Reconstructing Identities

Society through Literature

Edited by: Paramjit S. Judge, Gurpreet Bal

This book's central focus is the use of literary texts to reconstruct identities in the region of Punjab. This collective effort examines the evolution of the Punjabi society in terms of religion, gender, caste, class, and rivalry. Starting with 18th century texts, the volume explores various facets of the social life of Punjab through the end of colonial period. It becomes clear that there was a definite change in the way religion and gender in particular were constructed across a time span of three centuries. In the case of religion, there has been a movement from composite religious practices to the construction of singular religious tradition, which was done in a way that culminated into communal riots, killing, and displacing of millions of Punjabis. The construction of gender presents the most interesting dimension of the Punjabi society. The struggle of woman against patriarchy becomes visible even in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the first Punjabi woman poet, Peero, raises the voice against suppression and marginality of woman in the Punjabi society. An endeavor towards the construction of gender identity in the 19th century became simultaneously an act of creating religious boundaries, as was evident in the writings of Bhai Vir Singh. The contributions in this book show how these identities form crucial elements in the dynamism of society. The historical and sociological evidence corroborates the interpretation of select literary texts to understand Punjabi society. Seen historically, the interpretative analyses of the texts show tremendous continuity in the forging, reinterpretation, and reconstruction of identities. ~

224 pages

Publication Date: 2/25/2008
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9788131601853