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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces expansion of the Sikh community from its inception in the early 1520s to the present day. Focusing on four periods of Sikh history—the founding of the community under Baba Nanak’s guidance, the establishment of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh, the rise of the Khalsa Raj under Ranjit Singh, and the arrival of the British—it seeks to chart out the different methods by which the Sikh community expressed its identity and attracted non-Sikhs to the community. In the process, the chapter addresses issues of how the Sikh community created a niche for itself in a competitive environment dominated by various shades of Muslim, Hindu, and Jain communities, and has evolved into a group claiming the adherence of twenty-five million people, 70% of whom live and enjoy a stable religio-political base in Punjab, India, while the remaining have spread across the globe.

Keywords: Sikh initiation, Sikh numbers, Sikh code of conduct, Nanak, Gobind Singh, Ranjit Singh

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