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A Sikh
Sikh
(/siːk, sɪk/; Punjabi: ਸਿੱਖ sikkh [sɪkkʰ]) is a person associated with the Sikh
Sikh
nation, sharing a common history, culture, language (Punjabi) and panentheistic religion. The term "Sikh" has its origin in the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
words शिष्य (śiṣya; disciple, student) or शिक्ष (śikṣa; instruction).[20][21] A Sikh, according to Article I of the Sikh Rehat Maryada (the Sikh code of conduct), is "any human being who faithfully believes in One Immortal Being; ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
to Guru Gobind Singh; Guru Granth Sahib; the teachings of the ten Gurus and the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru".[22] Many countries, such as the United Kingdom, therefore recognize Sikh as a designated ethnicity on their censuses.[23] The American non-profit organization United Sikhs has fought to have Sikh
Sikh
included on the U.S. census as well, arguing that Sikhs "self-identify as an 'ethnic minority'" and believe "that they are more than just a religion".[24] Male Sikhs have "Singh" (Lion), and female Sikhs have "Kaur" (Princess) as their middle or last name. Sikhs who have undergone the khanḍe-kī-pahul (the Sikh
Sikh
initiation ceremony) may also be recognised by the five Ks: kesh, uncut hair which is kept covered, usually by a turban; an iron or steel bracelet (kara); a kirpan (a sword tucked into a gatra strap or a kamal kasar belt); kachehra, a cotton undergarment; and kanga, a small wooden comb. Initiated male and female Sikhs must cover their hair with a turban. The greater Punjab region
Punjab region
is the historic homeland of the Sikhs, although significant communities exist around the world.

Contents

1 History 2 Culture and religious observations

2.1 Daily routine 2.2 Five Ks 2.3 Music and instruments

3 Demographics

3.1 Castes

4 Occupation 5 In the Indian and British armies 6 Diaspora 7 Sikh
Sikh
nationalism and the Khalistan movement 8 Art and culture

8.1 Painting

9 See also 10 Footnotes 11 References and notes 12 Further reading 13 External links

History[edit] Main article: History of Sikhism

Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Nankana Sahib

Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
(1469–1539), founder of Sikhism, was born to Mehta Kalu and Mata Tripta, in the village of Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore.[25] Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
was a religious leader and social reformer. However, Sikh
Sikh
political history may be said to begin with the death of the fifth Sikh
Sikh
guru, Guru Arjan
Guru Arjan
Dev, in 1606.[26] Religious practices were formalised by Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh
on 30 March 1699. Gobind Singh
Singh
initiated five people from a variety of social backgrounds, known as the Panj Piare
Panj Piare
(the five beloved ones) to form the Khalsa,[27] or collective body of initiated Sikhs. During the period of Mughal rule in India
India
(1556–1707) several Sikh gurus
Sikh gurus
were killed by the Mughals for opposing their persecution of minority religious communities including Sikhs.[28] Sikhs subsequently militarized to oppose Mughal rule.[citation needed]

The Samadhi of Emperor Ranjit Singh
Singh
in Lahore, Pakistan

Golden Temple

A Sikh
Sikh
Khalsa
Khalsa
Army sowar's battle helmet

After defeating the Afghan, Mughal and Maratha invaders, the Misls were formed, under Sultan-ul-Quam Jassa Singh
Singh
Ahluwalia. The confederacy was unified and transformed into the Sikh Empire
Sikh Empire
under Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Singh
Bahadur, which was characterised by religious tolerance and pluralism, with Christians, Muslims and Hindus
Hindus
in positions of power. The empire is considered the zenith of political Sikhism,[29] encompassing Kashmir, Ladakh
Ladakh
and Peshawar. Hari Singh Nalwa, the commander-in-chief of the Sikh
Sikh
Khalsa
Khalsa
Army in the North West Frontier, expanded the confederacy to the Khyber Pass. Its secular administration implemented military, economic and governmental reforms.

