The Sikhs

The Sikhs

Product ID: 8577

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Author: Patwant Singh
Publisher: Rupa
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 312
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8171676243


Now in paper back edition, this compelling account takes the reader through centuries of trials, triumphs and tribulations, up to the present time. It is by far the most comprehensive study of the origins, traditions and beliefs of an exceptional people. And the story is told with rare skill and mastery of the subject.

When he founded the Sikh faith over five hundred years ago, Guru Nanak sought a more humane direction for a subcontinent wracked by centuries of continuous warfare. Sikhism grew out of the basic compassion of Hinduism and the essential brotherhood of Islam. But it incurred the wrath of both Hindus and Muslims. Because it rejected intolerance of other faiths, as also the caste system and idol worship. It insisted on treating all people as equal, and enjoined complete equality between men and women.

Patwant Singh tells the stirring story of how a movement of peace transformed itself, of necessity, into a community which placed military values alongside spiritual, the Sikh soldier becoming the envy of every nation's army. How in 1699 the tenth and last Guru, Gobind Singh founded the fellowship of the Khalsa at Anandpur; a move which would define every Sikh by a distinctive code of personal appearance, dress and conduct. How Guru Gobind Singh's inspiring leadership led to a succession of spectacular and daring conquests after him, which sowed the seeds of a Sikh State. How the enlightened ruler Ranjit Singh fulfilled that promise by founding a Sikh empire.

'It is indeed an unusual book of history, perceptive, painstakingly analytical, bold, forthright."
— Kartar Singh Duggal, The Indian Express

"Patwant Singh marshalls 500 years of history, with astonishing clarity and ease. "It's a fascinating chronicle of a courageous, resilient and colorful people".
— Sunil Sethi, Outlook

"If one were serious about reading an authentic history of the Sikhs, he or she is advised to … get a copy of Patwant Singh's passionately written and sensitively handled masterpiece on the theme."
— V N Narayanan, The Hindustan Times

"Mr. Singh has written an impassioned book about his people. It is a history book and a portrait of a people written by a man whose mastery of Sikh history and scripture cannot be questioned."
— Tunku Varadarajan, The Times, London

"An enjoyable, informative and rewarding book."
— Karan Thapar, The Spectator, London

"This ambitious and scholarly work …[is] bracing to read, offering as it does, a crash course in a religion and culture that may be less than familiar to many readers."
— Washington Post Book World, Washington, D.C.



1. The Guru of the Faith (1469-1708)
2. Retribution and Consolidation (1708-1799)
3. Empire of the Sikhs (1801-1839)
4. Grievous Betrayals (1839-1849)
5. From Annexation to Partition (1849-1947)
6. Violence and Venality (1947 to the present)

Further Reading