Rise of Deras in Punjab: A Serious Challenge to Main Stream Sikhism
Dr. Neeru Verma

This research paper reveals that Deras and politicians both thrive on each other in Punjab. While Deras use politicians patronage to attract devotees, the politicians woo dera Managements to get votes of their large number of followers. Further this paper explores that these Deras not only became the centre of religious, but also the venue of social and political ,thinking of the community. In fact , these Deras played a decisive role in rising of the social and political consciousness of the Dalits which led to sharpening the contradictions between the Jat Sikhs and them in the state. As a result Punjab has witnessed a volatile situation and led to a series of violent Jat- Dalits clashes in the state. This kind of situation poses a serious challenge not only to main stream Sikhism but also to political stability of the state. The importance of Deras in Punjab and their resistance to the monopolistic authority of the Sikhs has acquired significant importance in current political history of Punjab. Even this issue seems unresolved in future also . This kind of phenomenon pose a serious challenge to the institution of democracy in India.

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