Focusing on early twentieth-century Punjab, this article considers how situating the region into historical context circumscribes the literary by tying it to place, thereby creating a seamless economy of exchange. In contrast, noting the refusal of literary and artistic output to be adjudicated into context, this article asks, Is it possible to consider the encounters within the Punjabi literary and artistic scene through a dislocation rather than a circuitous exchange within a singular Punjab? The author ponders this question by considering how analyses centered on exchange are unavoidable when situated within historicity—analyses that emerged in the colonial period as a central way to understand Sikh literary production. Such a grasp on Punjab, the Sikh tradition, and historicity, however, is loosened when we consider the nonhuman. The nonhuman, in other words, challenges the overt focus on history, conquest, and vision that undergirds our understanding of the Punjabi literary scene by functioning as an impediment to mediation, translation, and recognition. The focus on the nonhuman is not to offer a more robust or precise recognition to Punjab but to disarticulate the very contours of recognition through a focus on the eye.

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