This Working paper, “The Sikhs Today: A Development Profile” discusses social and economic life of Sikhs in India, with specific focus on the internal differences and dynamics of the Sikh population in different parts of the country. The paper identifies demographic characteristics of the Sikh population followed by a discussion on economic status, employment and occupational patterns, poverty and inequality. Besides discussing Sikhism and caste, the paper encapsulates some preliminary analysis of gender issues, developmental challenges in social and political life. The paper argues that the community is not homogenous and continues to be divided on caste lines. It brings to the fore the fact that the development aspects of religion continue to be blind spots in the literature on Sikhism. Much of the minority politics of Sikhs in India during the post-independence period has been identity-centric and although the movements had development dimension, indeed, their effect was not developmental. Moreover, these demands invariably reflected the aspirations of the dominant sections within the community with little concern for those at margins. Pertinent issues such as gender, environmental sustainability, health, or even caste exclusion, have not yet found a place in the mainstream community discourse of the Sikhs.
Religions and Development, India. Working Paper Series, Volume 1, Number 2, 42 pp.