The Materiality of the Past: History and Representation in Sikh Tradition
Anne Murphy offers a groundbreaking exploration of material representations of the Sikh past, showing how objects, as well as historical sites, and texts, have played a vital role in the production of the Sikh community as an evolving historical and social formation from the eighteenth century to the present.
Drawing together work in religious studies, postcolonial studies, and history, Murphy explores how 'relic' objects such as garments and weaponry have, like sites, played dramatically different roles across political and social contexts-signifiers of authority and even sovereignty in one; collected, revered, and displayed with religious significance in another-and are connected to a broader engagement with the representation of the past that is central to the formation of the Sikh community. By highlighting the connections between relic objects and historical sites, and how the status of sites changed in the colonial period, she also provides crucial insight into the circumstances that brought about the birth of a new territorial imagination of the Sikh past in the early twentieth century, rooted in existing precolonial historical imaginaries centered in place and object. The life of the object today and in the past, she suggests, provides unique insight into the formation of the Sikh community and the crucial role representations play in it.
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Akali Amritsar Anne Murphy Appadurai argued articulation Asian associated authority Banga Bhai Vir Singh British central chapter colonial conﬂict context cultural Dasam Granth deﬁned deﬁnition Delhi Dhavan discussion early eighteenth century example ﬁgure ﬁrst Five Ks formation forms Golden Temple grants Grewal Gur Sohha Gurdwara Reform Movement Guru Gobind Singh Guru Granth Sahib Guru Nanak Guru’s Harjot Oberoi Hindu identity inﬂuence institutions IOL Panj Kaur Khalsa Khalsa Darbar Records Lahore land Legislative Council Debates literature Mandair McLeod memory modern Mughal Museum Muslim nahin Nankana Sahib narration narrative National nineteenth century objects ofhistory ofSikh ofthe Guru ofthe Khalsa ofthe Sikh Oxford University Press panth particular period political precolonial Punjab rahit Ranjit Singh reﬂects relation relationship relic Religion religious sites representation sacred Sainapati Santokh SGPC signiﬁcant Sikh community Sikh history Sikh past Sikh tradition Sikhism South Asia sovereignty speciﬁc Suraj Granth Takhat Tenth Guru territory tion