Introduction: Differing Understandings



A disciple of a Muslim Sufi advised a community of Hindus in Lucknow, India, to install the Guru Granth Sahib, a text that is central for Sikhs, in their community center. Rather than seeing the installation of a text commonly associated with Sikhism in their Hindu institution as problematic, this community followed his suggestion, enshrining the Guru Granth Sahib under a canopy, much like the text is enshrined in Sikh gurdwaras (institutions housing the Guru Granth Sahib). They even placed a picture of Guru Nanak (the first guru in the Sikh lineage) in the room and named the room the Harmandir, thus connecting it with the Harmandir (Golden Temple) in Amritsar, Punjab, an important Sikh shrine. Over the next few decades, this little room became a focal point for this community in Lucknow, particularly as a site for festivals that connected them with their home region, Sindh, which they had left when it became a part of Pakistan during the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.


Home Region Religious Site Religious Boundary Institution Housing Dominant Understanding 
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© Steven W. Ramey 2008

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