Sikh
Sikh
armour and weapons

After the annexation of the Sikh
Sikh
kingdom by the British, the latter recognized the martial qualities of the Sikhs and Punjabis in general and started recruiting from that area. During the 1857 Indian mutiny, the Sikhs stayed loyal to the British. This resulted in heavy recruiting from Punjab to the colonial army for the next 90 years of the British Raj.[30] The distinct turban that differentiates a Sikh from other turban wearers is a relic of the rules of the British Indian Army.[31] According to Mahmud, the British did not discover the Martial race of the Sikh, it was rather created by the British[32] The British colonial rule saw the emergence of many reform movements in India
India
including Punjab. This included formation in 1873 and 1879 of the First and Second Singh
Singh
Sabha respectively. The Sikh
Sikh
leaders of the Singh
Singh
Sabha worked to offer a clear definition of Sikh
Sikh
identity and tried to purify Sikh
Sikh
belief and practice.[33] The later part of British colonial rule saw the emergence of the Akali movement or the Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Reform Movement to bring reform in the gurdwaras during the early 1920s. The movement led to the introduction of Sikh
Sikh
Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Bill in 1925, which placed all the historical Sikh shrines in India
India
under the control of Shiromani Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).[34] The months leading up to the partition of India
India
in 1947 were marked by conflict in the Punjab between Sikhs and Muslims. This caused the religious migration of Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus
Hindus
from West Punjab, mirroring a similar religious migration of Punjabi Muslims from East Punjab.[35] The 1960s saw growing animosity between Sikhs and Hindus in India,[36] with the Sikhs demanding the creation of a Punjab state on a linguistic basis similar to other states in India. This was promised to Sikh
Sikh
leader Master Tara Singh
Singh
by Jawaharlal Nehru, in return for Sikh
Sikh
political support during negotiations for Indian independence.[37] Although the Sikhs obtained the Punjab, they lost Hindi-speaking areas to Himachal Pradesh, Haryana
Haryana
and Rajasthan. Chandigarh
Chandigarh
was made a union territory and the capital of Haryana
Haryana
and Punjab on 1 November 1966. Tensions arose again during the late 1970s, fueled by Sikh
Sikh
claims of discrimination and marginalisation by the Hindu-dominated Indian National Congress party and tactics adopted by the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. According to Katherine Frank,[38][not in citation given] Indira Gandhi's assumption of emergency powers in 1975 resulted in the weakening of the "legitimate and impartial machinery of government," and her increasing "paranoia" about opposing political groups led her to institute a "despotic policy of playing castes, religions and political groups against each other for political advantage."[citation needed] Sikh
Sikh
leader Jarnail Singh
Singh
Bhindranwale articulated Sikh
Sikh
demands for justice, and this triggered violence in the Punjab. The prime minister's 1984 defeat of Bhindranwale led to an attack on the Golden Temple
Golden Temple
in Operation Blue Star
Operation Blue Star
and to her assassination by her Sikh
Sikh
bodyguards.[39] Gandhi's assassination resulted in an explosion of violence against Sikh
Sikh
communities and the killing of thousands of Sikhs throughout India. Since 1984, relations between Sikhs and Hindus
Hindus
have moved toward a rapprochement aided by economic prosperity. However, a 2002 claim by the Hindu right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
(RSS) that "Sikhs are Hindus" disturbed Sikh
Sikh
sensibilities.[40] The Khalistan movement
Khalistan movement
campaigns for justice for the victims of the violence, and for the political and economic needs of the Punjab.[41] During the 1999 Vaisakhi, Sikhs worldwide celebrated the 300th anniversary of the creation of the Khalsa. Canada
Canada
Post honoured Sikh Canadians with a commemorative stamp in conjunction with the 300th anniversary of Vaisakhi. On April 9, 1999, Indian president K.R. Narayanan issued a stamp commemorating the 300th anniversary of the Khalsa.[42] Culture and religious observations[edit] Daily routine[edit] From the Guru Granth Sahib,[43]

One who calls himself a Sikh
Sikh
of the Guru, the True Guru, shall rise in the early morning hours and meditate on the Lord's Name. Upon arising early in the morning, he is to bathe, and cleanse himself in the pool of nectar. Following the Instructions of the Guru, he is to chant the Name of the Lord, Har, Har. All sins, misdeeds and negativity shall be erased. Then, at the rising of the sun, he is to sing Gurbani; whether sitting down or standing up, he is to meditate on the Lord's Name. One who meditates on my Lord, Har, Har, with every breath and every morsel of food - that Gur Sikh
Sikh
becomes pleasing to the Guru's Mind. That person, unto whom my Lord and Master is kind and compassionate - upon that GurSikh, the Guru's Teachings are bestowed. Servant Nanak begs for the dust of the feet of that GurSikh, who himself chants the Naam, and inspires others to chant it. — Fourth Mehl (Guru Ram Das), Guru Granth Sahib, Pg 305

Five Ks[edit] Main articles: Khalsa
Khalsa
and Sahajdhari

Kanga, Kara and Kirpan: three of the five Sikh
Sikh
articles of faith

The five Ks (panj kakaar) are five articles of faith which all baptized Sikhs (Amritdhari Sikhs) are obliged to wear. The symbols represent the ideals of Sikhism: honesty, equality, fidelity, meditating on Waheguru and never bowing to tyranny.[44] The five symbols are:

Kesh: Uncut hair, usually tied and wrapped in a Dastar Kanga: A wooden comb, usually worn under a Dastar Kachera: Cotton undergarments, historically appropriate in battle due to increased mobility when compared to a dhoti. Worn by both sexes, the kachera is a symbol of chastity. Kara: An iron bracelet, a weapon and a symbol of eternity Kirpan: An iron dagger in different sizes. In the UK Sikhs can wear a small dagger, but in the Punjab they might wear a traditional curved sword from one to three feet in length.

