(Re)making the Khalsa, 1708–1748

Purnima Dhavan

in When Sparrows Became Hawks

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756551
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918881 | DOI:
(Re)making the Khalsa, 1708–1748

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During the period of 1708–1748, Khalsa Sikhs participated in a series of rebellions against the Mughal state, the first of which was led by Banda Bahadur. Jat peasants, who joined the Khalsa in large numbers began to see their struggle as a dharamyudh, or religious war, while their regional rivals described their own efforts as a jihad. The Khalsa Sikhs were able to create a greater cohesion across their networks. By the mid-eighteenth century the rapid influx of Jat peasants led to a growing accommodation of local cultural traditions, creating a hybridized ritual practices and texts for Sikhs. Thus, even as the martial orientation of the Khalsa peasant soldiers sharpened in these tumultuous times and the size of the Khalsa bands (misals) grew, the distinctive worldview and practices of the Khalsa as described by Sainapati began to soften, incorporating elements borrowed from peasant cultures.

Keywords: Banda Bahadur; misals; zamindars; Jats; peasants; dharamyudh; jihad

Chapter.  10723 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sikhism

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