South Auckland Sikhs and Punjab Issues: Justice, Identity Work and Development
In South Auckland, New Zealand, we surveyed under three hundred Sikhs on how they used their internet-connected mobile phones to gather and share news on the 2019 Punjab elections. Survey participants identified “Punjab issues” as the main topic they communicated messages about on social media. Our paper explores the notion of “Punjab issues” in the context of Sikh social identity and habitus, or the circumstances and conditions of day-to-day existence for this migrant group. We examine how this habitus is underpinned by an interest in justice, which is based in deep historical memory and has persisted over time, as seen in the experiences of events such as the Partition of India in 1947 and the attack on the Golden Temple in 1984, and across space, as more Sikhs migrate from Punjab. Interwoven in the discussion is how the Sikh emphasis on justice fits with the United Nations’ 16th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG16), which underlines that justice and strong institutions determine how well a state practices the social inclusion of minorities by recognising their rights to peace, security, and prosperity.