Infobox Ethnic group
group=Sikhs ਸਿੱਖ

flag_caption = The Nishan Sahib, flag of the Sikhs
population = 25,000,000 (25 million) [cite web
title = Has India put the U.S. - India ‘Nukes - for mangoes’
publisher = Panthic Weekly
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
regions = flag|Indianbsp|619,215,730 [cite web
title = Census of India
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

Other significant population centers:

region1=flag|United Kingdom
pop1 = 336,179
ref1 = lower| [cite web
title = 2001 UK Census Sikh Population
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop2 = 278,400
ref2 = lower| [cite web
title = 2001 Canadian Census - Sikh Population
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

region3=flag|United States
pop3 = 100,000
ref3 = lower| [cite web
title = 2007 Sikh Population of USA
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

region4=flagicon image|Flag of EAC.svg East African Community
pop4 = 100,000
ref4 = lower|Fact|date=January 2008
pop5 = 100,000
ref5 = lower| [cite web
title = Overseas Indian: Connecting India with its Diaspora
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

region6=Middle East
pop6 = 85,000
ref6 = lower|Fact|date=August 2008
pop7 = 70,000
ref7 = lower| [cite web
title = 2004 Sikh Population of Italy
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop8 = 70,000
ref8 = lower| [cite web
title = 2006 Sikh Population of Thailand
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop9 = 50,000
ref9 = lower|Fact|date=August 2008
pop10 = 23,300
ref10 = lower|Fact|date=January 2008
pop11 = 20,000
ref11 = lower| [cite web
title = Sub-continent Sikh Population breakdown
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop12 = 20,000
ref12 = lower| [cite web
title = Sikh Population of Kuwait
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop13 = 12,000
ref13 = lower| [cite web
title = Sikh Population of The Netherlands
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop14 = 10,000
ref14 = lower| [cite web
title = Sikh Population of Indonesia
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] ‡

pop15 = 10,000
ref15 = lower| [cite web
last = Moliner
first = Christine
title = Estimate of French Sikh population 'Workshop on Indian Migration' at Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Urbaine/CNRS
work = Ph.d
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop16 = 9,733
ref16 = lower| [cite web
title = Sikh Population of Singapore
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

region17=flag|New Zealand
pop17 = 9,507
ref17 = lower| [cite web
title = New Zealand Sikh Population via NZ 2006 census
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

region18=flag|Hong Kong
pop18 = 7,500
ref18 = lower|Fact|date=August 2008
pop19 = 5,000–6,000
ref19 = lower|Fact|date=August 2008
pop20 = 5,890
ref20 = lower| [cite web
title = Sikh Population of Nepal
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop21 = 5,000
ref21 = lower| [cite web
title = Sikh Population of Germany for statistical sampling
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop22 = 5,000
ref22 = lower|Fact|date=August 2008
pop23 = 4,674
ref23 = lower| [cite web
title = UN figures for Fiji 1986
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop24 = 2,794
ref24 = lower| [cite web
title = Sikh Population of Austria
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop25 = 2,000
ref25 = lower| [cite web
title = Sikh Population of Afghanistan from Al-Jazeera Report
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

pop26 = 2,000
ref26 = lower|Fact|date=August 2008
pop27 = 1,200
ref27 = lower| [cite web
title = Sikh Population of Ireland from The Times
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

scrips=Guru Granth Sahib
langs= Spoken & written script of holy Guru Granth Sahib:
Written language of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is: Gurmukhi, Sahiskriti and Sant Bhasha [Harjinder Singh article on the liturgical script of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji [] ]
Spoken words: Punjabi, Bengali, Brij Bhasha and Persian [Dr Kanwar Ranvir Singh article referring to the liturgical language of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji [] ]
Predominant spoken languages:The vernacular language of the home nation in the Sikh diaspora, significantly including Punjabi, English, Hindi, Urdu, Swahili, Malaysian, and Thai
footnotes = † "Estimated figure as of 2004." ‡ "Indonesian law does not recognize Sikhism, thus Sikhs are not allowed to identify themselves as such on their identity cards or birth or marriage certificates, Sikhs are therefore registered as Hindu."

Sikh (English: IPA| [siːk] or IPA| [sɪk] ; _pa. ਸਿੱਖ, "IAST|sikkh", IPA: IPA| ['sɪk.kʰ] ) is the title and name given to an adherent of Sikhism. The term has its origin in the Sanskrit "IAST|śiṣya" "disciple, learner" or "IAST|śikṣa" "instruction". [cite book | last=Singh | first=Khushwant | authorlink=Khushwant Singh | year=2006 | title=The Illustrated History of the Sikhs | publisher=Oxford University Press | location=India | id = ISBN 0-19-567747-1 | pages=15] [pa icon cite book | last=Nabha | first=Kahan Singh | year=1930 | language=Punjabi | title=Gur Shabad Ratnakar Mahan Kosh/ _pa. ਗੁਰ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਰਤਨਾਕਰ ਮਹਾਨ ਕੋਸ਼| url= | accessdate=2006-05-29 | pages=720]

It is important to understand that all the symbols that make a fully baptized Sikh's appearance so distinctive are optional to "slow-adopter" Sikhs. These individuals believe in the principles of Sikhism and identify as Sikh but have not yet decided they are ready to make the commitment to become baptized. Some sikhs may never make this decision in their lifetimes.

