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The Illustrated History of The Sikhs - Book By Khushwant Singh

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Page: 278
Format: Hardbound
Language: English
Product Code: CFT105
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Table of Contents of the Book 'The Illustrated History of The Sikhs' By Khushwant Singh

  A Note from the Author ix
  Illustrations x
  Part I: The Punjab and the Birth of Sikhism 1
1. The Sikh Homeland 3
2. The Birth of Sikhism 8
3. Building of the Sikh Church 21
4. The Call to Arms 28
5. From the Pacifist Sikh to the Militant Khalsa 34
  Part II: The Agrarian Uprising 45
6. The Rise and Fall of Banda Bahadur 47
7. Persecution of the Sikhs and the Reorganization of the Khalsa Army 54
8. Ahmed Shah Abdali and the Sikhs 59
9. From the Indus to the Ganges 74
  Part III: Punjab Monarchy and Imperialism 83
10. Rise of the Sukerchakia Misl 85
11. Maharajah of the Punjab 90
12. Suzerain of Malwa 98
13. British Annexation of Malwa: Treaty of Lahore, 1809 102
14. Consolidation of the Punjab 109
15. Fall of the Sikh Kingdom 115
  Part IV: Consolidation of British Power in the Punjab 117
16. Annexation of the Punjab 119
17. Crescat e Fluviis 124
  Part V: Social and Religious Reforms 127
18. Religious Movements 129
19. Singh Sabha and Social Reform 134
  Part VI: Political Movements Marxist, National, and Sectarian 139
20. Rural Indebtness and Peasant Agitation 141
21. World War I and its Aftermath 145
22. Xenophobic Marxism 149
23. Gurdwara Reform: Rise of the Akali Immortals 159
24. Constitutional Reforms and the Sikhs 169
  Part VII: Politics of Partition Independence and the Demand for a Sikh Homeland 177
25. Sikhs and World War II (1939-1945) 179
26. Prelude to the Partition of India 186
27. Civil Strife, Exodus, and Resettlement 190
28. A State of their Own 201
29. Prosperity and Religious Fundamentalism 213
30. The Anandpur Sahib Resolution and Other Akali Demands 224
31. Fatal Miscalculation 231
32. Assassination and After 241
33. Elections and the Accord 245
34. Foreign Connections and Khalistan 255
35. Politics and Beyond 257
  Photo Gallery  
  Credits for Photographs and Illustrations  
  About the Author  

A Note From the Author

I was quite thrilled when Oxford University Press approached me for this illustrated edition, which recreates the story told in A History of the Sikhs through pictures. I also thought it was a good time to do so. The community has arrived back on the national arena and is doing well in every field - be it politics, economy, sports or culture.

When they were first published in 1978, I never imagined that almost thirty years thereon, my two volume A history of the Sikhs would still be in such demand. A few years ago, I was approached by OUP to update the original edition, which I did, first to 1989 and then again to 2004. It has been a source of immense personal satisfaction for me that the books have stood the test of time well, and have also been referred to constantly as 'a definitive history of the community'. The illustrated edition which showcases the achievements and brings alive the history of the community will appeal to a much wider audience.

I would like to thank all those who have supported and contributed to this effort.

New Delhi  

Introduction to the Book 'The Illustrated History of the Sikhs' By Khushwant Singh

This illustrated chronicle of the Sikhs, written by khushwant Singh, one of India's best-loved writers, comprehensively records the story of a remarkable community. Over hundred and fifty rare pictures, including portraits, paintings, etchings, religious prints, and photographs collected from a wide variety of sources, complement the compelling narrative.

Paying particular attention to the community's return to the national mainstream in India, after the challenge of violence, exclusion, and terrorism , the volume explores a people's achievements across fields-most visible in the elevation of a Sikh to the land's highest political office.

The narrative begins more than 500 years ago with the birth of Sikhism as a pacifist sect, striking out on its own against the complexity and ritualism of contemporary religion and society. Throughout its colourful, yet at times turbulent history, the Sikh community underwent many changes of fortune, always remaining, however, a social and political force to reckon with.

Its transformation into an activist community, thanks to a troubled and strife-ridden relationship with the Mughals and Afghans; the consolidation of Sikh power under Maharajah Ranjit Singh; the takeover of the Sikh kingdom by the British ; the Punjab's emergence as the country's granary ; religious reform within the community; the trauma of Partition; the troubled years of separatist militancy; and the return of normalcy, are all detailed in the book.

Interesting episodes and personalities, presented in Khushwant Singh's trademark style, infuse colour and dynamism in the story of the Sikhs highlighting their determination to carve out a distinct identity, singular bravery in the face of potent threats, and cultural vigour. At the end of the book, a photo gallery showcasing some personalities and a biographical portrait of the author add value.

Written with passion and depth and richly embellished, Khushwant Singh's classic will fascinate readers both within and outside the community.


1.    Persian wheel, p. 5                   61. Khalsa College, Amritsar, p. 137
2. Guru Nanak with followers, p. 10 62. The Jalianwala Bagh Memorial, p. 146
3. Guru Nanak with Sadhus, p. 12 63. Udham Singh, p. 147
4. Guru Nanak with his companions Bala and Mardana, p. 15 64. Lala Hardayal, p. 151
5. Babar meets Guru Nanak, p 15 65. Komagata Maru, p. 152
6. Guru Angad, p 21 66. Rash Behari Bore, p. 154
7. Guru Amar Das, p 22 67. Artists impression of the Ghadr rebellion, p. 155
8. Guru Ram Das, p. 23 68. Ghadrite Kartar Singh Sarabha, p. 156
9. Guru Arjan Dev, p. 25 69. Ghadrite Kesar Singh, p. 157
10. Modern-day Granthi reading the Guru Granth Sahib, p. 26 70. Bhagat Singh, p. 158
11. Guru Hargobind, p. 29 71. Golden Temple at Amritsar, p. 160
12. Guru Hargobind leaving Gwalior Fort, p. 29 72. Akal Takhat in the Golden Temple, p. 162
13. Guru Har Rai, p. 30 73. Baka Kharak Singh, p.163
14. Guru Hari Kishen, p. 31 74. Seva Singh Thikriwala, p. 167
15. Guru Tegh Bahadur, p. 32 75. Maharajah Bhupindra Singh, p. 173
16. Gurudwara Sisganj, p. 33 76. Sikh soldiers in action during World War II, p. 180
17. Guru Gobind Singh, p. 35 77. Captain Mohan Singh in later years, p. 183
18. Guru Gobind Singh baptizing the Panj Piyare, p. 37 78. Gyani Kartar Singh, p. 187
19. Martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh's sons, p. 38 79. M. A. Jinnah, p. 192
20. Guru Gobind Singh crossing the Sirsa, p. 42-3 80. Communal riots of 1947, p. 193
21. Banda Bahadur, p. 48 81. Train carrying refugee population, p. 196
22. Caged Banda Bahadur being paraded with other Sikh prisoners before his execution, p. 53 82. Refugee camp, p. 197
23. Nawab Kapoor Singh, P. 55 83. An uprooted family, p. 198
24. Zakarya Khan and others, p. 56 84. A child refugee, p. 199
25. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, p. 57 85. Partap Singh Kairon with Jawaharlal Nehu, p. 204
26. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in battle, p. 58 86. Master Tara Singh with Fateh Singh, p. 205
27. Battle with the Afghans, p. 61 87. Swaran Singh, p. 206
28. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, p. 63 88. Gian Singh Rarewala, p. 208
29. Ahmed Shah Abdali, p. 64 89. Indira Gandhi and Fateh Singh, p. 210
30. Sikhs freeing Hindu women captured by Abdali, p. 68 90. Indira Gandhi and Zail Singh, p. 212
31. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia with Jodh Singh and Bir Singh, p. 69 91. Bhakra-Nangal Dam, p. 214
32. Artist's impression of the city of Lahore, p. 70 92. Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, p. 215
33. Map of Northern India at the birth of Ranjit Singh, p. 75 93. Automated farming, p. 216
34. Baghel Singh in battle, p. 77 94. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, p. 218
35. Baghel Singh, p. 78 95. Sant Longowal, p. 221
36. Baghel Singh enters Delhi, p. 82 96. Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib at Anandapur, p. 226
37. Maha Singh Sukerchakia, p. 85 97. Akali rally, p. 227
38. Maharajah Ranjit Singh, p. 88 98. Army  action in the Golden Temple, p. 234
39. Young Ranjit Singh, p. 89 99. Surrenders during army action in the Golden Temple, p. 236
40. The Zam Zama in Lahore, p. 85 100. A meeting at Anandpur, September 1984, p. 239
41. Ranjit Singh with his favourite Muslim wife, Bibi Gulbahar Begum, p. 96 101. Rajiv Gandhi and Sant Longowal, p. 247
42. Desa Singh Majithia, p. 96 102. Buta Singh, p. 249
43. The chair throne of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, p.97 103. Surjit Singh Barnala (left), p. 252
44. Fakir Azizuddin, p. 99 104. Prakash Singh Badal with other Akali leaders, p. 259
45. Kangra Fort, p. 101 105. J. F. Ribeiro with officers of the Punjab Police, p. 260
46. Map of Punjab under Ranjit Singh, p. 104 106. Beant Singh, p. 261
47. Artist's impression of 'Three Akalis', p. 105 107. K. P. S. Gill, p. 263
48. Charles Metcalfe, p. 106 108. H.S. Brar, p. 265
49. General Ochterlony, p. 107 109 Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, p. 266
50. Maharajah Kharak Singh, p. 111 110. Tercentenary celebrations of the founding of the Khalsa Panth, p. 267
51. Prince Partap Singh, p. 116 111. Captain Amarinder Singh, p. 269
52. Lord Dalhousie, p. 122 112. Akali Dal rally, p. 270
53. Irrigated fields, p. 125 113. Navtej Singh Johar, p. 271
54. Guru Hara Singh, p. 129 114. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Golden Temple, p. 272
55. Baba Hardev Singh, present head of the Nirankari, p. 130 115. Photo Gallery
56. Guru Shiv Dayal, p. 130    
57. Guru Charan Singh, p. 131    
58. Guru Jagjit Singh, Namdhari, p. 132    
59. Maharajah Dulip Singh, p. 135    
60. Bhai Vir Singh, p. 136    

Publisher's Note

The Illustrated History of the Sikhs gives visual expression to the most significant aspects of Khushwant Singh's history of this remarkable community. The present volume, adapted from A History of the Sikhs (OUP 1999, 2004) possibly the only unbroken and comprehensive history of the community, has an abundance of visual material imparting an added dimension of richness to various aspects of Sikh history.

The black-and-white and colour illustrations have been carefully sourced and chosen in order to highlight the narrative. Included are several rare paintings of the Gurus, and folios from illuminated manuscripts, pictures of Gurudwaras from the top museums across India, visuals of cultural gatherings and celebrations shot by well-known photographers, as well as portraits and photographs of some famous members of the community and events in recent history. These include political, social, and business leaders in addition to cultural icons and religious leaders.

Portraits, paintings, etchings, religious prints, and photographs complement the printed word and go beyond it to tell the story in their own right. Furthermore, an attention to detail and minutiae, from tasteful and relevant illustrations to endpapers carrying quotes from the Janamsakhi, as well as a photo gallery of some personalities from this community of achievers makes this book a visual and aesthetic delight. While the subject of the volume is colourful, no less colourful is the author and we have included a pictorial biographical sketch of his eventful life for readers.

The volume is extended to celebrate the life and times of the Sikhs and showcase the pulse and dynamism of an exceptional people. Unlike previous volumes that focus on a particular aspects of art or culture, this book is unique for its comprehensiveness in pictorially representing all of Sikh history, politics, and society. With this book we hope not only to reach out to readers who are already familiar with and admires of Khushwant Singh's scholarship and writing; as well as a wider general audience in India and abroad who will be tempted by the visual magic to delve into a deeply interesting subject dealt with by Khushwant Singh with a touch both light and sure. A possession worth having, we hope.

All this would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and institutions. We would like to thank Sanjaya baru; Shekhar Bhatia; H. K. Dua; B. N. Goswamy; Rahul Singh; Roopinder Singh; V. N. Singh; Prime Minister's Office, South Block, New Delhi; The Tribune, Chandigarh; The Hindustan Times; Govenment Museum and Art Gallery Chandigarh; Government of Punjab; National Museum , New Delhi; Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, Maharajah Ranjit Singh Museum, Amritsar; Himachal Pradesh State Museum , Shimla; Victoria Memorial Museum, Calcutta; Trustees of the Baghel Singh Museum, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi; and the Bhakra-Beas Management Board.

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