Music and instruments[edit] Main article: Sikh
Sikh
music

Woman playing the dilruba

The Sikhs have a number of musical instruments: the rebab, dilruba, taus, jori and sarinda. Playing the sarangi was encouraged by Guru Hargobind. The rebab was played by Bhai Mardana
Bhai Mardana
as he accompanied Guru Nanak on his journeys. The jori and sarinda were introduced to Sikh devotional music by Guru Arjan. The taus was designed by Guru Hargobind, who supposedly heard a peacock singing and wanted to create an instrument mimicking its sounds (taus is the Persian word for peacock). The dilruba was designed by Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh
at the request of his followers, who wanted a smaller instrument than the taus. After Japji Sahib, all of the shabad in the Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Granth Sahib
were composed as raags. This type of singing is known as Gurmat Sangeet. When they marched into battle, the Sikhs would play a Ranjit Nagara (victory drum) to boost morale. Nagaras (usually two to three feet in diameter, although some were up to five feet in diameter) are played with two sticks. The beat of the large drums, and the raising of the Nishan Sahib, meant that the singhs were on their way.

Demographics[edit] Main article: Sikh
Sikh
diaspora

India's Sikh
Sikh
population and their percentage of the total population

Numbering about 27 million worldwide, Sikhs make up 0.39 percent[45] of the world population; approximately 83 percent live in India. About 76 percent of all Sikhs live in the north Indian State of Punjab, where they form a majority (about two-thirds) of the population.[46] Substantial communities of Sikhs live in the Indian states or union territories of Chandigarh
Chandigarh
where they form 13.11% of the population, Haryana
Haryana
(more than 1.2 million), Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Assam
Assam
and Jammu and Kashmir.[47] Sikh
Sikh
migration from British India
India
began in earnest during the second half of the 19th century, when the British completed their annexation of the Punjab.[35] The British Raj
British Raj
recruited Sikhs for the Indian Civil Service (particularly the British Indian Army), which led to Sikh
Sikh
migration throughout India
India
and the British Empire.[35] During the Raj, semiskilled Sikh
Sikh
artisans were transported from the Punjab to British East Africa
East Africa
to help build railroads. Sikhs emigrated from India
India
after World War II, most going to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
but many to North America. Some Sikhs who had settled in eastern Africa were expelled by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin
Idi Amin
in 1972.[48] Economics is a major factor in Sikh
Sikh
migration, and significant communities exist in the United Kingdom, the United States, Malaysia, East Africa, Australia, Singapore
Singapore
and Thailand. Due to this, Canada
Canada
is the country that has the highest number of Sikhs in proportion to the population in the world at 1.4% of Canada's total population.[49]

Map showing world Sikh
Sikh
population areas and historical migration patterns (2004 estimate).[50]

Although the rate of Sikh
Sikh
migration from the Punjab has remained high, traditional patterns of Sikh
Sikh
migration favouring English-speaking countries (particularly the United Kingdom) have changed during the past decade due to stricter immigration laws. Moliner (2006) wrote[51] that as a consequence of Sikh
Sikh
migration to the UK "becom[ing] virtually impossible since the late 1970s", migration patterns evolved to continental Europe. Italy
Italy
is a rapidly growing destination for Sikh migration,[52] with Reggio Emilia
Reggio Emilia
and Vicenza
Vicenza
having significant Sikh population clusters.[53] Italian Sikhs are generally involved in agriculture, agricultural processing, the manufacture of machine tools and horticulture.[54] Johnson and Barrett (2004) estimate that the global Sikh
Sikh
population increases annually by 392,633 (1.7 percent per year, based on 2004 figures); this percentage includes births, deaths and conversions. Primarily for socio-economic reasons, Indian Sikhs have the lowest adjusted growth rate of any major religious group in India, at 16.9 percent per decade (estimated from 1991 to 2001).[55] The Sikh population has the lowest gender balance in India, with only 903 women per 1,000 men according to the 2011 Indian census.[56] Castes[edit] Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
in Sri Granth Sahib calls for treating everyone equally[note 1]. Other Sikh Gurus
Sikh Gurus
also denounced the hierarchy of the caste system. However they all came from just one caste, the Khatris.[60] Despite that social stratification exists in the Sikh community. Over 60% of Sikhs belong to the Jat
Jat
caste, which is an agrarian caste. Despite being very small in numbers, the mercantile Khatri
Khatri
and Arora castes wield considerable influence within the Sikh
Sikh
community. Other common Sikh
Sikh
castes include Sainis(kshatriyas), Rajputs, Ramgarhias (artisans), Ahluwalias (formerly brewers), Kambojs (rural caste), Labanas, Kumhars and the two Dalit
Dalit
castes, known in Sikh
Sikh
terminology as the Mazhabis (the Chuhras) and the Ramdasias (the Chamars).[61] According to Surinder Singh
Singh
Jodhka, the Sikh
Sikh
religion does not advocate discrimination against any caste or creed, however, in practice, Sikhs belonging to the landowning dominant castes have not shed all their prejudices against the Dalit
Dalit
castes. While Dalits would be allowed entry into the village gurdwaras they would not be permitted to cook or serve langar (Communal meal). Therefore, wherever they could mobilise resources, the Sikh
Sikh
Dalits[62] of Punjab have tried to construct their own gurdwara and other local level institutions in order to attain a certain degree of cultural autonomy.[63] In 1953, Sikh
Sikh
leader, Master Tara Singh, succeeded in persuading the Indian Government to include Sikh
Sikh
castes of the converted untouchables in the list of scheduled castes.[64][65] In the Shiromani Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Prabandhak Committee, 20 of the 140 seats are reserved for low-caste Sikhs.,[64][65][66] Occupation[edit]

