Being Sikh, being women: negotiating religion and gender in South Asian women's cultural productions
Ruprai, Sharanpal Kaur
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This dissertation addresses the relationship between gender and religion in Canada, specifically focusing on the Sikh woman. Using a multidisciplinary approach to examine cultural productions such as film, literature, drama and images from the World Wide Web, the dissertation concludes that the Sikh woman is emerging as a controversial new religious figure. I suggest that what materializes are figures of Sikh women who struggle with navigating and negotiating their own reinterpretations of religious symbols. I look at two poetry collections, Dharma Rasa and Valley Sutra by Kuldip Gill; a film, Heaven on Earth, by Deepa Mehta; a play, Behzti (Dishonour) by playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti; a novel, Everything Was Good-Bye by Gurjinder Basran; a memoir, On the Outside Looking Indian: How My Second Childhood Changed My Life by Rupinder Gill; and images of Sikh women wearing turbans from the blogosphere and newspapers. Each of the above cultural and literary productions concentrates on Sikh women's experiences and how they change, modify and/or maintain their religious identity, but the question remains as to how their voices, bodies and images have been transmitted within the diasporas.