Catarina Kinnvall, who is working at the Department of Political Science at Lund University, gave a lecture on the rise and fall of Sikh nationalism and addressed theoretical issues related to the interpretation of Sikh identity, nationalism and globalization.
|Distribution of food to the workshop participants, from the communal kitchen in the Sikh gurudwara in Malmö.|
In the last workshop session representatives of Sikh communities
in Scandinavia introduced their religious organization and activities
for the audience. Parvinder Singh Randhawa from
Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha in Copenhagen gave a presentation on the
Sikh population in Denmark, the construction of a Sikh temple, as well
as the creation of a Danish Sikh website (www.sikh.dk)
in an attempt to reach out and educate the broader society on Sikhism.
Darshan Singh from Gurdwara Sangat Sahib in Tullinge highlighted some of the challenges the Sikhs in Stockholm are facing as neighbours of a newly built gurudwara have carried a lawsuit against the Sikh temple to the Supreme Administrative Court.
Gurdeep Singh Mahal from the Sikh Cultural Association in Lund and Malmö gave a speech on community activities, and a large number of the community members who live in southern part of Sweden and representatives from the Indian Association Skåne participated in the workshop program and the dinner buffet in the evening.
In the end of the day Prof. Staffan Lindberg kindly presented SASNET’s activities and the magazine Sydasien for the audience.
On Sunday 20 March the international guest scholars and
representatives from Lund University and Oslo University were invited
to the Sikh gurudwara in Malmö to participate in the religious service,
which included recitations from the Sikh scripture (Guru Granth Sahib)
and distribution of food from a communal kitchen (langar).
Prof. Gurinder Singh Mann delivered a speech on how education and outreach to the society are historically embedded within the Sikh tradition, and the import of introducing and supporting university courses on Sikhism in order to create a better public understanding of the religion and its presence in Scandinavia.
One general conclusion of the workshop was a call for more research studies in Sikh and Punjab Studies, especially studies on the European Sikhs and their communities, which is a field that remains untouched by scholars. As many speakers also emphasized, there is a need of establishing courses on Sikhism within the regular university programs in religious studies in Scandinavia. Hopefully, Lund University will be the first university in Northern Europe to initiate and develop courses on Sikhism in close cooperation with universities abroad, international networks, as well as the local Sikh communities.