Soldiers of the Indian Army's Sikh Light Infantry
Sikh Light Infantry
regiment

According to a 1994 estimate, Punjabis (Sikhs and non-Sikhs) comprised 10 to 15 percent of all ranks in the Indian Army, although the state contained less than 3% of the country's population. The Indian government does not release religious or ethnic origins of the military personnel, but a 1991 report by Tim McGirk estimated that 20 percent of Indian Army
Indian Army
officers were Sikhs.[67] Apart from the Gurkhas recruited from Nepal, the Maratha Light Infantry
Maratha Light Infantry
from Maharashtra
Maharashtra
and the Jat
Jat
Regiment, the Sikhs remain the one community to have exclusive regiments in the Indian Army.[67] The Sikh Regiment
Sikh Regiment
is one of the most-decorated regiments in the army,[68] with 73 Battle Honours, 14 Victoria Crosses,[69] 21 first-class Indian Orders of Merit (equivalent to the Victoria Cross),[70] 15 Theatre Honours, five COAS Unit Citations, two Param Vir Chakras, 14 Maha Vir Chakras, five Kirti Chakras, 67 Vir Chakras and 1,596 other awards. The highest-ranking general in the history of the Indian Air Force is a Punjabi Sikh, Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh.[71] Plans by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence for a Sikh
Sikh
infantry regiment were scrapped in June 2007.[72] Historically, most Indians have been farmers and 66 percent of the Indian population are engaged in agriculture.[73] Indian Sikhs are employed in agriculture to a lesser extent; India's 2001 census found 39 percent of the working population of the Punjab employed in this sector.[74] The success of the 1960s Green Revolution, in which India went from "famine to plenty, from humiliation to dignity",[75] was based in the Punjab (which became known as "the breadbasket of India").[76][77] The Punjab is the wealthiest Indian state per capita, with the average Punjabi income three times the national average.[78] The Green Revolution
Green Revolution
centred on Indian farmers adopting more intensive and mechanised agricultural methods, aided by the electrification of the Punjab, cooperative credit, consolidation of small holdings and the existing, British Raj-developed canal system.[79] According to Swedish political scientist Ishtiaq Ahmad, a factor in the success of the Indian green revolution
Indian green revolution
was the " Sikh
Sikh
cultivator, often the Jat, whose courage, perseverance, spirit of enterprise and muscle prowess proved crucial".[80] However, not all aspects of the green revolution were beneficial. Indian physicist Vandana Shiva[81] wrote that the green revolution made the "negative and destructive impacts of science [i.e. the green revolution] on nature and society" invisible, and was a catalyst for Punjabi Sikh
Sikh
and Hindu tensions despite a growth in material wealth.

A Sikh
Sikh
temple, Nanaksar Gurudwara, in Richmond, British Columbia

Punjabi Sikhs are engaged in a number of professions which include science, engineering and medicine. Notable examples are nuclear scientist Piara Singh
Singh
Gill (who worked on the Manhattan Project), fibre-optics pioneer Narinder Singh
Singh
Kapany and physicist, science writer and broadcaster Simon Singh. In business, the UK-based clothing retailers New Look and the Thai-based Jaspal[82] were founded by Sikhs. India's largest pharmaceutical company, Ranbaxy Laboratories, is headed by Sikhs.[83] UK Sikhs have the highest percentage of home ownership (82 percent) of any religious community.[84] UK Sikhs are the second-wealthiest (after the Jewish
Jewish
community) religious group in the UK, with a median total household wealth of £229,000.[85] In Singapore
Singapore
Kartar Singh
Singh
Thakral expanded his family's trading business, Thakral Holdings,[86] into total assets of almost $1.4 billion and is Singapore's 25th-richest person. Sikh
Sikh
Bob Singh
Singh
Dhillon is the first Indo-Canadian
Indo-Canadian
billionaire. The Sikh diaspora
Sikh diaspora
has been most successful in North America. Sikh
Sikh
intellectuals, sportsmen and artists include writer Khushwant Singh, England cricketer Monty Panesar, former 400m runner Milkha Singh, Indian wrestler and actor Dara Singh, former Indian hockey team captains Ajitpal Singh
Singh
and Balbir Singh
Singh
Sr., former Indian cricket captain Bishen Singh
Singh
Bedi, Harbhajan Singh (India's most successful off spin cricket bowler), Navjot Singh
Singh
Sidhu (former Indian cricketer turned politician). Bollywood actresses include Neetu Singh, Poonam Dhillon, Mahi Gill, Esha Deol, Parminder Nagra, Gul Panag, Mona Singh, Namrata Singh
Singh
Gujral and director Gurinder Chadha, Parminder Gill . Sikhs have migrated worldwide, with a variety of occupations. The Sikh Gurus preached ethnic and social harmony, and Sikhs comprise a number of ethnic groups. Those with over 1,000 members include the Ahluwalia, Arain, Arora, Bhatra, Bairagi, Bania, Basith, Bawaria, Bazigar, Bhabra, Chamar, Chhimba, Darzi, Dhobi, Gujar, Jatt, Jhinwar, Kahar, Kalal, Kamboj, Khatri, Kumhar, Labana, Lohar, Mahtam, Mazhabi, Megh, Mirasi, Mochi, Mohyal, Nai, Rajput, Ramgarhia, Saini, Sansi, Sudh, Tarkhan, Kashyap Rajput
Rajput
. An order of Punjabi Sikhs, the Nihang
Nihang
or the Akalis, was formed during Ranjit Singh's time. Under their leader, Akali Phula Singh, they won many battles for the Sikh
Sikh
Confederacy during the early 19th century. In the Indian and British armies[edit]

