19 July, 2012

Moral Languages from Colonial Punjab: The Singh Sabha, Arya Samaj and Ahmadiyahs

Moral Languages from Colonial Punjab: The Singh Sabha, Arya Samaj and Ahmadiyahs

After its annexation in 1849, the Punjab became the most important agricultural province of British India. Within a few decades, much changed in the region, including the intellectual horizons of the Punjabi elite. This monograph tells the comparative socio-intellectual history of the Singh Sabha (Sikh), Arya Samaj (Hindu) and Ahmaiyah (Muslim) voluntary reform movements.

As a new contribution to  this field, the term ‘moral languages’ is introduced to discuss the reformers’ redefined traditions that emerged in response to Western reason and Christianity. Underwriting the Singh Sabha, Arya Smaj and Ahmadiyh moral languages was the fundamental process of strengthening doctrine, conduct, and ritual through a dialogic process in which readings of the traditional literature (often as interpreted by European Orientalist scholars) were combined with an understanding that frequently invoked the authority of science.

In particular this volume argues that the secular-religious binary opposition, which has been so dominantly in existence since the European Enlightment, hides more than it shows. Significant to the social consciousness of the Punjabi reformers was the partial overlap with the British civilizing mission’s underlying notion of improvement. The term moral languages emphasizes that since the nineteenth-century religion is nothing more than morally motivated and spread through modern institutions and practices. Hence, he Singh Sabh, Ary Samaj and Ahmdiyah moral languages are discussed in terms of modern traditions based on rational knowledge and practices that became vital to the struggle or authority and status n the context of an emergent liberal public sphere and processed of state formation.

This timely book will be of great interest to scholars of British Punjab, South Asian colonial history and comparative religion.

Bob van der Linden (Ph.D., Amsterdam University, 2004) is a modern South Asia historian. He has recently published on the relationship between music and empire in Britain and Indi.

ISBN  81-7304-759-6    2008   268p.   Rs.670/ pounds 45

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To order your copy at www.manoharbooks.com

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