Revolution and Assimilation: Understanding the Evolving Identity of the Punjabi Sikh Diaspora in California during the Early Twentieth Century by Rajan Gill

Sept 2019
Abstract
This paper examines the evolving identity of the Punjabi Sikh diaspora in California during the early twentieth century, focusing on the relatively neglected role of the Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society and its interactions with the Ghadar Party. In doing so, the paper adds to previous global accounts of the Ghadar Party by examining the politics of identity construction at a micro-level. It also adds to previous work on the role of the Diwan Society, by arguing that, beyond just creating a safe space for the immigrant group, it actively campaigned to better the newcomers’ social status in the United States.

Keywords: Ghadar Party, Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan, Punjabi, Sikh, Diaspora

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Rajan Gill – is a professor, historian, and farmer based in Yuba City, CA. His research specializes in articulations of identity for immigrant groups in the United States with special attention to race and ethnicity, transnational identity, and immigrant radicalism within California’s Punjabi-Sikh community. He received his masters degree in History from UC Santa Cruz in 2015.