French postcard depicting the arrival of the 15th Sikh Regiment
Sikh Regiment
in France during World War I; the bilingual postcard reads, "Gentlemen of India
India
marching to chasten the German hooligans".

Main article: Sikhs in the Indian and British Armies Sikhs supported the British during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.[87] By the beginning of World War I, Sikhs in the British Indian Army totaled over 100,000 (20 percent of the force). Until 1945 fourteen Victoria Crosses
Victoria Crosses
were awarded to Sikhs, a per-capita regimental record.[69] In 2002 the names of all Sikh
Sikh
VC and George Cross recipients were inscribed on the monument of the Memorial Gates[88] on Constitution Hill, next to Buckingham Palace.[89] Chanan Singh
Singh
Dhillon was instrumental in campaigning for the memorial.

Japanese soldiers shooting blindfolded Sikh
Sikh
prisoners

During World War I, Sikh
Sikh
battalions fought in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Gallipoli
Gallipoli
and France. Six battalions of the Sikh
Sikh
Regiment were raised during World War II, serving in the Second Battle of El Alamein, the Burma and Italian campaigns and in Iraq and receiving 27 battle honours. Around the world, Sikhs are commemorated in Commonwealth cemeteries.[90]

In the last two world wars 83,005 turban wearing Sikh
Sikh
soldiers were killed and 109,045 were wounded fighting for the British Empire. During shell fire, they had no other head protection but the turban, the symbol of their faith. — General Sir Frank Messervy[91]

British people are highly indebted and obliged to Sikhs for a long time. I know that within this century we needed their help twice [in two world wars] and they did help us very well. As a result of their timely help, we are today able to live with honour, dignity, and independence. In the war, they fought and died for us, wearing the turbans. — Sir Winston Churchill[92]

Diaspora[edit] Main article: Sikh
Sikh
diaspora

Sikhs celebrating Vaisakhi, the birth of the Khalsa
Khalsa
Toronto

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Sikhs began to emigrate to East Africa,[93] the Far East, Canada, the United States
United States
and the United Kingdom. In 1907 the Khalsa
Khalsa
Diwan Society was established in Vancouver, and four years later the first gurdwara was established in London. In 1912 the first gurdwara in the United States
United States
was founded in Stockton, California.[94] Since Sikhs (like many Middle Eastern men) wear turbans and keep beards, some people in Western countries have mistaken Sikh
Sikh
men for Muslim
Muslim
or Arabic
Arabic
and Afghan men since the September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks
and the Iraq War.[95][96] Several days after the 9/11 attacks Sikh
Sikh
Balbir Singh
Singh
Sodhi was murdered by Frank Roque, who thought Sodhi was connected with al-Qaeda. CNN suggested an increase in hate crimes against Sikh
Sikh
men in the United States
United States
and the UK after the 9/11 attacks.[95][96] Since Sikhism
Sikhism
has never actively sought converts, the Sikhs have remained a relatively homogeneous ethnic group. The Kundalini Yoga-based activities of Harbhajan Singh
Singh
Yogi in his 3HO
3HO
(Happy, Healthy, Holy) organisation claim to have inspired a moderate growth in non-Indian adherents of Sikhism.[97] In 1998 an estimated 7,800 3HO Sikhs, known colloquially as ‘gora’ (ਗੋਰਾ) or ‘white’ Sikhs,[98] were mainly centred around Española, New Mexico
Española, New Mexico
and Los Angeles, California. Sikhs and the Sikh
Sikh
American Legal Defense and Education Fund overturned a 1925 Oregon
Oregon
law banning the wearing of turbans by teachers and government officials.[99] In an attempt to foster Sikh
Sikh
leaders in the Western world, youth initiatives by a number of organisations exist. The Sikh
Sikh
Youth Alliance of North America
North America
sponsors an annual Sikh
Sikh
Youth Symposium, a public-speaking and debate competition held in gurdwaras throughout the U.S. and Canada. There are a number of Sikh
Sikh
office holders in Canada. In the United States, the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, was born and raised as a Sikh, but converted to Christianity after her marriage. She still actively attends both Sikh
Sikh
and Christian services. Sikh
Sikh
nationalism and the Khalistan movement[edit] Main article: Khalistan movement

Flag used by the NGO[100][101] Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization to represent Khalistan[102] from 24 January 1993 to 4 August 1993; the membership was permanently suspended on 22 January 1995.

