This page features publishings from professors within (and associated with) the Sikh and Punjabi Studies Program at UC Santa Cruz.


    Abstract from paper:

    Was Guru Nanak a ‘Sant’? What does the term ‘Sant’ mean in this context? This paper surveys the state of academic responses to these questions. We make the case that both the concept of a ‘Sant tradition’ and the membership of Guru Nanak in that tradition are quite problematic. In doing so, we argue that previous attempts to frame disagreements on these issues in terms of ‘historical scholarship’ versus ‘faith’ are flawed, and sometimes ahistorical themselves. Instead, alternative answers emerge from within standard scholarly inquiry, depending on varying interpretations and combinations of fragmentary historical facts. We show how this process of interpretation and selection occurs particularly in W.H. McLeod's writings on the subject. We also discuss the nature of the sources used by scholars, and the biases that may thereby be introduced.

  • The meaning of ghar in shabad headings of Guru Granth Sahib

    Introduction from text:

    Shabads in Guru Granth Sahib are arranged by rag, composition type, authorship and ghar numbers.  As an example, the first rag section contains shabads in Srirag.  The first subsection of Srirag contains shabads that are padey compositions. Within this subsection Guru Nanak's padey are presented first and are arranged in ghars 1 through 5.  This principle of organization is carried through for the shabads in all the rag sections, and these form the main body of Guru Granth Sahib.

    What did Guru Arjan mean by the ghar numbers?  This has been a major puzzle facing both the academe and community.  Some interpreations have been offered, but do not stand up to scrutiny and do not have practival applicability.  Sikh musicians consider the meaning of ghar to be forgotten.  Bhai Baldeep Singh (2001 lecture at UC Berkeley) states, "This is one significant area still open for research."


    Exerpt from executive summary:

    This study examines the current state of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in health care in Punjab, and possibilities for new kinds of initiatives in this broad category of institutional arrangements. Health care outcomes in India are below the levels that might be expected even at India’s specific level of development. The Indian government has recognized the need for public policy action, and is implementing a massive National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to improve public sector delivery of health care services, especially in poorer states, and especially to the poor all over the country. The NRHM involves substantial increases in funding, and many innovations in organizational arrangements, including collaborations with a range of private sector entities.

  • “Vajai anhad mera mun leena” – Sound, Sense and Sensibility in Sikhi

    Abstract from paper:

    Guru Granth Sahib celebrates naad (shabad, raag, dhuni) yet values anahadshabad anahad, mridang anahad, anhad bani, anhad dhuni and anhad kinguri . What is the connection between audible and mystical vibrations? How do we experience them? What is the role of physical senses? What and how do we hear? What is the Sikh aesthetic regarding the enjoyment of shabad dhun? What is the ras and how are we to be rasiya? I aim to discuss these questions within the larger concept of non-duality in Sikhi.

  • Research Article: Cosmopolitanism, Tradition and Identity: Framing the Sikh Experience in California

    This article was written in 2016 and has been submitted to the Sikh Research Journal, a new peer-reviewed online journal. It is currently under review. The abstract is as follows, “This paper analyzes academic accounts of the Sikh experience in California. In addition to providing an overview of various studies of the Sikh community, this paper points out implicit assumptions in these studies, as well as gaps in the literature. Issues discussed include Sikh religious identity, cultural practices and socioeconomic status, as well as the evolving national and global context in which the California Sikh community has grown.”

  • Book: Economic Transformation of a Developing Economy: The Experience of Indian Punjab, New Delhi: Springer, edited by Lakhwinder Singh and Nirvikar Singh

    In 2013, after a conference on “Re-Building Punjab: Political Economy, Society and Values,” organized by Dr. Inderjit Kaur and Prof. Nirvikar Singh at UCSC, which included Prof. Lakhwinder Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala, as a speaker, an Agreement of Cooperation was signed between the two universities. In March 2014, a joint conference on Punjab’s economy was held at Punjabi University, hosted by Prof. Lakhwinder Singh. Subsequently, Prof. Lakhwinder Singh and Prof. Nirvikar Singh edited a book based on the conference papers, which was published in January 2016. The book has a chapter by Prof. Nirvikar Singh, titled “Breaking the Mould: Thoughts on Punjab’s Future Economic Development.

    The book has a foreword by Dr. Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist of the World Bank. He has written, “…given the iconic status of the Punjab economy, such an understanding can shed light on development in general from which we can learn and benefit wherever we are located in the world. This is what makes the book, Economic Transformation of a Developing Economy: The Experience of Indian Punjab, an important one.” In March, 2016, this book was also featured at the book launch event in Chandigarh (item 26) and attracted the attention of policymakers as well.

  • Research Article: Portraits of the Sikh Gurus

    This article was originally written in the summer of 2015, and substantially revised based on peer reviews. It will appear in 2017 in The Kapany Collection of Sikh Art, to be published by The Smithsonian and the Sikh Foundation, edited by Dr. Paul Taylor of the Smithsonian Institute and Sonia Dhami from the Sikh Foundation.

  • Research Article: Punjab’s Agricultural Innovation Challenge

    In March 2015, Prof. Nirvikar Singh attended and served as session chair at an international conference on innovation systems at Punjabi University, Patiala. Based on that session, he wrote a paper with the above title, which is expected to appear in the conference volume, currently under submission. The abstract is as follows, “Fifty years ago, Punjab embarked on its famous Green Revolution, leading the rest of India in that innovation, and becoming the country's breadbasket. Now its economy and society are struggling by relative, and sometimes even absolute, measures. Using the original Green Revolution as a benchmark, this paper discusses five areas of challenge and promise for a new round of agricultural innovation in Punjab. These are: complexity of the agricultural economy, complementary inputs such as infrastructure, switching costs (including risks), balancing frontier innovation and adaptation, and the relative roles of the public and private sectors.”

  • Research Article: The State of Sikh Studies in Western Academia

    This article was revised from the previous draft delivered at Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada, and presented at the Sikholars conference at Stanford. It is currently being revised further.

  • Book: The Other One Percent: Indians in America, New York: Oxford University Press, by Sanjoy Chakravorty, Devesh Kapur and Nirvikar Singh, forthcoming

    This book includes work on Sikh Americans, who have been a significant part of the Indian American community for over a century.

  • Article: Punjab’s Economy: What Went Wrong?, Tribune India

    This is a brief article, based on Prof. Nirvikar Singh’s earlier analysis, written for a special issue of this prominent Indian news magazine on “The Tragedy of Punjab.”