Study reveals Sikhs of North-East, South-India don’t flaunt surnames/gotras/castes

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Published: August 29, 2013

Patiala, Punjab (August 29, 2013): A recent study has reportedly revealed that not even 1% of Sikhs settled in north-eastern and southern states identify themselves with their gotras/castes/surnames.

“This interesting fact came to light in a study conducted for National Commission for Minorities (NCM) by Punjabi University, Patiala, which interviewed 1,011 Sikhs, living in southern and north-eastern states, to determine their social, cultural, economic and religious practices”, Times of India (TOI) has reported.

Sikligar SikhsIt is learnt that a report based on the study was submitted to vice-chancellor (VC) Jaspal Singh on August 28, 2013.

As per information the report titled “Socio-economic conditions of Dakhani Sikhs in particular and other Sikh minorities in south and north-east India”, the 200-page report also revealed that more than half of total Sikhs of south India didn’t class themselves in castes.

“The Dakhani, Sikligar and Banjara Sikhs, scattered over numerous districts in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka and Axomiya Sikhs in Assam and the Mazhabi Sikhs of Meghalaya were included in the survey” TOI reports reads further.

“Interestingly, they are not aware of their ‘gotras’ (sub-castes), but do believe in the caste system. Out of total 1,011 respondents in the survey, I have come across only one Sikh businessman, who was using the ‘gotra’ with his name. The practice is contrary to what we are following here in Punjab. Gotras are not important for them,” said Prof Birinder Pal Singh of the department of sociology and social anthropology, who interviewed the respondents.

“They migrated 100-200 years ago and are still committed to carrying the classical traditions prevalent in the Sikh society of that period. A very positive aspect is that, of the total surveyed Sikhs of south India, around 55% said they didn’t classify themselves in any particular caste. There were only 2-2.5% Sikhs who identify themselves with their caste. About 38% said they were Sikligars and indentify themselves as tribals,” Professor Balwinderpal Singh reportedly added.

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