So while some slow-adopter Sikhs will indeed display some of the most overt signs, such as uncut hair (and consequently turbans for both sexes and beards on men), this is not necessarily the case.

The most common symbol of all Sikhs, because of its simplicity, is a steel bracelet, a physical reminder of devotion.

The evolution of Sikhs began with the emergence of Guru Nanak as a religious leader and a social reformer during the fifteenth century in Punjab. Their identity was formalised and wielded into uniform practise by Guru Gobind Singh on March 30, 1699. The latter baptised five persons from different social backgrounds to form the social brotherhood of the Khalsa. The first five, Pure Ones, then baptized Gobind Singh into the Khalsa fold. [cite book
last = Singh
first = Patwant
title = The Sikhs
publisher = Knopf
pages = 14
isbn = 0375407286

The Sikhs established a nation called Sikh Raj, under Ranjit Singh, in the nineteenth century in which they were preeminent. They were known for their military prowess, administrative capabilities, economic productivity and their adaptability to modern western technology and administration. [cite book
last = Gibson
first = Margaret A.
title = Accommodation Without Assimilation: Sikh Immigrants in an American High School
publisher = Cornell University Press
date = 1988
isbn = 0801495032

The Sikhs comprise about two percent of India's billion population. The greater Punjab region is the historic homeland of Sikhism. Most Sikhs are from the Punjabi people and now come from the Punjab region, although significant communities exist around the world.


The core philosophy of the Sikh religion can be understood in the beginning hymn of the holy Guru Granth Sahib,

cquote|There is one supreme eternal reality; the truth; immanent in all things; creator of all things; immanent in creation. Without fear and without hatred; not subject to time; beyond birth and death; self-revealing. Known by the Guru’s grace. [cite web
title = Sikhism - MSN Encarta
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] |30px|30px

Guru Nanak, the founder of the faith, summed up the basis of Sikh lifestyle in three requirements: Naam Japo, Kirat Karni and Wand kay Shako, which means meditate on the holy name (Waheguru), work diligently and honestly and share one's fruits. [cite web
title = Concepts of Seva and Simran
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

The Sikhs revere Guru Granth Sahib as their supreme teacher, as it is a literal transcript of the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. The tenth Guru appointed Guru Granth Sahib as his successor. Compiled by the Sikh Gurus, and maintained in its original form, Sikhs revere Guru Granth Sahib as their supreme guide. Non-Sikhs can partake fully in Sikh prayer meetings and social functions. Their daily prayers include the well being of whole mankind. [cite book
last = Nesbitt
first = Eleanor
title = Sikhism: a very short introduction
publisher = Oxford University Press
pages = 13–21
isbn =0-19-280601-7

The concept of saint-soldier is a unique feature of Sikhism. Every Sikh is required to aspire to sainthood by his devotion to God and service to mankind, but also, according to the situation, to adopt the role of the soldier. A Sikh is also commanded, "if necessary" and "circumstances allow", to lay his or her life down to protect the poor and weak, regardless of race, religion, sex or creed. The Sikhs look at the martyrdom of the 9th Guru for trying to protect Hindus from religious persecution, in Delhi, on 11 November 1675 AD, as an example to be followed. [cite web
title = Sri Guru Tegh Bhadur Sahib
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

Sikhs are required not to renounce the world, [Sikh Philosophical Tenants [] ] and aspire to live a modest life. Seva (service) is an integral part of Sikh worship, very easily observed in the Gurdwara. Visitors of any religious or socio-economic background are welcomed, where Langar (food for all) is always served.

The Sikhs also revere "Bhaktas" or Saints belonging to different social backgrounds. The work of these Bhagats is collected in Guru Granth Sahib, and is known as Bhagat-Bani (sacred word of bhagat) as against work of Sikh Gurus being known as Gur-Bani (sacred word of guru).

People revered by Sikhs also include: [cite web
last = Brar
first = Sandeep Singh
title = Authoritative essays on the Sikh Gurus and Saints
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
* Bhai Mardana: "(One of the first followers and lifelong companion of Guru Nanak)"
* Bhai Bala: "(One of the first followers and lifelong companion of Guru Nanak)"
* Baba Buddha: "(Sikh saint, held the position of high Granthi in the Sikh religion)"
* Baba Banda Singh Bahadur: "(Fought and Defeated Mughal Governor of Punjab Wazir Khan and established Sikh force in Punjab)"
* Baba Deep Singh: "(Sikh saint, defended Golden Temple with his head in his hand)"
*Bhai Mani Singh "(Sikh Scholar, compiled the Dasam Granth) "
* Bhai Taru Singh " (Was a great patron of the poor)"
* Bhai Gurdas "(Known for his interpretation of bani)"

Early Sikh Scholars included Bhai Vir Singh and Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha

Five Ks

in 1699. The symbols are worn for identification and representation of the ideals of Sikhism, such as honesty, equality, fidelity, meditating on God, and never bowing to tyranny. [cite book
last = Nesbitt
first = Eleanor
title = Sikhism: a very short introduction
publisher = Oxford University Press
pages = 40–43
isbn = 0-19-280601-7
] The five symbols are:-
* Kesh (uncut hair)
* Kanga (wooden comb)
* Kaccha (specially designed underwear)
* Kara (iron bracelet)
* Kirpan (strapped sword).


