Abstract and Keywords
This essay traces the growth of the Khalsa Sikh community from its inception during the last days of the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, to the foundation of several independent misl states in the mid-to-late eighteenth century. Guru Gobind Singh’s creation of the Khalsa in the late seventeenth century replaced the mediating role of intermediaries such as masands with the sole authority of the Guru. After the death of Guru Gobind Singh in 1708, as the province of Punjab entered a period of civil conflict and breakdown in political institutions, the Khalsa Sikhs were able to forge new bonds with Sikh and other communities to establish several misl kingdoms. Although the Sikh kingdoms had a diversity of political and administrative frameworks, the historical memory of Guru Gobind Singh’s court remained an important cultural framework on which new Sikh courtly traditions were grafted.
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