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A History of the SikhsVolume 2: 1839-2004$
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Khushwant Singh

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195673098

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195673098.001.0001

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Prosperity and Religious Fundamentalism

Prosperity and Religious Fundamentalism

(p.315) 19. Prosperity and Religious Fundamentalism
A History of the Sikhs

Khushwant Singh

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses resurgence of religious fundamentalism, which brought about the renaissance of Hinduism. The Sikhs exodus in the partition had made them more vulnerable and thus ground was prepared for sowing the seeds of separatism and revival of orthodoxy. Sikh religious revival coincided with Green Revolution. Green Revolution, aided by new varieties of seed and modern farming methods led to prosperity. The Green Revolution began in Ludhiana, the most fertile region in the Indo-Gangetic plain. The Intensive Agricultural Areas Programme (IAAP) was also first conducted in Ludhiana. The discussion then shifts to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. An outline of his start as a preacher to a pawn in party politics is provided. It shows that his early messages spoke of returning to the traditions of Khalsa Panth and renouncing the evils brought by modernism. As his popularity grew, he began to espouse the cult of violence and promote hatred towards Hindus as a means for preserving Sikh identity. The chapter concludes with Bhindranwale’s ‘hit list’, attempts to fortify Akal Takht, and beginning of Indira Gandhi’s involvement.

Keywords:   religious fundamentalism, Green Revolution, Ludhiana, Intensive Agricultural Areas Programme, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Bhindranwale’s ‘hit list’, Akal Takht, Indira Gandhi

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