Essentially Sikh history, with respect to Sikhs as a distinct political body, can be said to have began with the martyrdom of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev in 1606. Sikh distinction was further enhanced by the establishment of the Sikh 'Pure' brotherhood or Khalsa (ਖਾਲਸਾ), by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. [cite web
title =BBC History of Sikhism - The Khalsa
work =Sikh world history
publisher =BBC Religion & Ethics
date =2003-08-29
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] This gives the Sikhs, as an organized political grouping, a history of around 400 years. Generally Sikhs have had amicable relations with other religious communities. However, during the Islamic conquest of India (1556–1707), prominent Sikh Gurus were martyred by the ruling Mughals for opposing the Mughal's persecution of non-Islamic religious communities. [cite journal
last =McLeod
first =Hew
title =Sikhs and Muslims in the Punjab
journal =South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies
volume =22
issue =s1
pages =155–165
date =1987
doi =10.1080/00856408708723379
] Subsequently, the Sikhs militarized to oppose Islamic hegemony. The emergence of the Sikh Empire under reign of the Sikh Maharajah Ranjit Singh was characterized by religious tolerance and pluralism with Christians, Muslims and Hindus in positions of power. The establishment of the Sikh Empire is commonly considered the zenith of Sikh political sovereignty,cite book
last =Lafont
first =Jean-Marie
title =Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Lord of the Five Rivers (French Sources of Indian History Sources)
publisher =Oxford University Press
date =(May 16, 2002)
location =USA
pages =23–29
isbn = 0195661117
] during this time the Sikh Empire came to include Kashmir, Ladakh, and Peshawar. The Empire's secular administration integrated innovative military, economic and governmental reforms also influenced by the Napoleonic model. Culturally amongst the achievements of the Empire was the establishment of the Imam Bakhsh Lahori school of painting, the discovery of Gandhara art, and the exploration of the Himalayas. The months leading up to the partition of India in 1947, saw heavy conflict in the Punjab between Sikh and Muslim, which saw the effective ethnic cleansing of Sikhs from West Punjab which mirrored a similar ethnic cleansing of Muslims in East Punjab.

The 1960s saw growing animosity and rioting between Sikhs and Hindus in India, [Citation
last =Lukas
first =J. Anthony
author-link =
title =Hindu vs. Sikh: Why the Killing
newspaper =The New York Times
pages =209
year =1966
date =March 20, 1966
url =
] as the Sikhs agitated for the creation of a Sikh majority state, an undertaking which was promised to the Sikh leader Master Tara Singh by Nehru in return for Sikh political support during the negotiations for Indian Independence. [cite journal
last =Telford
first =Hamish
title =The Political Economy of Punjab: Creating Space for Sikh Militancy
journal =Asian Survey
volume =32
issue =11
pages =969–987
date =Nov., 1992
doi =10.1525/as.1992.32.11.00p0215k
] Sikhs obtained the Sikh majority state of Punjab on November 1, 1966.

Communal tensions between Sikhs and Hindus arose again in the late 1970s, fueled by Sikh claims of discrimination and marginalization by the Hindu dominated Indian National Congress ruling party and the "dictatorial" tactics adopted the then Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.cite book
last =Frank
first =Katherine
authorlink =Katherine Frank
title =Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi
publisher =Houghton Mifflin
date =January 7, 2002
pages =312–327
isbn =039573097X
] Frank argues that Gandhi's assumption of emergency powers in 1975 resulted in the weakening of the "legitimate and impartial machinery of government" and her increasing "paranoia" of opposing political groups led her to instigate a "despotic policy of playing castes, religions and political groups against each other for political advantage". As a reaction against these actions came the emergence of the Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who vocalized Sikh sentiment for justice and advocated the creation of a Sikh homeland, Khalistan. This accelerated Punjab into a state of communal violence.Citation
last =Pace
first =Eric
author-link =
title =Assassination in India: Sikhs at the center of the drama; Sikh separation dates back to '47
newspaper =The New York Times
pages =24
year =1984
date =November 1, 1984
url =
] Gandhi's 1984 action to defeat Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale led to desecration of the Golden Temple in Operation Bluestar and ultimately led to Gandhi's assassination by her Sikh bodyguards. in which he "felt like a refugee in my country. In fact, I felt like a Jew in Nazi Germany". [cite web
last =Peer
first =Basharat
title =Anti-Sikh riots a pogrom: Khushwant
work =News Report
publisher =Rediff
date =May 9, 2001
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] Since 1984, relations between Sikhs and Hindus have reached a rapprochement helped by growing economic prosperity; however in 2002 the claims of the popular right-wing Hindu organization the RSS, that "Sikhs are Hindus" angered Sikh sensibilities. [cite journal
last =Rambachan
first =Anantanand
authorlink =Anantanand Rambachan
title =The Co-existence of Violence and Non-Violence in Hinduism
journal =The Ecumenical Review
volume =55
pages =2003
url =
accessdate =2008-04-04
] Many Sikhs still are campaigning for justice for victims of the violence and the political and economic needs of the Punjab espoused in the Khalistan movement.

