Continuing our Sikholars 2013 series with Peder Gedda, a second year PhD-student at the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia presenting his paper Reinterpreting the Historical Sikh Code of Conduct.
“The rahit is the Sikh code of conduct, which outlines and defines Sikh religious behavior, etiquette and rituals at the individual as well as communal level. The modern rahit was published in the 1950´s as the Sikh Rahit Maryada. It was formulated by the SGPC, an institution within the Sikh panth that is looked to by many as a central authority. The oldest known rahit dates back to the 18th century. From that period, it´s possible to locate 8 manuals. All of the manuals except one were kept in the Golden Temple but were destroyed in the assault on the Golden Temple complex in 1984. In the late 1970s however, transcripts of these manuals were made by a well-known local scholar. These transcripts have been notoriously hard to find but during my one-year stay in the Punjab, I managed to locate them. They constitute the nucleus of my ongoing PhD-research. W.H. Mcleod, did extensive research on the rahit and scholars have followed his conclusions. However, the material I found demands a new interpretation of the historical rahit in general, as well as Mcleod´s conclusions. Most importantly this interpretation requires a reconfiguration of our understanding of the literature itself, the relationship between it and other forms of literature as well as the relationship between the Sikh religion and other religious traditions.Peder Gedda is a second year PhD-student at the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the earliest known Sikh code of conduct; how it relates to other forms of Sikh literature and its role in the cross-pollination between the Sikh religion and other religious traditions. Originally Published By The Jakara Movement”