CASTE AND VIEWS TOWARD MARRIAGE AMONG TWO SIKH GENERATIONS IN GREATER VANCOUVER, CANADA
Dolla, Dalbir 1989-
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My research explores the relevance of caste in marriage and how the importance one places on caste is influenced by intersections of age, gender and level of education. Focusing on the Sikh population in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, I examine how the Sikh religion influences perceptions of marriage in relation to the caste system. I ask about attitudes toward marriage among a sample of married and unmarried people. The Sikh religion was formed to promote a particular vision of equality and I contend that this foundation may have shifted due to the organizing cultural framework of the caste system in India at that time. Over the years the caste system became a part of Sikhism but it is a system that creates a divide amongst people. If caste is still of central importance to people’s marriage, my research lays the foundation for asking, Why and how does caste still matter in modern times and to the Sikhs, particularly those in the diaspora? In this study, 20 interviews were conducted of Canadian born Sikh children (aged 22-30) and Sikh immigrant parents (with children aged 22-30). Based on these interviews, three themes emerged: (1) The way that Sikhism is practiced and interpreted differs from the teachings of the religion (2) Caste is not always taught but is a concept that can be socially engrained and transmitted intergenerationally (3) Conversations of caste arise around discussions of partnering and marriage, but beliefs concerning the caste system vary from family to family. Given that there is a large Sikh immigrant population in Canada that has Canadian-born Sikh children, I intend for this study to contribute to knowledge development in the field and to shed light on the struggles or conflict that Canadian-born Sikh children may face as they contemplate marriage.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeEpstein, Heidi; Hrynkow, Christopher
Copyright DateSeptember 2018