In 1996 the Special Rapporteur for the Commission on Human Rights on freedom of religion or belief, Abdelfattah Amor (Tunisia, 1993–2004), visited India in order to compose a report on religious discrimination. In 1997, [Citation
last =Pike
first =John
title =Military: Sikhs in Punjab
date =2005-04-27
year =2005
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] Amor concluded, "it appears that the situation of the Sikhs in the religious field is satisfactory, but that difficulties are arising in the political (foreign interference, terrorism, etc.), economic (in particular with regard to sharing of water supplies) and even occupational fields. Information received from nongovernment (sic)sources indicates that discrimination does exist in certain sectors of the public administration; examples include the decline in the number of Sikhs in the police force and the absence of Sikhs in personal bodyguard units since the murder of Indira Gandhi". [Citation
first =Abdelfattah
last =Amor
title = UNHR Documents on India
year =1997
pages =1–22
place =Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/23
publisher =Commission on Human Rights, 53rd Session
url =


Numbering approximately 23 million worldwide, Sikhs make up 0.39% [cite web
title = CIA Factbook
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] of the world population of which approximately 83% live in India. Of the Indian Sikh community 14.6 million, i.e. 76% of all Indian Sikhs, live in the northern Indian State of Punjab (India), where they form a majority 59.9% of the population. Substantial communities of Sikhs, i.e. greater than 200,000, live in the Indian States/Union territories of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir. [cite web
title = Breakdown of Indian Sikh population by Indian States/Union territories
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

Sikh migration from the then British India began in earnest from the 2nd half of the 19th century when the British had completed their annexation of the Punjab.cite journal
last = Dutt
first = Amitava
coauthors = Surinder Devgun
title = Diffusion of Sikhism and recent migration patterns of Sikhs in India
journal = GeoJournal
volume = 1
issue = 5
pages = 81–89
date = 1977-09-23
url =
id = ISSN 1572-9893
accessdate = 2008-04-04
doi = 10.1007/BF00704966
] The British Raj preferentially recruited Sikhs in the Indian Civil Service and, in particular, the British Indian Army, which led to migration of Sikhs to different parts of British India and the British Empire. During the era of the British Raj, semiskilled Sikh artisans were also transported from the Punjab to British East Africa to help in the building of railways. After World War II, Sikhs emigrated from both India and Pakistan, most going to the United Kingdom but many also headed for North America. Some of the Sikhs who had settled in eastern Africa were expelled by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 1972. [cite encyclopedia
title = Sikhism
encyclopedia = Encyclopædia Britannica
publisher =Encyclopedia Britannica
date = 2007
id =
accessdate =2008-04-04
] Subsequently the main 'push' factor for Sikh migration has been economic with significant Sikh communities now being found in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Malaysia, East Africa, Australasia and Thailand.
thumb|rigth|350px|Map showing world Sikh population areas and historical migration patterns (Est. 2004).">cite journal
last = Johnson
first = Todd
coauthors = David B. Barrett
title = Quantifying Alternate Futures of Religion and Religions
journal = Futures
volume = 36
issue = 9
pages = 947–960
date = 2004-09-02
url =
doi = 10.1016/j.futures.2004.02.009
accessdate = 2008-04-04
Whilst the rate of Sikh migration from the Punjab has remained high, traditional patterns of Sikh migration, that favored English speaking countries, particularly the United Kingdom has changed in the past decade due to factors such as stricter immigration procedures. Moliner (2006)Citation
first = Christine
last = Moliner
contribution = Sikhs in France
title = Migration Patterns - Workshop on Indian Migration
year = 2006
pages = abstract
place = Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)
publisher =Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Urbaine/CNRS
url =
id =
] states that as a consequence of the 'fact' that Sikh migration to the UK had "become virtually impossible since the late 1970s", Sikh migration patterns altered to continental Europe. Italy has now emerged as a fast growing area for Sikh migration, [cite journal
last = Ciprani
first = Ralph
title = Sikh Storia e immigrazione - The Sikhs: History and Immigration
journal = International Sociology
volume = 21
pages = 474–476
date = 2006-05-14
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
doi = 10.1177/026858090602100331
] with Reggio Emilia and the Vicenza province being areas of significant Sikh population clusters.cite news
last =IANS
title =Now, Sikhs do a Canada in Italy
language =English
publisher =NRIinternet
date =2004-09-15
url =
accessdate =2008-04-04
] The Italian Sikhs are generally involved in areas of agriculture, agro-processing, machine tools and horticulture. [cite news
last =Singh
first =Kulwinder
title =Italy may open VISA office in Chandigarh very soon
language =English
publisher =NRIinternet
date =2007-08-11
url =
accessdate =2008-04-04

Due primarily to socio-economic reasons, Indian Sikhs have the lowest adjusted decadal growth rate of any major religious group in India, at 16.9% per decade (est. 1991–2001). [cite web
title =Proportion and growth rate of population by religious communities, India, 1961–2001
work =Office of the Registrar General, India
publisher =CensusIndia
date =2004-09-06
url =
format =PDF
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] Johnson and Barrett(2004) estimate that the global Sikh population increases annually by 392,633 Sikhs, i.e. by 1.7% p.a. on 2004 figures, this growth rate takes into account factors such as births, deaths and conversions.


Sikhs are represented in Indian politics, with the current Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and the Deputy Chairman of the Indian Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, both hailing from the community. The current Chief-minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, is a Sikh. Past Sikh politicians in India have included Dr. Gurdial Singh Dhillon, Speaker of the Parliament of India. Pratap Singh Kairon, Union minister, famous Sikh Indian independence movement leader and former Chief-minister of Punjab (India).

