Frontline in "Faiths at war" provides some background on the current conflict among Sikhs in India's Punjab, including this description of the use of a very iconic book in intra-religious conflict:
"In 2001, Dalit godman Piara Singh Bhaniarawala set off riots by releasing the Bhavsagar Granth, a 2,704-page religious text suffused with sakhis, or miracle stories, extolling his spiritual powers. According to the godman, the Bhavsagar Granth was written after upper-caste Sikhs in a neighbouring home refused to allow the display of the gurdwara's Guru Granth Sahib in a Dalit home. When Sikh neoconservatives burned copies of the Bhavsagar Granth, Bhaniarawala's followers retaliated by setting alight Birs, or copies of the Guru Granth Sahib. SGPC President Jagdev Singh Talwandi insisted that Piara Singh be booked for murder, claiming that the Guru Granth Sahib is a 'living guru'. Punjab's government balked at this measure but did prosecute Bhaniarawala for inciting communal hatred."
Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)