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The Punjab Research Group is a group of independent and interdisciplinary individuals engaged in Punjab Studies. The PRG was established in 1984 and next year will be celebrating 25 years of sustained research and promotion of Punjab Studies.
The PRG was founded in 1984 when a group of scholars came together due to their common interest in Punjab and Punjabis. Early 1894 was a tense period in Punjab and for Punjabi communities in the UK, culminating in Operation Blue Star in June 1984. These events led this group to organise an informal academic forum in the area of Punjab Studies. The PRG was established on the basis that it would be inclusive and all-embracing in issues pertaining to the three Punjabs. During the past 24 years it has allowed academics to interact with each other regardless of territorial or disciplinary borders. This is especially important given the often strained relationship between India and Pakistan which has prevented academic discourses to take place between scholars in East and West Punjab. Furthermore, it also reflects the growing importance of the Punjabi diaspora community in the UK. The PRG has therefore been able to act as a bridge between the three Punjabs.
When the group started in 1984 its activities were radical and pioneering in furthering regional studies, an area only beginning to emerge. The PRG has continued to meet two to three times a year at various universities across the UK to allow for broad participation. The group members have also organised panels on Punjab at European and International conferences. On its tenth anniversary, the PRG organised a major international conference, the first of its kind, in 1994 at Coventry University and launched the International Journal of Punjab Studies (renamed Journal of Punjab Studies after Vol. 10, 2004). The journal, currently in its 15th volume, continues to publish interdisciplinary and comparative research on the historical pre-1947 Punjab, the Indian and Pakistani Punjab after 1947, and the Punjabi Diaspora. The Journal has carried articles from an international list of contributors, with an interdisciplinary base that includes history, language and linguistics, literature, political science, economics, social anthropology, geography and theology.
The selected papers from the 1994 conference were brought together in an edited volume (Singh and Thandi, 1999). Two subsequent conferences have resulted in either publication of conferences proceedings or as special issues of the Journal of Punjab Studies. Most of the original members continue to participate actively in the groups’ activities, promoting and encouraging a number of ground-breaking research papers many of which have been subsequently published.
1984 – April – establishment of the Punjab Research Group at a conference in Coventry.
1994 – First International Conference on Punjab Studies at Coventry University – Punjabi Identity: Continuity and Change. The proceedings were subsequently published in an edited volume by Pritam Singh and Shinder S. Thandi, Punjabi Identity in a Global Context (OUP, 1999)
1999 – Conference to mark the 300th anniversary of founding of the Khalsa. Selected papers published in special issue of International Journal of Punjab Studies Vol.
2000 – Workshop held at Coventry University. It brought together scholars from Pakistan, India, Europe and North America to reflect on the theme of Migration, Urban Development and Demographic Change in Punjab 1880s-1990s. The proceedings were subsequently published in an edited volume by Ian Talbot and Shinder Thandi, People on the Move: Punjabi Colonial and Post-Colonial Migration (OUP, 2004)
2004 – Workshop at Coventry University. It brought together scholars from India, United States and the UK. The 1984 Delhi Anti-Sikh Pogroms: Assessment and Reflections Twenty Years On