Who is a Sikh? - The Problem of Sikh Identity

Who is a Sikh? - The Problem of Sikh Identity

Product ID: 7321

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Author: W H McLeod
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 1989
Language: English
Pages: 140
ISBN/UPC (if available): 019 566447 7


In this insightful study, internationally renowned scholar of Sikh studies W H McLeod addresses the question: What is Sikhism and who is a Sikh? His answers, combining rigorous scholarship with the astute observations of an outsider, have generated heated discussionand considerable controversy, especially among today’s followers of the faith.

McLeod surveys the 500-year history of the Sikh people, tracing the origins of the multi-faceted Sikh identity as it exists today back to the first followers of Guru Nanak. From this small cluster of devotees, the community has grown and developed to include the may strands that now claim the title of Sikh, from the Sikhs of the Khalsa to the so-called Sahaj-dhari Sikhs.

As he contemplates the diversity that is characteristic of the modern community, McLeod considers how various circumstances influenced the criteria by which people could be identified as Sikhs. In his conclusion, McLeod attempts a general definition of the nature of Sikhism and Sikh identity, drawing on a lifetime of research and experience of the Sikh community and culture.

This new paperback edition of a pivotal work will interest students and scholars of Sikh studies and Indians religions, history and sociology, as well as general readers interested in the sikh religion.


A neat summary of Professor McLeod’s known positions; this slim little paperback has an air of elegance and authority.
- Sunday Observer

In his sophistication and erudition in matters of Sikh history, society and culture (Professor McLeod) remains unmatched.
- Harjot Oberoi


Preface to the Paperback Edition

1.What is Sikhism?
2.The Nanak-panth
3.The Khalsa and its Rahit
4.The Khalsa in the Eighteenth Century
5.The Singh Sabha Reformation
6.Definition by Legislation
7.Who is a Sikh?

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