EcoSikh presented on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at a key academic conference on Sikhism and Gender at the University of Toronto on October 1, 2011.
The SAFAR: Our Journeys conference featured over 30 speakers including Sikh feminist scholars, theologians and leaders, including keynote speaker Nikky-Guninder Kaur author of The Birth of the Khalsa: A Feminist Re-Memory of Sikh Identity.
Bandana Kaur of EcoSikh presented a paper on Sikh women and biodiversity conservation in Punjab, the birthplace of the Sikh religion.
In her paper, titled “Women Farmers of Punjab: Forgotten Voices from the Plains”, Bandana examined the Green Revolution from the perspective of Sikh women living in the Malwa region of Punjab, an area recognized for the challenges posed to the farming community. Her paper examined the historical relationship between women and agricultural biodiversity in Punjab, and contemporary efforts by rural Sikh women to revive biodiversity today.
“Sikh women engaged in agricultural biodiversity conservation can help inform a new approach to agricultural development in Punjab that recognizes complex and interrelated systems in: the content and diversity of what is produced, the inputs both human and technical used to produce these goods, and the knowledge systems upon which choices are based,” said Bandana.
Bandana’s paper will be published in Yale University’s Tropical Resources Institute Bulletin. A special issue of the academic journal Sikh Feminist Review will be devoted to the conference proceedings as well. This public record of Sikh feminist research will serve as one of the first accessible domains to privilege Sikh feminist scholarship.