Abstract and Keywords
Sikhs represent the youngest and least known of the world's monotheistic religious traditions. The community was founded in the early sixteenth century and has been historically situated in the Punjab, in the northwestern area of the Indian subcontinent near what is now Afghanistan. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, only seventeen of the world's twenty-three million Sikhs lived in Punjab. Four million now live in other parts of India, while approximately two million live in other parts of the world. The Sikh community regards the golden years of its history as those in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when a succession of ten spiritual leaders—the Sikhs' founding Gurus—shaped the original tradition. From the first, Guru Nanak, to the last, Guru Gobind Singh, these figures are remembered both for their piety and their ability to forge a common identity out of diverse followers. The Adi Granth serves as the highest religious authority within the sikh community.
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