Prominent politicians of the Sikh Diaspora include the first Asian American to be elected as a full voting Member of United States Congress Dalip Singh Saund, [cite web
authorlink = News Despatches
title =First Asian-American Congressman Gets His Own Post Office
work =Pacific News Service
publisher =Pacific News Alliance
date =2005-02-21
url =
accessdate =2008-04-04
] the former mayoress of Dunedin Sukhi Turner, the current UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Parmjit Dhanda MP [cite web
title =list of all government ministers
work =10 Downing Street
publisher =directgov
date =2007-08-29
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] and the Canadian Shadow Social Development Minister Ruby Dhalla MP. Vic Dhillon, is a famous Sikh Canadian politician and current member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

and 20% of its officers, [cite journal
last =Kundu
first =Apurba
title =The Indian Armed Forces' Sikh and Non-Sikh Officers' Opinions of Operation Blue Star
journal =Pacific Affairs
volume =67
issue =1
pages =46–69
date =Spring, 1994
url =
doi =10.2307/2760119
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] whilst Sikhs only forming 1.87% of the Indian population, which makes them over 10 times more likely to be a soldier and officer in the Indian Army than the average Indian. [cite web
title =After partition: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh
work =BBC In Depth
publisher =BBC News
date =2007-08-08
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] Sikh men in India are commonly referred to with the title of Sardar, which means commander in Persian and is a sign of military authority. The Sikh Regiment is the highest decorated regiment of the Indian Army, [cite web
title = Sikh Regiment
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] with 73 Battle Honours, 14 Victoria Crosses, [cite web
title = Excerpts from British High Commissioner Michael Arthur, talk
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] 21 "first class" Indian Order of Merit "(equivalent to the Victoria Cross)", [cite web
title = History of Sikh gallantry
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] 15 Theatre Honours and 5 COAS Unit Citations besides 2 Param Vir Chakras, 14 Maha Vir Chakras, 5 Kirti Chakras, 67 Vir Chakras and 1596 other gallantry awards. The highest-ranking General in the history of the Indian Air Force is a Sikh Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. [cite web
last = Pillarisetti
first = Jagan
title = Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] Advanced plans by the MOD to raise an Infantry UK Sikh Regiment were scrapped in June 2007 to the disappointment of the UK Sikh community and Prince Charles of Britain. [Citation
last =Rayment
first =Sean
author2-link =
title =Sikh regiment dumped over 'racism' fears
newspaper =Telegraph
year =2007
date =2007-06-24
url =

Historically, most Indians have been farmers and even today "(two-thirds)" 66% of Indians are farmers. [cite web
title = World Bank loan for India farmers
publisher = BBC NEWS
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] Indian Sikhs are no different and have been predominately employed in the agro-business, India's 2001 census found that 39% of the working population of Punjab were employed in this sector "(less than the Indian average)". [cite web
title = Agriculture and Allied Sector
work =Economy and Infrastructure
publisher =Punjab State
url =
accessdate =2008-04-04
] The success, in the 1960s, of the Green Revolution, in which India went from "famine to plenty, from humiliation to dignity", [cite web
title =From famine to plenty, from humiliation to dignity.
publisher =Good News India
date =November, 2002
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] was based in the Sikh majority state of Punjab which became known as "the breadbasket of India". [cite web
title = Welcome to Official Web site of Punjab, India
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] [cite web
title = India's "breadbasket" aims to be new IT hotspot
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] The Sikh majority state of Punjab is also statistically the wealthiest "(per capita)" with the average Punjabi through, his hard work, enjoying the highest income in India, 3 times the national Indian average. [cite web
title = Where Punjab Leads
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] The Green Revolution centered upon Indian Punjabi Sikh farmers adapting their farming methods to more intensive and mechanized techniques; note this was aided by the electrification of Punjab, cooperative credit, consolidation of small holdings and the existing British Raj developed canal system. [cite web
title = The Green Revolution
work =Agriculture
publisher =Punjab State
date =2004
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] Swedish political scientist, Ishtiaq Ahmad, states that a factor in the success of the Indian green revolution transformation was the "Sikh peasant cultivator, often the Jat, whose courage, perseverance, spirit of enterprise and muscle prowess proved crucial". [cite web
last =Ishtiaq
first =Ahmad
authorlink =Ishtiaq Ahmad (political scientist)
title =West and East Punjab agriculture — a comparison
work =Comment
publisher =Daily Times
date =February 8, 2005
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] However not all aspects of the green revolution were beneficial, Indian physicist Vandana Shiva [cite paper
author =Guus Geurts Studentnummer
title =The cause and effects of the Green Revolution in Punjab (India) – critical analysis of "The Violence of the Green Revolution" by Vandana Shiva(1991)
publisher =Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen
date =5 March 2001
url =
format =MS Word
accessdate =
] argues that the green revolution essentially rendered the "negative and destructive impacts of science [i.e. the green revolution] on nature and society" invisible; thus having being separated from their material and political roots in the science system, when new forms of scarcity and social conflict arose they were linked not to traditional causes but to other social systems e.g. religion. Hence Shiva argues that the green revolution was a catalyst for communal Sikh and Hindu tensions; despite the growth in material affluence. Sikhs feature in varied professions such as scientists, engineers and doctors; notable Sikhs include nuclear scientist Professor Piara Singh Gill who worked on the Manhattan project; optics scientist "("the father of fibre optics")" Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany; physicist and science writer/broadcaster Simon Singh and agricultural scientist Professor Baldev Singh Dhillon.

