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A History Of The Sikhs - Vol 1 - 1469 - 1839 - Book By Khushwant Singh

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Page: 408
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Product Code: SHE117
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Introduction To 'A History Of The Sikhs Volume I:1469-1839' By Khushwant Singh

First published in 1963, this remains the most comprehensive and authoritative book on the Sikhs. The new edition updated to the present recounts the return of the community to the mainstream of national life. Written in Khushwant Singh's trademark style to be accessible to a general, non-scholarly audience, the book is based on sound archival research.

Volume I covers the social, religious, and political background which led to the formation of the Sikh faith in the fifteenth centuary. Basing his account on original documents in Persian, Gurmukhi and English, the author traces the growth of Sikhism and tells of the compilation of its sacred scriptures in the Granth Sahib. Volume II covers a range of issues related to the Sikh struggle for survival as a separate community-conflict with the English and the collapse of the Sikh kingdom; its consolidation as a part of Britain's Indian empire; religious and sociological movements born under the impact of new conditions; the growth of political parties-nationalist, Marxist, and communal; the fate of the Sikhs in the division of the Punjab and the great exodus from Pakistan; and resettlement of the Sikhs in independent India and the establishment of a Punjabi-speaking state within the Union.


About the Author Of 'A History of the Sikhs - Vol 1 - 1469 - 1839'

Khushwant Singh a renowned journalist, is the author of several works of fiction, and an authority on Sikh history. A former editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India (1979-80), and the Hindustan Times (1980-3), he was Member of Parliament from 1980-6. He returned his Padma Bhushan, awarded in 1974, in protest against the Union Government's siege of Golden Temple in Amritsar.


Excerpts From The Preface To 'A History of  the Sikhs Volume I: 1469-1839' By Khushwant Singh

The Story of the Sikhs is the story of the rise, fulfilment, and collapse of Punjabi nationalism. It begins in the latter part of the 15th century with Guru Nanak initiating a religious movement emphasizing what was comman between Hinduism and Islam and preaching the unity of these two faiths practised in the Punjab. By the beginning of the 17th century, the movement crystallized in the formation of a third religious community consisting of the disciples or sikhas of Nanak and the succeeding teachers or gurus. Its mysticism found expression in the anthology of their sacred writings, the Adi Granth, comprised of the writings of the Sikh gurus as well as of Hindu and Muslim saints. The next hundred years saw the growth of a political movement alongside the religious, culminating in the call to arms by the last guru, Gobind Singh. Within a few years after the death of Gobind Singh, the peasants made the first attempt to liberate the Punjab from Mughal rule. Under the leadership of Banda they defied the authority of Mughal governors and kept the imperial armies at bay for a full seven years. Although Banda rebellion that they had lighted smouldered  beneath the ashes and burst into flame again and again in different parts of the province. The period which followed witnessed a renewal of invasions of northern India by Afgan hordes led by Ahmed Shah Abdali, which gave a further impetus to the growth of Punjabi nationalism. Peasants grouped themselves in bands(misls), harassed and ultimately expelled the invaders.

The movement achieved its consummation with the liberation of Lahore and the setting up of the first independent Kingdom of the Punjab under Ranjit Singh in AD 1799-by a curious coincidence exactly one hundred years after Guru Gobind Singh's call to arms (1699), just a little under two hundred years after the compilation of the Adi Granth (1604), and three hundred years after the proclamation of his mission by Guru Nanak (1499). Under Ranjit Singh, the Punjabis were able not only to turn the tide of invasion back into the homelands of the traditional conquerors of northern India, the Pathans and the Afghans , but also to make their power felt beyond the frontiers -northwards across the Himalayas; across the Khyber into Afghanistan; in Baluchistan, Sindh, and in northern India as far as Oudh.The Sikhs became the spearhead of the nationalist movement which had gathered the parent communities within its fold. The achievements were those of all Punjabis alike, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. It was in the fitness of things that in the crowning successes of Punjabi arms, the men who represented the state were drawn from all commmunities. In the victory parade in Kabul in 1839(a few months after Ranjit Singh's death) the man who bore the Sikh colours was Colonel Bassawan, a Punjabi Mussalman. And the man who carried the Sikh flags across the Himalayas a year later was General Zorawar Singh, a Dogra Hindu.

This is the theme and substance of Volume I and the first part of the projected second volume. The rest of the next volume will continue the narrative and describe how the nationalist movement, having run its course, began to peter out and finally collapsed in a clash of arms with the British in 1848-9. It will also recount how the Sikhs, who, within a couple of centuries of their birth, had evolved a faith, outlook, and way of life which gave them a semblance of nationhood, have had to fight against the forces of dissolution to preserve their identity. It will deal with political and social movements that took place during British rule, the fate of the Sikhs in the partition of their homeland in 1947, their position in independent India, and the demand for an autonomous Punjabi state within the Indian union.


Table of Contents For 'A History of the Sikhs - Vol 1 - 1469 - 1839' By Khushwant Singh

  Preface to the Second Edition vii
  Preface viii
  Acknowledgments x
1. The Sikh Homeland 3
2. Birth of Sikhism 16
3. Building of the Sikh Church 46
4. The Call to Arms 60
5. From the Pacifist Sikh to the Militant Khalsa 73
6. The Rise and Fall of Banda Bahadur 97
7. Persecution of the Sikhs and the Reorganization of the Khalsa Army 115
8. Ahmed Shah Abdali and the Sikhs 126
9. From the Indus to the Ganges 162
10. Rise of the Sukerchakia Misl 179
11. Maharajah of the Punjab 188
12. Suzerian of Malwa 202
13. British Annexation of Malwa: Treaty of Lahore, 1809 211
14. Consolidation of the Punjab 224
15. Extinction of Afghan Power in Northern India 238
16. Europeanization of the Army 250
17. Dreams of Sindh and the Sea 259
18. Across the Himalayas to Tibet 269
Appendix 1 Janamsakhis and Other Sources of Information on the Life of Guru Nanak 289
Appendix 2 Adi Granth or the Granth Sahib 294
Appendix 3 Bhai Gurdas 299
Appendix 4 Dasam Granth 302
Appendix 5 Hymns from the Adi Granth 307
Appendix 6 Treaty of Lahore, 1809 362
Appendix 7 Tripartite Treaty of 1838 364
Bibliography   369
Index   381


Author Khushwant Singh
Pages 408
Cover Paperback
Language English

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