The essays on history, society and culture of the Punjab in this volume were the outcome of public lectures delivered by Dr J. S. Grewal in 2006 as Visiting Professor in the Department of History, Punjabi University, Patiala. His lectures covered a wide range of themes with focus on the history, culture and historiography of the Punjab in general and the Sikhs in particular. Each of these lectures is based on research and bears the mark of the scholarship of an eminent historian. As a scholar of national and international repute, his contribution to the discipline of history is distinct.
Remarkable for its content, insightful interpretation and rigour of methodology, the present volume should be a good gift to all students of history, society and culture.
Professor J.S. Grewal joined the Department of History as Visiting Professor in April 2006 and delivered more than twenty lectures between July and November. Multidisciplinary in character, the lectures were of interest to a number of Departments. There was a good response from the students and teachers of all disciplines, including senior faculty members of the University. Each lecture was followed by a lively interaction.
I take this opportunity to record our sense of gratitude to Sardar Swarn Singh Boparai, Vice Chancellor of the University, for inviting eminent scholars to the University to promote academic excellence. Very kindly indeed, he agreed to write the foreword to this volume.
I feel happy to thank the staff and students of my Department for their co-operation in making the publication of this book a reality. I look upon it as a boon for researchers and teachers with serious interest in the history and culture of the region.
As a Visiting Professor at the Department of History, Punjabi University, Patiala, I delivered over a score of public lectures. On a suggestion from Dr Jaspal Kaur, Chairperson of the Department of History, the University decided to publish these lectures. For publication as the first volume, thirteen lectures have been selected. Most of these relate to new themes, and others are revised versions of papers already published. The volume as a whole contains much that is new in terms of information and interpretation.
I take this opportunity to thank the Vice-Chancellor, Shri Swan Singh Boparai, for inviting me to the University as a Visiting Professor. The Dean of Academic Affairs, Professor Sucha Singh Gill, was helpful in chalking out the programme. Not only the Department of History but also the Chairpersons and faculty members of other Departments took interest in these lectures: the Departments of Punjabi, Punjabi Language Development, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Fine Arts, Punjab Historical Studies, Religious Studies, and Guru Granth Sahib Studies. I am thankful to all of them. Their faculty and students gave comments or asked questions which obliged me to rethink. I gained much from this interaction, and I am thankful to all the students and faculty members who participated in the discussions.
The content of these lectures was discussed with Professor Indu Banga from time to time and she gave useful suggestions. I am happy to acknowledge her contribution. In preparing these lectures for publication, I have received much help from Karamjit K. Malhotra who is a Research Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research at the Panjab University, Chandigarh. Ms Ramneek Minhas typed out these lectures very carefully. The Publication Bureau of the Punjabi University have published this volume with care. I am thankful to them all.
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