Archive | October, 2008

First Book

29 Oct

We intend to kick-off our reading with the ‘History of the Sikhs‘ by J.D. Cunningham as our first book of this season. The book has a short introduction section that gives a brief overview of the book with a paragraph summary of each chapter. I have scanned that book section and have posted the pdf file here.

Reproduced below is a summary of the book (as it appears on the back cover).

Cunningham - Front Cover

Cunningham - Front Cover

“During a very important period of the history of the Sikhs, the author – Cunningham – spent eight years of his service from 1838 – 1846 in close contact with the Sikhs. The result of his eight years residence was to give him a partiality which is only too clearly visible in his handling of the events leading up to the outbreak of hostilities with the British. The whole book bears evidence of most meticulous care, and the voluminous footnotes show the breadth and variety of author’s study.

Indeed, as the result of (the author’s) certain strictures upon the policy of the government of India in dealing with Gulab Singh of Jammu, the author was dismissed from his employment from the political department and sent back to regimental duty. The principal object in writing this history has not always been understood. The author’s main endeavor was to give Sikhism its place in the general history of humanity, by showing his connection with different creeds of India, by exhibiting it as a natural and important result of the Muhammadian conquest, and by impressing upon the people of England the great necessity of attending to the mental changes in progress. A secondary object was to give some account of the conncetion of the English with the Sikhs and in part with the Afghans, from the time they began to take a direct interest in the affairs of these races, and to involve them in their web of their policy for opening the navigation of the Indus, and for bringing Turkestan and Khorasan within their commercial influence.

Cunningham. Joseph Davey, General (1812 – 1851) came to India in 1834 as an officer in the Bengal Engineers. He took part in the first Sikh Was (1846). He thus had ample opportunities for knowing the Punjab and its people. His History of the Sikhs is one of the most authoritative works on the subject. His general sympathetic approach to the subject and his frank truthfulness gave great offence to this superiors and brought about his relegation from special political appointment to ordinary duty. He died at Ambala in 1851.


About Us

29 Oct

The theme of this book club is Sikhism.

It is aimed for individuals who have a passion for reading and who are keen to also catch up with their reading on ‘Sikh books’. Though one need not be a Sikh to join the book club, one must know that the books we choose to read will be on the theme of Sikhism.

By Sikh books, we mean books on Sikhism written from various aspects such as historical, political, social, cultural, theological or philosophical. Books will be academic, novel, memoir, collection of essays, fiction, etc and will be chosen to cover a wide range of topics, with all members having a say in the selection of books. Where possible, each book may also have accompanying readings such as biography of the author, or critiques of the book in case of a controversial book. (read more on topics of books …)

Our goal is to read one book each month, and then get together once a month to discuss the book and gain a deeper understanding of that book. As a group, we will decide the location and time of meetings. We will take turns hosting the discussions each month. In case someone cannot host the discussion at his or her place, we will get together in a cafe or library. We intend to keep it a small group so as to have a meaningful discussion where all can participate.

We believe this book club will:

  • give us a structure to aid our reading (at the end of year, we will have read and discussed at least twelve books)
  • bring us in touch with other avid readers in Sikh community
  • broaden our understanding of Sikh community and religion
  • through our discussions, give us different perspectives on the same book
  • help us explore and discuss difficult topics in a friendly environment
  • provide us with information (titles, summaries, reviews) about the Sikh books out there

By joining the book club, you will be committing to reading the monthly book, attending the monthly meetings and participating in the discussion of the book.