In the sphere of business, the clothing retailers/brands of UK based New Look and Thai based JASPAL [cite web
title =JASPAL
work =About
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] were started by Sikhs. India's largest pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Laboratories is headed by Sikhs. [cite web
title =#24 Malvinder & Shivinder Singh
work =India's Richest
date =2006-11-16
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] UK Sikhs have the highest percentage of home ownership, at 82%, out of all UK religious/ethnic communities. [cite web
title = Housing: Sikhs most likely to own their own homes
work =Religion
publisher =UK National Statistics
date =11 October 2004
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] In Singapore, Kartar Singh Thakral has built up his family's trading business, Thakral Holdings/Corp, [cite web
title =#25 Kartar Singh Thakral
work =Singapore's 40 Richest
date =2006-08-24
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] into a commercial concern with total assets of close to $1.4 billion. Thakral is Singapore's 25th richest person. Bob Singh Dhillon is the first Indo-Canadian billionaire and a Sikh.Perhaps no Sikh diaspora group has had as much success as those who have migrated to North America; especially the Sikhs who have migrated to California’s fertile Central Valley. The farming skills of the Sikhs and their willingness to work hard, ensured that they rose from humble migrant labourers to become landowners who control much of agriculture in California. Today American Sikh agriculturists such as Harbhajan Singh Samra and Didar Singh Bains dominate Californian agriculture and are known colloquially as the "Okra" and "Peach" kings respectively.

Prominent Sikh intellectuals, sportsmen and artists include the veteran writer Khushwant Singh, England cricketer Monty Panesar, former 400 m world record holder Milkha Singh, and Harbhajan Singh, India's most successful off spin Cricket bowler, actors Parminder Nagra, Namrata Singh Gujral, Archie Panjabi and director Gurinder Chadha.

The Sikhs have migrated to most parts of the world and their vocations are as varied as their appearances. The Sikh community of the Indian subcontinent comprises many diverse sets of peoples as the Sikh Gurus preached for ethnic and social harmony. These include different ethnic peoples, tribal and socio-economic groups. Main groupings (i.e. over 1,000 members) include: Arain, Arora, Bairagi, Bania, Basith, Bawaria, Bazigar, Bhabra, Brahman, Chamar, Chhimba, Darzi, Dhobi, Gujar, Jatt, Jhinwar, Kahar, Kamboj, Khatri, Kumhar, Labana, Lohar, Mahtam, Mazhabi, Megh, Mirasi, Mochi, Nai, Rajput, Ramgharia, Saini, Sarera, Sikligar, Sonar, Sudh, Tarkhan and Zargar.Fact|date=January 2008 In India, the Jatt ethnic grouping is by far the largest at a population of 11,855,000 followed by the Mazhabi at 2,701,000 with the Tarkhans totaling 1,091,000.

There has also emerged a specialized group of Sikhs calling themselves Akalis, which have existed since Maharaja Ranjit Singh's time. Under their leader General Akali Phula Singh, in the early 1800s, they won many battles for the Sikh Empire.

ikhs in the Indian and British Armies

By the advent of World War I, Sikhs in the British Indian Army totaled over 100,000; i.e. 20% of the British Indian Army. In the years to 1945, 14 Victoria Crosses were awarded to the Sikhs, a per capita record given the size of the Sikh Regiments. [cite web
title = Excerpts from British High Commissioner Michael Arthur, talk
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] In 2002, the names of all Sikh VC and George Cross winners were commemorated by being inscribed on the pavilion monument of the Memorial Gates [cite web
title = Memorial Gates Official Website
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] on Constitution Hill next to Buckingham palace, London. [cite web
title = UK Government Report on the memorial
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] Lieutenant Colonel Chanan Singh Dhillon (rtd.), Punjabi Indian World War II hero & Veteran, and president of the ex-services league (Punjab & Chandigarh) was instrumental in campaigning for the memorials building.

The First and Second World Wars

During the First World War, Sikh battalions fought in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Gallipoli and France. Six battalions of the Sikh Regiment were raised in the World War II, and served at El Alamein and in Burma, Italy and Iraq, winning 27 battle honours.Across the world Sikhs are commemorated in Commonwealth cemeteries. [cite web
title = India's High Commission in London 'Sikhs pioneered Britain's multi-cultural society
url ='s-multi-cultural-society.html
accessdate = 2008-04-04

The Battle of Saragarhi

The Battle of Saragarhi is considered one of the greatest stories of collective bravery in human history. [cite web
title = The Sunday Tribune - Books
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] The contingent of twenty-one soldiers from the 36th Sikhs was led by Havildar Ishar Singh, and held off an Afghan attack of 10,000 men for several hours. All 21 Sikh soldiers chose to fight to the death instead of surrendering. In recognition of their supreme sacrifice, the British Parliament rose to pay them respect, and each one of them was awarded the Indian Order of Merit "(equivalent to the Victoria Cross)". The battle has been compared to the Battle of Thermopylae, [cite web
title = The battle of Saragarhi
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] where a small Greek force faced a large Persian army of Xerxes "(480 BC)".

