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July 16, 2024
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Study ‘Panjabi personality’, Paul tells UK Sikh conference

A three-day conference attended by scholars from India and elsewhere at a unique academic centre in Wolverhampton was told on Tuesday to focus on aspects of the ‘Panjabi personality’ exemplified by individuals such as Zail Singh, Manmohan Singh and Inder Gujral.

Delivering the welcome address at the Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, industrialist Swraj Paul, who is also the university’s chancellor, said the centre has a special relevance at this juncture in global history.

The conference is attended by scholars of Sikh studies and showcases research in various universities across the world. Papers on various aspects of Sikh-Panjabi heritage and diaspora are scheduled for the conference titled ‘A Journey of 550 Years: Sikh Studies in Academia’.

Paul said: “As it evolves its mission, I hope the Centre will also give attention to another area — the Panjabi personality. This could well include some analysis of outstanding Panjabi personalities of contemporary times and the values that shaped their contribution to India and the world today”.

“After all, in recent years, Panjabis have helped to influence the destiny of India and some have risen to the highest positions of state. President Giani Zail Singh and Prime Minister Inder Gujral are distinguished examples” he said.

Dwelling on the community’s quality of adaptation in different locales and cultures, Paul said scholars should also focus on the major adjustments and adaptations needed to deal with challenges of the new digital world.

Paul told the scholars: “To meet these challenges we will need to make major adjustments and adaptations in every field of human endeavour. I believe that the Panjabi experience, which has been one of enormous adaptation through the centuries, speaks to these concerns and has much to offer”.

“Look at how successfully Panjabis have adapted to modern environments all over the world including in the UK and America. As societies modernize and struggle to make these transitions and adjustments, perhaps the Panjabi experience should be studied further and become better known”.

The conference in Wolverhampton, which has a large population of Sikh-Panjabi origin, is attended by scholars from Punjab, Haryana and West Bengal, besides others from the United States and the United Kingdom.

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