Sikhs are representatives of a special confessional group consisting of Punjabis - one of the major peoples of northwestern India and Pakistan. They speak mainly Punjabi, which unites them with the Hindus living in the Indian state of Punjab1 and with Muslims from the Pakistani province of Punjab. However, Hindus are increasingly switching to Hindi and Muslims to Urdu, leaving Punjabi as the predominantly Sikh literary language. Many researchers believe that Sikhs have now formed into an independent ethno-confessional community.
I. KOTIN (Saint Petersburg)
Candidate of Historical Sciences
Sikhs are followers of Sikhism, which was founded by the religious reformer guru (teacher) Nanak (1469-1539) and nine preachers who preserved and developed his teachings, also known as gurus, of whom the fifth - Arjun (1581-1606) and the last, tenth - Gobind Singh (1675-1708) made a special contribution to the formation of Sikhism as an independent religion. After Gobind Singh's death, Sikhs are guided by the majority opinion of the community (Khalsa) and the authority of the holy book Adi Granth (or Granth Sahib), which is considered the incarnation of the guru. After Gobind Singh's death, most Sikhs follow the instructions contained in the Adi Granth and the opinion of the elders.
Gobind Singh called on members of the Khalsa to wear five distinctive items - the "five k's", which have Punjabi names starting with the letter"k". These are long hair (hesa), comb (kangha), steel / iron bracelet (kara), dagger-sword (kirpan), wide trousers (kachcha). Long uncut hair and comb symbolize purity of thought and the desire for holiness (perfection), on the model of ancient ascetics. Long hair was also likened to a lion's mane: it is no coincidence that Gobind Singh gave his followers the names "Singh" (lion) and "Kaur" (lioness).
Within a century of Gobind Singh's death, the Sikh community was divided. Namdhari2 and Nirankari3 sects have emerged from the community. Sikhs who followed the aut ... Read more