The Khalistan movement
Khalistan movement
is a Sikh
Sikh
nationalist movement, which seeks to create a separate country called Khalistān (Punjabi: ਖਾਲਿਸਤਾਨ, "The Land of the Pure") in the Punjab region of South Asia.[103] The territorial definition of the proposed country ranges from the Punjab state of India
India
to the greater Punjab region, including the neighbouring Indian states.[104][105][106][107] The Punjab region
Punjab region
has been the traditional homeland for the Sikhs. Before its conquest by the British it had been ruled by the Sikhs for 82 years; the Sikh
Sikh
Misls ruled over the entire Punjab from 1767 to 1799,[108] until their confederacy was unified into the Sikh Empire
Sikh Empire
by Maharajah Ranjit Singh. However, the region also has a substantial number of Hindus
Hindus
and Muslims, and before 1947, the Sikhs formed the largest religious group only in the Ludhiana district
Ludhiana district
of the British province. When the Muslim
Muslim
League demanded a separate country for Muslims via the Lahore
Lahore
Resolution of 1940, a section of Sikh
Sikh
leaders grew concerned that their community would be left without any homeland following the partition of India
India
between the Hindus
Hindus
and the Muslims. They put forward the idea of Khalistan, envisaging it as a theocratic state covering a small part of the greater Punjab region. After the partition was announced, the majority of the Sikhs migrated from the Pakistani province of Punjab to the Indian province of Punjab, which then included the parts of the present-day Haryana
Haryana
and Himachal Pradesh. Following India's independence in 1947, the Punjabi Suba Movement led by the Akali Dal
Akali Dal
aimed at creation of a Punjabi-majority state (Suba) in the Punjab region
Punjab region
of India
India
in the 1950s.[109] Concerned that creating a Punjabi-majority state would effectively mean creating a Sikh-majority state, the Indian government initially rejected the demand. After a series of protests, violent clampdowns on the Sikhs, and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Government finally agreed to partition the state, creating a new Sikh-majority Punjab state and splitting the rest of the region to the states of Himachal Pradesh, the new state Haryana.[110] Subsequently, the Sikh
Sikh
leaders started demanding more autonomy for the states, alleging that the Central government was discriminating against Punjab. Although the Akali Dal
Akali Dal
explicitly opposed the demand for an independent Sikh
Sikh
country, the issues raised by it were used as a premise for the creation of a separate country by the proponents of Khalistan. In 1971, the Khalistan proponent Jagjit Singh
Singh
Chauhan travelled to the United States. He placed an advertisement in The New York Times proclaiming the formation of Khalistan and was able to collect millions of dollars from the Sikh
Sikh
diaspora.[111] On 12 April 1980, he held a meeting with the Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
before declaring the formation of "National Council of Khalistan", at Anandpur Sahib.[112] He declared himself as the President of the Council and Balbir Singh
Singh
Sandhu as its Secretary General. In May 1980, Jagjit Singh
Singh
Chauhan travelled to London
London
and announced the formation of Khalistan. A similar announcement was made by Balbir Singh
Singh
Sandhu, in Amritsar, who released stamps and currency of Khalistan. The inaction of the authorities in Amritsar
Amritsar
and elsewhere was decried by Akali Dal
Akali Dal
headed by the Sikh
Sikh
leader Harchand Singh
Singh
Longowal as a political stunt by the Congress(I) party of Indira Gandhi.[113] The Khalistan movement
Khalistan movement
reached its zenith in the 1970s and 1980s, flourishing in the Indian state of Punjab, which has a Sikh-majority population and has been the traditional homeland of the Sikh
Sikh
religion. Various pro-Khalistan outfits have been involved in a separatist movement against the government of India
India
ever since. There are claims of funding from Sikhs outside India
India
to attract young people into these pro-Khalistan militant groups.[114] In the 1980s, some of the Khalistan proponents turned to militancy, resulting in counter-militancy operations by the Indian security forces. In one such operation, Operation Blue Star
Operation Blue Star
(June 1984), the Indian Army
Indian Army
led by the Sikh
Sikh
General Kuldip Singh
Singh
Brar forcibly entered the Harimandir Sahib
Harimandir Sahib
(the Golden Temple) to overpower the armed militants and the militant leader Jarnail Singh
Singh
Bhindranwale. The handling of the operation, damage to the Akal Takht
Akal Takht
(which is one of the five seats of temporal physical religious authority of the Sikhs) and loss of life on both sides, led to widespread criticism of the Indian Government. Many Sikhs strongly maintain that the attack resulted in the desecration of the holiest Sikh
Sikh
shrine. The Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards in retaliation. Following her death, thousands of Sikhs were massacred in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots
1984 anti-Sikh riots
in Delhi, termed as a genocide by the congress activists and mobs.[115] In January 1986, the Golden Temple
Golden Temple
was occupied by militants belonging to All India
India
Sikh
Sikh
Students Federation and Damdami Taksal.[116] On 26 January 1986, the gathering passed a resolution (gurmattā) favouring the creation of Khalistan. Subsequently, a number of rebel militant groups in favour of Khalistan waged a major insurgency against the government of India. Indian security forces suppressed the insurgency in the early 1990s, but Sikh
Sikh
political groups such as the Khalsa
Khalsa
Raj Party and SAD (A) continued to pursue an independent Khalistan through non-violent means.[117][118][119] Pro-Khalistan organisations such as Dal Khalsa
Khalsa
(International) are also active outside India, supported by a section of the Sikh
Sikh
diaspora.[120] In November 2015, a Sarbat Khalsa, or congregation of the Sikh community was called in response to recent unrest in the Punjab region. The Sarbat Khalsa
Khalsa
adopted 13 resolutions to strengthen Sikh institutions and traditions. The 12th resolution reaffirmed the resolutions adopted by the Sarbat Khalsa
Khalsa
in 1986, including the declaration of the sovereign state of Khalistan.[121] Art and culture[edit] Main articles: Sikh art and culture
Sikh art and culture
and Punjabi culture

