Handbook of Research on Development and Religion
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Handbook of Research on Development and Religion

Edited by Matthew Clarke

With eighty percent of the world’s population professing religious faith, religious belief is a common human characteristic. This fascinating and highly unique Handbook brings together state-of-the-art research on incorporating religion into development studies.
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Chapter 7: Sikhism and development: a perfect match?

Darshan S. Tatla


This chapter examines how Sikhism has influenced the economic outlook and social ethos of its followers by examining relevant literature. At its most general level, the review raises the question of whether the Sikh tradition is compatible with or hinders development, as generally understood in the mainstream ‘development discourse’ (Nkurunziza, 2007). This question is discussed by examining the nature of Sikhism, its evolution over time and the values, beliefs and practices of its adherents. Religious values, beliefs and practices not only affect economic life, they also influence social relationships at family, community and societal levels. For example, membership of a religious group can and does affect livelihood decisions, a person’s sense of social inclusion or exclusion, and the ways and means of social and political engagement. Given the social composition of a particular community, the question arises of whether and how some groups are discriminated against, how various social groups feel about their social position and the reactions of those who feel marginalized. Ideas of inclusion or exclusion within a religious tradition are particularly relevant, given the dominance of Jat Sikhs.

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