Protest over farm laws: Sikh-Shudra dignity of labour vs brahmanical glory in parasitism?

Farmers from Punjab have taken the lead in the protests against the new farm laws. But that perhaps shouldn’t surprise anyone, for Sikhism condemns casteism, former Shudras dominate the agricultural economy there and cultivators actually enjoy the fruits of their labour. The MSP has simply upheld this philosophy

In his paper published in the Economic and Political Weekly in October 2007 titled “Social Exclusion, Resistance and Deras: Exploring the myth of Casteless Sikh Society in Punjab”, Ronki Ram, professor of Political Science in Panjab University, concludes by distinguishing social exclusion in Punjab from the brahmanical caste hierarchy practised elsewhere in India. He writes, “The Dalit Sikhs find that they are still considered as ‘other’. The domination of Jat Sikhs, however, does not compare at all with the graded system of brahminical caste hierarchy. They became dominant because of their ‘patient vigorous labour’ as cultivator par excellence, caste homogeneity, martial status, control over the land, numerical preponderance in the Sikh community, and their hold over the power structures in the state. Dalits, equally sturdy and hard-working as well as numerically quite close to the proportion of the jat Sikhs in the state, continue to face social exclusion in spite of their conversion to Sikhism and relative improvement in their economic conditions.” 

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