Opaque watercolour-on-paper Nakashi art; about 1880, by an unknown artist from Lahore
Lahore
or Amritsar, and used to decorate the walls of Harmandir Sahib

Harmindar Sahib, circa 1870

Sikh art and culture
Sikh art and culture
are nearly synonymous with that of the Punjab, and Sikhs are easily recognised by their distinctive turban (Dastar). The Punjab has been called India's melting pot, due to the confluence of invading cultures from the rivers from which the region gets its name. Sikh
Sikh
culture is therefore a synthesis of cultures. Sikhism
Sikhism
has forged a unique architecture, which S. S. Bhatti described as "inspired by Guru Nanak's creative mysticism" and "is a mute harbinger of holistic humanism based on pragmatic spirituality".[122] During the Mughal and Afghan persecution of the Sikhs during the 17th and 18th centuries,[123] the latter were concerned with preserving their religion and gave little thought to art and culture. With the rise of Ranjit Singh
Singh
and the Sikh Raj
Sikh Raj
in Lahore
Lahore
and Delhi, there was a change in the landscape of art and culture in the Punjab; Hindus
Hindus
and Sikhs could build decorated shrines without the fear of destruction or looting.[124] The Sikh
Sikh
Confederacy was the catalyst for a uniquely Sikh
Sikh
form of expression, with Ranjit Singh
Singh
commissioning forts, palaces, bungas (residential places) and colleges in a Sikh
Sikh
style. Sikh
Sikh
architecture is characterised by gilded fluted domes, cupolas, kiosks, stone lanterns, ornate balusters and square roofs. A pinnacle of Sikh
Sikh
style is Harmandir Sahib
Harmandir Sahib
(also known as the Golden Temple) in Amritsar. Sikh
Sikh
culture is influenced by militaristic motifs (with the Khanda the most obvious), and most Sikh
Sikh
artifacts—except for the relics of the Gurus—have a military theme. This theme is evident in the Sikh festivals of Hola Mohalla
Hola Mohalla
and Vaisakhi, which feature marching and displays of valor. Although the art and culture of the Sikh diaspora
Sikh diaspora
have merged with that of other Indo-immigrant groups into categories like "British Asian", "Indo-Canadian" and "Desi-Culture", a minor cultural phenomenon which can be described as "political Sikh" has arisen.[125] The art of diaspora Sikhs like Amarjeet Kaur Nandhra and Amrit and Rabindra Kaur Singh
Singh
(the " Singh
Singh
Twins")[126] is influenced by their Sikhism
Sikhism
and current affairs in the Punjab. Bhangra and Giddha are two forms of Punjabi folk dancing which have been adapted and pioneered by Sikhs. Punjabi Sikhs have championed these forms of expression worldwide, resulting in Sikh
Sikh
culture becoming linked to Bhangra (although "Bhangra is not a Sikh institution but a Punjabi one").[127]

Painting[edit] Sikh
Sikh
painting is a direct offshoot of the Kangra school of painting. In 1810, Ranjeet Singh
Singh
(1780–1839) occupied Kangra Fort
Kangra Fort
and appointed Sardar
Sardar
Desa Singh
Singh
Majithia his governor of the Punjab hills. In 1813 the Sikh
Sikh
army occupied Guler State, and Raja Bhup Singh
Singh
became a vassal of the Sikhs. With the Sikh
Sikh
kingdom of Lahore
Lahore
becoming the paramount power, some of the Pahari painters from Guler migrated to Lahore
Lahore
for the patronage of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh
Singh
and his Sardars. The Sikh
Sikh
school adapted Kangra painting
Kangra painting
to Sikh
Sikh
needs and ideals. Its main subjects are the ten Sikh gurus
Sikh gurus
and stories from Guru Nanak's Janamsakhis. The tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, left a deep impression on the followers of the new faith because of his courage and sacrifices. Hunting scenes and portraits are also common in Sikh
Sikh
painting. See also[edit]

List of Sikhs List of Sikh
Sikh
soldiers Guru Gobind Singh Mazhabi
Mazhabi
Sikh Ganga Sagar (urn) Turban
Turban
training centre

