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ethnic groups through their colonial ascriptions as self-descriptions.6 As Kaur points out, the preferential treatment given to Sikhs in recruitment to the army or the police through their construction as ’the martial races’  and the unsuitability of Malays and Chinese to be suitable for the policing of Malaya led to the large scale recruitment of Sikhs in the police force from 1873 to 1947.  The convergence of physiognomy, the construction of the martial race and recruitment in the Police Force resulted in the preferential recruitment of Punjabis or Sikhs in the police force as a height of 5.10 and 34 ¾ chest measurement was stipulated as the eligibility for being considered for recruitment. The return of Speedy and Walker, who had the experience of leading Sikhs during the 1857 Mutiny, to Punjab in search of pure Sikhs accounts for the large Sikh presence in Malaya until they faced competition from the Indian army in 1895. In fact, the isolation of the Khalsa over the multilayered and eclectic history of Sikhism in Sikh identarian narratives could be appropriated in colonialist constructions of the martial races.  The deep conviction of the British about “the martial prowess of the Sikhs” flowing out of “their religious observances or beliefs”, as Harjot Oberoi has pointed out(1994 361), illustrates how pseudo-scientific theories of race could be superscribed on caste hierarchies and ritual formations, such as Khalsa Sikh conventions, to serve colonial economic imperatives.

Works Cited

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Bagoo, Abdul Karim. Academic Exercise The Origin and Growth of the Malayan States. Singapore: University of Malaya 1954

Chapman, Graham. The Geopolitics of South Asia : From Early Empires to the Nuclear Age. Aldershot Ashgate 2003

Crush, Jonathan. “Post-colonialism, De-colonization, and Geography”. Geography and Empire.(ed)Anne Godlewska and Neil Smith Blackwell Oxford: OUP 1994

Gandharab, Sewa Singh. Early Sikh Pioneers of Singapore

Douie, James. The Panjab, North-West Frontier Province And Kashmir.

Cambridge : The University Press. 19 1 6

Edwardes Herbert. A Year on the Punjab Frontier. 1848-49

Foucault, Michel. “The Eye of Power” republished in Power\Knowledge. ed C. Gordon. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester.1980

Harrison, C W. Guide to the Federated Malay States 1910

Ibbetson, Daniel. Panjab Cstes. Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corp. 1974

Kaur, Arunajeet. Role of Sikhs in the policing of Malaya and the Straits Settlements. Unpublished M A Thesis 2003

Lal, Brij V. (Ed.) The Encyclopedia of The Indian Diaspora. Executive ed. Peter Reeves, Asst. ed. Rajesh Rai. Singapore: Didier Millet.2006

Oberoi Harjot. The Construction of Religious Boundaries: Culture, Identity, and Diversity in the Sikh Tradition. Delhi: OUP. 1994

Thorburn, S S. India Civil Service, Settlement Officer of the Bannu District. Bannu; or Our Afghan Frontier. London: Trtjbneit & Co. 57 and 59 Ludgate Hill. 1876

6  McLeod’s idea of the Sikh’s evolution into a martial consciousness by the sixth Guru to accommodate the jats who were of a militant tradition has a bearing here.

Third Critical Studies Conference, CRG, Kolkata

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