Sikh Studies

The Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies

The Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies is endowed by Ishar Singh Bindra and his family in honor of Mr. Bindra's wife and family matriarch, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra. The chair was established to promote the academic study of Sikh religion, culture, and history. The endowment supports the appointment of a faculty member in Sikh Studies, helps build the University Library's holdings in Sikhism, provides scholarship assistance to students interested in Sikh religion and culture, and funds conferences and lectures directed toward the academic community as well as the general public.

Because of this chair, Hofstra University has become known internationally as a center for the study of Sikh religion and culture. The Bindra family also established the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize at Hofstra, an international award that recognizes significant efforts to promote interfaith harmony. The inaugural Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize was awarded to His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, in 2008.

Hofstra University is also home to the Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology, the first of its kind at a Western university. It was instituted at Hofstra University in 2011 by Dr. Hakam Singh, with the aim of promoting Sikh culture through one of its most relevant aspects: music.


The Religion major or minor with a concentration in Sikh Studies

At Hofstra, majoring or minoring in Religion is very flexible. You can tailor your study to focus on a vocational area or a particular tradition, or you can choose courses that expose you to a diversity of religious traditions.

If you choose to major or minor in Religion with an emphasis in Sikh Studies, you will find that other courses in the department and across the University complement these offerings. Please consult Dr. Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, for more information.

Courses taught by Professor Bhogal:

RELI 015 – (CC) Introduction to Eastern Religious Traditions
RELI 016 – (CC, HP) Religions of India
RELI 019 – (CC) Introduction to Buddhism
RELI 036 – (CC, HP) Modern Gurus: Yoga and Selling Spirituality
RELI 040 – (CC, HP) Yoga, Psychology & Health
RELI 075 – (CC) Mysticism and the Spiritual Quest
RELI 103 – (CC) Warrior Saints: An Introduction to the Sikh Religion
RELI 104 – (CC, HP) Buddhist Thought
RELI 130 – (HP) Thinking Mysticism: Sex and Power
RELI 157 – (CC) Sikh Mysticism
RELI 160 – (HP) Religion, Secularism and Conflict Resolution

Students may also be interested in Hofstra's offerings in Sikh musicology
MUS 017 - (AA, CC) Introduction to the Sikh Musical Tradition

Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize

The Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize recognizes and supports the efforts of those individuals and organizations who work to advance the vision of the founder of Sikhism. The prize was established with a gift from the family of Sardar Ishar Singh Bindra and Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra, prominent Sikh Americans living in Brookville, New York. 

Meet the Chair

Balbinder Bhogal

Balbinder Singh Bhogal, PhD, joined the Hofstra faculty in 2007 and was formally installed as the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies in 2008.

Dr. Bhogal was previously associate professor in South Asian religions and cultures, Division of Humanities, Faculty of Arts at York University in Toronto. He received a PhD from London University, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2001, and a BA (hons) from Lancaster University. He has served as a professor in departments of religion, philosophy, and humanities at universities in England, the United States and Canada. Dr. Bhogal's interests include South Asian religions and cultures, specializing in Sikh studies, particularly the philosophy and critical interpretation of the Guru Granth Sahib; the relationship and interaction between Indian philosophy and Western/Continental philosophy; and the study of mysticism, orientalist and decolonial discourses. His publications can be downloaded from his site here.

More about the chair

Appointment of the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair

Balbinder Singh Bhogal, PhD, was formally installed as the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies at a 2008 convocation at the Hofstra University Club, David S. Mack Hall.

Bindra Chair Convocation

Recent Events

Please contact the Sikh Studies program at Sikh Studies


Kisan Morcha and Sikhi: Neoliberal Violence, Hindutva Fascism and the Left. See here for Abstracts, Poster and Recording of the Zoom Panel conference

January 15, 2021
Hofstra University


Conference: Gurū Nānak's Ek-Anek Vision: Beyond Relativist and Plural Diversities of the Musical Word

October 10-12, 2019
Hofstra University

The Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies with the Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology and Hofstra's Religion and Music Departments 

Violent Nations

7th conference: Violent Nations: 1984's Othering of Sikhs

October 31-November 2, 2014
Hofstra University
Organized by the Endowed Chair in Sikh Studies, Dr. Balbinder Singh Bhogal & Prabhsharandeep Singh... | more |

Sikhi(sm), Literature and Film

6th Conference: Sikhi(sm), Literature and Film

October 19-21, 2012
Hofstra University
Organized by the Endowed Chair in Sikh Studies, Dr. Balbinder Singh Bhogal... | more |

Documenting Tradition? 2012

Documenting Tradition? 2012

Safina Uberoi's My Mother India (2001), A Good Man (2009)
Harjant Gill's Roots of Love (2011) ... | more |



Remainders of White Supremacy Reflections on the Oak Creek Temple Killings ( 2012)
Lecture by Dr. Nikhil Pal Singh (NYU) and panel discussion with Dr. Arvind Mandair (Univ. of Michigan) and Dr. Ann Burlein (Hofstra University)... | more |


5th Conference: The Hermeneutics of Sikh Music (rāg) and Word (shabad)

MAY-10 Is music a language? Is there meaning in music? Perhaps universal meaning – given the popular platitude that music is the only universal language. Or is the meaning in music mediated by culture to such an extent that one is hard put to speak of universals?... | more |

Dr. Balbinder Singh Bhogal

Dr. Balbinder Singh Bhogal Installed as the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies

3-DEC-08 Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Ph.D., was formally installed as the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies at Hofstra University at a convocation on Wednesday, Dec. 3 | more |

Bhai Baldeep Singh

Two Concerts of Sikh Sacred Music and Song Fall 2008

Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – President Stuart Rabinowitz today announced the creation of an endowed chair in the Department of Religion for the study and teaching of Sikh musical traditions. | more |