Footnotes[edit]

^ Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
has mentioned in his first composition of Jup Ji Sahib which is recited daily by all practicing Sikhs that all souls are to be treated with care and respect as Waheguru is the Giver of all souls. "The Guru has given me this one understanding: there is only the One, the Giver of all souls. May I never forget Him!", Guru Granth Sahib, 2[57] Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
said that blessings are rained down when the lowly person, regardless of any background are cared for. "In that place where the lowly are cared for-there, the Blessings of Your Glance of Grace rain down.", Guru Granth Sahib, 15[58] Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
had spoken we need to prize humility above all and thus caste is not an issue. "One who takes pride in wealth and lands is a fool, blind and ignorant. One whose heart is mercifully blessed with abiding humility, O Nanak, is liberated here, and obtains peace hereafter." Granth Sahib, 278[59]

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Further reading[edit]

The Sikhs In History: A Millennium Study by Sangat Singh, Noel Quinton King. New York 1995. ISBN 81-900650-2-5 A History of the Sikhs: Volume 1: 1469–1838 by Khushwant Singh. Oxford India
India
Paperbacks (13 January 2005). ISBN 0-19-567308-5 The Sikhs by Patwant Singh. Image (17 July 2001). ISBN 0-385-50206-0 The Sikhs of the Punjab by J. S. Grewal. Published by Cambridge University Press (28 October 1998). ISBN 0-521-63764-3. The Sikhs: History, Religion, and Society by W.H. McLeod. Published by Columbia University Press (15 April 1989). ISBN 0-231-06815-8 The Sikh
Sikh
Diaspora: Tradition and Change in an Immigrant Community (Asian Americans — Reconceptualising Culture, History, Politics) by Michael Angelo. Published by Routledge (1 September 1997). ISBN 0-8153-2985-7 Glory of Sikhism
Sikhism
by R. M. Chopra, Sanbun Publishers, 2001, OCLC 499896556, Glory of Sikhism
Sikhism
at Google Books. The Philosophical and Religious Thought of Sikhism
Sikhism
by R. M. Chopra, 2014, Sparrow Publication, Kolkata, ISBN 978-81-89140-99-1 The construction of religious boundaries: Culture, identity, and diversity in the Sikh
Sikh
tradition - H Oberoi - 1994 University of Chicago press, ISBN 0-226-61592-8

"Architectural Heritage of a Sikh
Sikh
State: Faridkot" by Subhash Parihar, Delhi: Aryan Books International, 2009, ISBN 978-81-7305-386-3

"A Study of Religions" by R. M. Chopra, Anuradha Prakashan, New Delhi, 2015. ISBN 978-93-82339-94-6.

External links[edit]

Look up Sikh
Sikh
in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

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DiscoverSikhism.com — Site covering a range of Sikh
Sikh
topics, beliefs and the Sikh
Sikh
way of life Sikhs.org — general resource site introducing the main concepts of Sikhism The BBC page on Sikhism SikhPhilosophy.net —An Interactive Resource on Sikh
Sikh
Philosoph Sikh-History.com

v t e

Sikh
Sikh
topics

Gurus

Guru Nanak Guru Angad Guru Amar Das Guru Ram Das Guru Arjan Guru Hargobind Guru Har Rai Guru Har Krishan Guru Tegh Bahadur Guru Gobind Singh Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Granth Sahib
( Sikh
Sikh
holy book)

Philosophy

Beliefs and principles Guru Maneyo Granth Sikh
Sikh
Rehat Maryada Prohibitions

Cannabis and Sikhism

Diet in Sikhism

Practices

Khalsa Ardās Kirtan Langar Naam Karan Anand Karaj Amrit Sanchar Amrit Velā Antam Sanskar Three Pillars Kirat Karo Naam Japo Vand Chhako Sikh
Sikh
practices The Five Ks Simran Sewa Charhdi Kala Dasvand Jhatka

Scripture

Guru Granth Sahib Adi Granth Dasam Granth Gurbani Mul Mantar Japji Sahib Chaupai Jaap Sahib Rehras Sukhmani Sahib Tav-Prasad Savaiye

By country

Australia Afghanistan Belgium Canada

Vancouver

Fiji France Germany India Indonesia Iraq Italy Malaysia Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Pakistan Singapore Switzerland Thailand United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States

Other topics

History Gurmukhi alphabet Ik Onkar Waheguru Khanda Gurdwara
Gurdwara
(Harmandir Sahib) Panj Pyare Literature Music Names Places Politics Nanakshahi calendar Ramananda Fariduddin Ganjshakar Kabir History of the Punjab Sardar Dastar Islam Jainism Hinduism Sikh
Sikh
Empire Mela Maghi Maghi Vaisakhi Hola Mohalla 3HO Sikhs Women in Sikhism Sikhism
Sikhism
and sexual orientation Idolatry in Sikhism Criticism Punjab region Punjabi people Punjabi language
Punjabi language
(Gurmukhī)

Takht

Akal Takht Damdama Sahib Kesgarh Sahib Hazur Sahib Patna Sahib

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