A post-colonial reading of Vaisakhi: unveiling the Indo-Canadian Sikh identity through Canadian media

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(Thesis) M.A.
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In this paper, I explore the ways in which concerns over nation and race have shaped “Canadian identity”. I read a range of texts of mainstream Canadian news representations of the Indo-Canadian Sikh community from the early 20th century to 2007. I focus specifically on the cultural celebration of Vaisakhi, a festival to commemorate the Northern Indian (Punjabi) New Year and harvest as well as to celebrate the formal anniversary of the Sikh faith. On the streets of Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, Vaisakhi is celebrated as a walk through designated areas where the Indo-Canadian Sikh community hosts the wider community with complementary food, beverages and entertainment. This paper draws on Canadian news narratives around the Indo-Canadian community and the very public celebration of Vaisakhi. Applying a post-colonial critique to the past and present mainstream Canadian news reveals the persistence of colonial ideology in contemporary Canadian culture.
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