Skip to main content

Sikhs

Fishburn and Hughes: Believers in a monotheistic religion which originated in the late fifteenth century in the Punjab combining Hindu and Islamic elements. The Sikhs practise under the leadership of a Guru. They took up arms when persecuted by the Mongols in the late seventeenth century, and by the early nineteenth century they were dominant in the Punjab and remained so until its annexation to India in 1849. Though they were loyal to British rule and fought for the British in World War I, they joined Gandhi's movement during the unrest caused by the subsequent economic depression. Many Sikhs were killed in the massacre of Amritsar (1919). At the time of the Mongol persecutions the Guru baptized five leading members of the sect, giving them a common surname, Singh (which means 'lion'), and thus turning the nation into a family. The surname is now spread throughout the Sikh population. See Mutiny. A Man on the Threshold