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H-ASIA 3 November 1998 QUERY: Excommunication in Sikhism. *********************************** From: Sushil Jain, Inst. Of Asian Cultures <firstname.lastname@example.org> For a paper that I am writing on "Excommunication in Sikhism (i.e., Sikh Society) I would appreciate any comments on this issue. May I mention here that I am familiar with the general concept of excommunication (at least from Christian point of view via a reading of some articles from general and religious encyclopaedias). I also have some familiarity with recent cases of excommunication in various Christian denominations, e.g., the Mennonites, Hutterites, etc. I also have some information about some prominent Sikh cases, viz., Giani Zail Singh, Buta Singh, and various "punishments" 'granted' to persons like Piar Singh and Pashaura Singh etc. Whether they were excommunicated for all time to come I am not clear about. What does 'excommunication' mean in Sikhism? What is the equivalent Punjabi word? What is the fine line between 'tankhaya' and 'patit'? Current version of _Sikh Maryada_ is of some help, no doubt, on this issue. I recognize Prof. Hew McLeod has some pointers on this issue. His _Historical Dictionary_ and other recent Sikh encyclopaedias do certainly shed some light on this issue. However, I am looking for further references (articles or otherwise that are in the BAS databank). Another issue that may be mentioned here is that there were also several cases of 'excommunication' during the Singh Sabha Movement period. I am particularly interested in locating such sources, esp. those that treat the subject in autobiographical terms. There was the case of a gentlemen who was 'excommunicated' in the late 19th century from the State of Faridkot who seemed to have written a book (vide Ganda Singh's bibliog) but I have been unable to locate this source. Related issues to this topic (which I may include) are: 1. the question of diversity in Sikh faith; 2. issue of human rights in Sikhism; 3. codes of conduct other than the Khalsa rahit (or rehat); 4. 'sects', schisms or schools/orders in Sikhism; 5. form(s) of worship in various branches of Sikhism, e.g., Ravidasis, Kabirpanthis, etc. 6. the question of popular Sikhism vs 'paper' Sikhism, i.e, what is practised versus what is written in the 'pothi'; etc. I am also interested in locating contemporary depictions (portraits) of 'earlier' Gurus (i.e., before Guru Arjun before Guruship became a hereditary occupation). By contemporary I mean as near as possible to the times of the Gurus. What kind of body garb (chola) or head-dress (cap, kurla, turla or turban) would have they worn? For example, some of the earliest depictions of Guru Nanak (as portrayed in _Janamsakhis_ and those included in Randhawa's books) show Guru Nanak wearing the 'bhakti' cap supposedly also worn by Kabir, Surdas etc. In that case recent depictions of Guru Nanak (e.g., popularized by artists like Sobha Singh) may not be true to the eraliest tradition. Thanks. Sushil Jain ==================================== To post to H-ASIA simply send your message to: <H-ASIA@h-net.msu.edu> For holidays or short absences send post to: <email@example.com> with message: SET H-ASIA NOMAIL Upon return, send post with message SET H-ASIA MAIL H-ASIA WEB HOMEPAGE URL: http://h-net.msu.edu/~asia/