Change and Continuity in the Funeral Rituals of Sikhs in Britain
This chapter examines the processes of change and continuity in funeral rituals of the Sikhs in Britain. It is my thesis that the Sikh funeral rites are one of the fundamental instruments of transmission of traditional cultural values. The central aim of this chapter is to demonstrate how the roles of participants in funeral rituals are closely linked to the power relationships in the Sikh social structure, that is, rules of inheritance of property, status and the differential position of men and women. Analysis of the process of funeral rites also provides new insight into the working of caste, religion, kinship networks and the social orientation of Sikh religious beliefs, vis-à-vis the transmigration of soul, mukti (salvation/liberation) and awagaun (cycle of birth and death). In the following pages I shall consider the social and religious significance of funeral rites; the position of women and specifically of widows, in relation to rites of passage; the impact of the Sikh reform movement on mortuary rituals, and the consequences of Sikh migration on traditional funeral rituals.
KeywordsBurning Migration Furnace Europe Amid
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