Saragarhi Day, is a Sikh military commemoration day celebrated on 12 September every year annually to commemorate The Battle of Saragarhi. Sikh military personnel and Sikh non-military people commemorate the battle around the World every year on September 12th.

ikhs during the Indian Independence Movement

During the Indian Independence Struggle; Out of 2,175 Martyrs 1,557, (75 percent), were Sikhs,cite book
last = Puri
first = Rajinder
title = Recovery Of India
publisher = Har-Anand Publications
date = 1992
location = India
pages = 99
isbn = 8124100039
.] out of 2,646 Indians sent to Andamans for life imprisonment 2,147,(80 percent), were Sikhs,out of 127 Indians who were hanged 92, (80 percent), were Sikhs,out of 20,000 who joined the INA under Bose 12000, (60 percent), were Sikhs.

ikhism in the Western World

Due to the turbans Sikhs wear and the relative scarcity of Sikhs, there have been incidents of mistaking Sikhs in Western countries for Middle Eastern men and/or Muslims. This has negatively affected Sikhs living in the west especially with respect to the 9/11 terrorist attack and recent Iraq War conflict.Fact|date=April 2008

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, some people associated Sikhs with terrorists or members of the Taliban. A few days after the attack Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh man, was gunned down by a person who thought that the victim had ties to Al-Qaeda. CNN suggests that there has been an increase in hate-crimes against Sikh men in the United States and the UK. [cite web
title =Hate crime reports up in wake of terrorist attacks
work =US News
publisher =CNN
date =September 17, 2001
url =
accessdate =2008-04-04
] [cite web
title =Sikhs urging action on faith hate
work =UK News
publisher =BBC News
date =5 November 2006
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

Sikhism as a faith has never actively sought converts, thus the Sikhs have remained a relatively homogeneous racial group. However, mainly due to the activities of Harbhajan Singh Yogi via his Kundalini Yoga focused 3HO (Happy, Healthy, Holy) Organization, Sikhism has witnessed a moderate growth in non-Indian adherents. [cite web
title =3HO Healthy Happy Holy Organization
work =About 3HO
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] In 1998 it was estimated that these 3HO Sikhs, known colloquially as ‘gora’ (ਗੋਰਾ) or ‘white’ Sikhs, totaled 7,800 [cite web
title =Table of religious groups by alphabetical order
date = 23 April 2007
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] and were mainly centered around Española, New Mexico and Los Angeles, California.

Notable Sikhs in the modern era

Udham Singh aka Ram Mohammed Singh Azad.]
*Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale - a controversial twentieth century Sikh seperatist leader.
*Arjan Singh- Marshal of the Indian Air Force, former Chief of the Air Force Staff
*Baldev Singh - Indian independence movement leader
*Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sandhu-Indian independence movement leader and martyr
*Fauja Singh - 90 year old Sikh marathon runner
*Kartar Singh Sarabha Grewal - Indian independence movement leader and martyr
*General Joginder Jaswant Singh - Indian army Chief of Army Staff
*Hardeep Singh Kohli - Sikh writer, broadcaster and presenter from Scotland
*Master Tara Singh - Sikh and Indian independence movement leader
*Dr. Manmohan Singh- Prime Minister of India and economist
*Milkha Singh ("the flying Sikh") - winner of Padma Shri, former 400 m track record holder, Gold medal (440 yards) at '58 Commonwealth Games, Gold medal (200 & 400 m) at '58 Asian Games and Gold medal (200 m) in '62 Asian Games
*Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany - optics scientist and philanthropist
*Professor Piara Singh Gill - nuclear scientist
*Pratap Singh Kairon - Sikh and Indian independence movement leader
*Sardul Singh Caveeshar - Indian independence movement leader
*Shaheed Udham Singh - Indian revolutionary and martyr

Decorated Sikhs in the military

*Bana Singh - awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
*Captain Ishar Singh - The first Sikh to receive the Victoria Cross.
*Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria - awarded Param Vir Chakra.
*Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon - awarded Param Vir Chakra (the only officer of the Indian Air Force to be awarded Param Vir Chakra).
*Gian Singh - awarded the Victoria Cross.
*Lt. General Jagjit Singh Aurora - supervised the surrender of more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
*Joginder Singh (Subedar) - awarded Param Vir Chakra.
*Lieutenant Karamjit Singh Judge - awarded the Victoria Cross.
*Lance Karam Singh - awarded the Military Medal in World War II and awarded Param Vir Chakra (the second person to receive Param Vir Chakra).
*Major Havildar Parkash Singh - awarded the Victoria Cross.
*Nand Singh - awarded the Victoria Cross

Baba Harbhajan Singh

Baba Harbhajan Singh - was a Sikh soldier who is spiritually revered by the Indian Army, officers and soldiers believe he gives them protection in war.

Art and Culture

Sikh art and culture is synonymous with that of the Punjab region. The Punjab itself has been called India’s melting pot, due to the confluence of invading cultures, such as Greek, Mughal and Persian, that mirrors the confluence of rivers from which the region gets its name. Thus Sikh culture is to a large extent informed by this synthesis of cultures.

