Religion and Nationalism in India examines the growth of a nationalist sentiment among the Sikh community in the Punjab. This timely and significant study explores the reasons behind the rise in Sikh militancy over the 1970s and 1980s. It also evaluates the violent response of the Indian state in fuelling and suppressing the Sikh separatist movement, resulting in a tragic sequence of events which has included the raiding of the Golden Temple at Amritsar and the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The book reveals the role in this movement of a section of young, semi-literate Sikh peasantry who were disaffected by the Green Revolution and the commercialisation of agriculture in Punjab. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Deol examines the role of popular mass media in the revitalisation of religion during this period, and the subsequent emergence of sharper religious boundaries. Deol controversially challenges the relevance of classical, Eurocentric theories of nationalism in analysing its powerful influence in South Asia.
Her unique combination of Indian politics and history with a theoretical approach makes this fluent and incisive book essential reading for students and scholars interested in ethno-nationalism in the modern world.