Rafael Fuentes Tarin (UCL) - 2020-21 Students

Calendars & Power: Unravelling the political economy of Sikh timekeeping practices in India

My research looks at the political controversies surrounding implementation of a new solar Sikh calendar in India. The chart, named Nanakshahi, replaces the long-established Bikrami lunar calendar. Those supporting the move present it as a means to differentiate Sikhs from Hindus – who also use the previous lunar calendar – and to provide their communities with the regular rhythms demanded by capitalism. The result is that parallel calendars are now in use within Sikh communities, often creating confusion and reflecting social differentiation on sectarian basis. Timekeeping is an essential element of social organisation and studying this calendrical shift will provide a window into the religious, political and economic activities of Sikh communities in India. I am interested in different approaches to the notion of time in Social Science, the anthropological study of politics, violence and crime and how time-keeping devices, particularly calendars, can be used as ‘tools’ for political and economic domination.

Primary supervisor: Lucia Michelutti, UCL
Secondary supervisor: Charles Stewart, UCL

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