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Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants (Contemporary Ethnography) [Paperback]

Cynthia Keppley Mahmood
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Nov 1996 Contemporary Ethnography
The ethnic and religious violence that characterized the late twentieth century calls for new ways of thinking and writing about politics. Listening to the voices of people who experience political violence-either as victims or as perpetrators-gives new insights into both the sources of violent conflict and the potential for its resolution. Drawing on her extensive interviews and conversations with Sikh militants, Cynthia Keppley Mahmood presents their accounts of the human rights abuses inflicted on them by the state of India as well as their explanations of the philosophical tradition of martyrdom and meaningful death in the Sikh faith. While demonstrating how divergent the world views of participants in a conflict can be, Fighting for Faith and Nation gives reason to hope that our essential common humanity may provide grounds for a pragmatic resolution of conflicts such as the one in Punjab which has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the past fifteen years.

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Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants (Contemporary Ethnography) + The Sikhs of the Punjab: Unheard Voices of State and Guerilla Violence (Politics in Contemporary Asia)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (1 Nov 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812215923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812215922
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Highly recommended."-Library Journal "Mahmood brilliantly interweaves Sikh militants' narratives-their aspirations, fears, beliefs, and actions-with an understanding of India's Khalistan movement in particular and of contemporary political conflict in general... Fighting for Faith and Nation provides the theoretical and methodological tools for understanding the politics of violence and militancy and the troubled concepts of nation and freedom. More important, it provides a sensitive and responsible approach to difficult and contentious issues-to matters, literally, of life and death."-Carolyn Nordstrom, University of California, Berkeley "A stunning presentation of narrative ethnography, achieving the remarkable feat of forcing the reader to enter into the world-and the world view-of those whom most of us would regard as terrorists. The issues this book raises cannot be ignored."-Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara

About the Author

Cynthia Keppley Mahmood is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maine, Orono.

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LAST NIGHT I was awakened by a nightmare, the same recurring dream I have been suffering for the past year or so. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy 23 Feb 2004
This is the only book I have read on atrocities against the Sikhs in the late 70's and through the 80's that is written by a non-Sikh and a non-Indian for that matter. It is truly remarkable due to the author’s style of investigating and writing, once I started the book I really couldn’t put it down. I have read many books on Sikhs and Sikhism there was much new information in this book that alone warrants a read.
Although the book does focus primarily on atrocities against the Sikhs it does to a limited extent tackle the issue from the other side. Some parts of the book are very deep and I found very emotional, its a must read for all young Sikhs living in the west today who may have not really grasped what has been going on in India for the last 25 years or so. Cynthia Mahmood has done a great job writing about a very difficult and controversial subject through the eyes of a anthropologist who has tried to be neutral in but at time cannot help see the plight of Sikhs in Punjab.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a really great book 23 Jun 2000
By A Customer
In order to understand the political strains of racism in India you need to read this. The amazing way no Westeners really remember or knew about this Genocide and the way the Indians attempt to brush it under the carpet is still apparent. If you wish to gain an understanding about the Sikhs you MUST buy this book! If you are SIKH you really need to read this to deepen your resolve. One of the best books I have ever read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced, accurate book. 28 Jun 2011
This book is a rare find when dealing with the sad event known as Operation Blue Star, and the 'troubles' in the Punjab in the late seventies up to the early nineties.

It presents balanced research with eye-witness accounts of Indian government brutality and divide and conquer tactics that led to the fight for fair treatment and equality.

Highly recommended.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A True Account of India's Genocide 17 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Since 1984 we have lived in a dark age where Sikh youths are killed and disappear without trace and no one willing to help, or too scared speak out.
This is a personnal account of my family who have suffered under the Indiain Goverment.
My relatives were Baptised Sikhs who took active part in peaceful protests against the discriminatation of minorities in Punjab.
After the Attack on the Holiest Shrine of the Sikhs , in June 1984, the army went from village to village picking up baptised Sikhs. They arrested my relative who was only 18 at the time. After years of searching and hitting brick walls in the courts of Punjab, no trace was found of my relative. Till this day 14 years on, he is one of the many statistics, of the genocide perpotrated by the Indian Government on the orthodox Sikhs of the Punjab. After a frustrating 14 years , I am pleased to see that some God - Fearing journalists and Academics like Mrs. Mahmood and Joyce-Pettigrew who have had first hand experience of the Sikh struggle for Human Rights and Self Determination; and have shown bravery and courage in portraying The Sikhs as Human Beings trying to survive in a war situation under severe constraints. Unlike some journalists from the Western World, who go back to the Britsih empire days and who have been brought up with the film Gandhi live in a dream world thinking about the peaceful and non violent Indians - yet the Sikhs and other moniorities know better 0ver 100,000 Sikhs killed since 1984 - 50,000 Kashmiris killed - 20,000 Christains killed in Nagaland and the countless untouchables daily killed since 'Independence'. I hope this book will educate the masses and help understand the Sikh struggle.
One day the Sikh will be able to breathe the air of freedom.
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