Secularisation and the Sikh Religious Tradition.

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  • Author(s): Madan, T. N.
  • Source:
    Social Compass. 1986, Vol. 33 Issue 2/3, p257-273. 17p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      This article examines the significance of the fact that, in the Sikh religious tradition an original attitude of world affirmation was in course of time redefined to emphasize the unity of the Church and the State, so that what might seem contradictory in terms of the Western civilization is sought to be reconciled. There are at least four patterns of secularization discernible in the Sikh religious tradition. These are: mundanity; the unity of religion and politics and therefore of the Gurudwara and the State; religious pluralism and the separation of religion and politics; and a narrowing of the religious sphere in society. Of these, the first does not by itself entail the second: in fact, and as noted by a number of Sikh scholars, this merger of functions ultimately weakened the original religious impulse. As for the third and the fourth patterns of secularization, it is obvious that they are at variance and even in conflict with the first two and have been, therefore, rejected by orthodox Sikhs. In the context of interreligious comparison, it may be simply stated that a hiatus exists which, confident theories of modernization notwithstanding, poses problems of translation even after the transfer of certain institutions from one civilizational setting to another has formally been achieved.