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Accepted Paper:

Pilgrimage and Re-rooting Practices for Displaced Minorities in Pakistan  
Raminder Kaur (University of Sussex)

Paper Short Abstract:

The paper considers how pilgrimage practices re-root hearts, minds, faith and finances in places that were once abandoned or neglected by minority Sikh groups in the land that came to be called Pakistan in 1947.

Paper Abstract:

The paper considers how latter-day pilgrimage concentrate hearts, minds, faith and finances in places that were once abandoned or neglected in what I outline as re-rooting practices. After the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, millions of Sikhs and Hindus crossed the border to settle in India, while Muslims from India settled in what is now Pakistan. Owing to fraught relations between the two countries ever since, pilgrim visits to places in Pakistan where Sikh gurus were born, lived, and died were treacherous, if not non-existent. By the 1990s, aided by their foreign passports and liaisons with those in India, diasporic Sikhs began to invest time, energy and money in reviving the pilgrimage infrastructure and economy in Pakistan. They were supported by locally based Muslims, many of whom became empathetic to the cause through a shared language and culture and a cross-group respect for the inclusive, spiritual pioneer, Guru Nanak Dev, who was born and died in Pakistan. New connections were forged despite the communal violence and massacres of the past that marred and scarred the birth of the new nations in 1947.

Panel P204
Roots and their undoing: ethnographies of connection and dislocation
  Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -