The Indian Sikh #BeingIndian
Guru Nanak (1469–1538), founder of Sikhism, was born to Mehta Kalu and Mata Tripta, in a Khatri family in the village of Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore.Guru Nanak was a religious leader and social reformer. However, Sikh political history may be said to begin with the death of the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev, in 1606.Religious practices were formalised by Guru Gobind Singh on 30 March 1699. Gobind Singh initiated five people from a variety of social backgrounds, known as the Panj Piare(the five beloved ones) to form the Khalsa, or collective body of initiated Sikhs. During the period of Mughal rule in India (1556–1707) several Sikh gurus were killed by the Mughals for opposing their persecution of minority religious communities including Sikhs. Sikhs subsequently militarized to oppose Mughal rule.
The emergence of the Sikh Confederacy under Ranjit Singh was characterised by religious tolerance and pluralism, with Christians, Muslims and Hindus in positions of power. The confederacy is considered the zenith of political Sikhism, encompassing Kashmir, Ladakh and Peshawar. Hari Singh Nalwa, the commander-in-chief of the Sikh army in the North West Frontier, expanded the confederacy to the Khyber Pass. Its secular administration implemented military, economic and governmental reforms.
After the annexation of the Sikh kingdom by the British, the latter recognized the martial qualities of the Sikhs and Punjabis in general and started recruiting from that area. During the 1857 Indian mutiny, the Sikhs stayed loyal to the British. This resulted in heavy recruiting from Punjab to the colonial army for the next 90 years of the British Raj.The distinct turban that differentiates a Sikh from other turban wearers is a relic of the rules of the British Indian Army.