Sikhism has forged a unique form of architecture which Bhatti describes as being "inspired by Guru Nanak’s creative mysticism" such that Sikh architecture "is a mute harbinger of holistic humanism based on pragmatic spirituality". [cite web
title =The Magnificence of Sikh Architecture
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] The ‘key-note’ of Sikh architecture is the Gurdwara which is the personification of the "melting pot" of Punjabi cultures, showing both Islamic, Sufi and Hindu influences. The reign of the Sikh Empire was the single biggest catalyst in creating a uniquely Sikh form of expression, with Maharajah Ranjit Singh patronising the building of forts, palaces, bungas (residential places), colleges, etc that can be said to be of the "Sikh Style". Characteristics of Sikh architecture are gilded fluted domes, cupolas, kiosks and stone lanterns with an ornate balustrade on square roofs. The "jewel in the crown" of the "Sikh Style" is the Harmindar Sahib.

Sikh culture is heavily influenced by militaristic motifs, with Khanda being the most obvious; thus it is no surprise that the majority of Sikh artifacts, independent of the relics of the Gurus, have a military theme. This motif is again evident in the Sikh festivals of Hola Mohalla and Vaisakhi which feature marching and practicing displays of valor respectively.

The art and culture of the Sikh diaspora has been merged with that of other Indo-immigrant groups into categories such as 'British Asian', 'Indo-Canadian' and 'Desi-Culture'; however there has emerged a niche cultural phenomenon that can be described as 'Political Sikh'. [cite web
title = 'Art and Culture of the Diaspora'
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] The art of prominent diaspora Sikhs such as Amarjeet Kaur Nandhra & Amrit and Rabindra Kaur Singh, [cite web
title = Singh Twins Art Launches Liverpool Fest
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] is informed by their Sikhism and the current affairs of the Punjab.

Bhangra and the Gidha are two forms of indigenous Punjabi folk dancing that have been appropriated, adapted and pioneered by Punjabi Sikhs. The Punjabi Sikhs have championed these forms of expression all over the world, such that Sikh Culture has become inextricably linked to Bhangra, even though "Bhangra is not a Sikh institution but a Punjabi one." [cite web
title = Bhangra & Sikhi by Harjinder Singh
url =
accessdate = 2008-04-04

References and Notes

Further reading

*"The Sikhs In History: A Millennium Study " by Sangat Singh, Noel Quinton King. First Published New York 1995. ISBN 8190065025
* "A History of the Sikhs: Volume 1: 1469–1838" by Khushwant Singh. Pub. by Oxford India Paperbacks (January 13, 2005). ISBN 0195673085.
* "The Sikhs" by Patwant Singh. Published by Image (July 17, 2001). ISBN 0385502060.
* "The Sikhs of the Punjab" by J. S. Grewal. Published by Cambridge University Press (October 28, 1998). ISBN 0521637643.
* "The Sikhs: History, Religion, and Society" by W.H. McLeod. Published by Columbia University Press (April 15, 1989). ISBN 0231068158.
* "The Sikh Diaspora: Tradition and Change in an Immigrant Community (Asian Americans - Reconceptualizing Culture, History, Politics)" by Michael Angelo. Published by Routledge (September 1, 1997). ISBN 0815329857.

External links

* [ The legacy of Guru Nanak Dev - Documentary]
* [ Quarterly]
* [ Sikhism Guide] — Guide to Sikhism
* [ Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle] — A socio-religious non-profit Sikh organization
* [ The Sikhism Home Page] — General resource site introducing the main concepts of Sikhism
* [ Sikh Missionary Society (UK)] — Non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Sikh religion, culture and history
* [ Sikh Videos Gurbani Kirtan] — Sikhism videos
* [ All About Sikhs] — Sikhism resource site
* [ Sri Granth] — Guru Granth Sahib search engine with additional scriptural resources
* [] — Sikh history site
* [ SikhNet] — Sikh community website
* [ Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail] — A new perspective on the heritage of one of Britain's most visible minorities
* [ First Sikh Cadet of Pakistan Army]
* [ Sikh Gurudwaras Around the World] — A global database of Sikh Gurudwaras around the world

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  • sikh — sikh, sikhe [ sik ] n. et adj. • 1846; sanskr. cishya « disciple » ♦ Membre d une communauté religieuse de l Inde fondée au XVe s., rejetant le système des castes hindoues. Les sikhs du Panjab. Adj. Les femmes sikhes portent le pantalon. ⊗ HOM.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • sikh — agg.inv., s.m. e f.inv. TS relig., polit. 1. agg.inv., relativo ai Sikh: comunità sikh, minoranza sikh, templi sikh 2. agg.inv., s.m. e f.inv., che, chi appartiene ai Sikh | con iniz. maiusc., gruppo religioso e politico indiano, sorto… …   Dizionario italiano

  • sikh — SIC/ adj. s. m. (adept) al sikhismului. (< fr. sikh) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român

  • Sikh — [si:k ] n [Date: 1700 1800; : Hindi; Origin: disciple, follower ] a member of an Indian religious group that developed from Hinduism in the 16th century >Sikh adj …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Sikh — [zi:k] der; [s], s <aus gleichbed. Hindi sikh, eigtl. »Jünger, Schüler«, zu sanskr. śikṣā »Wissenschaft, Lehre«, dies aus altind. śikṣati »Studien«> Angehöriger einer kriegerischen islamisch hinduistischen Religionsgemeinschaft im… …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Sikh — [ sik ] noun count a member of an Indian religious group that separated from HINDUISM in the 16th century ╾ Sikh adjective …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Sikh — 1781, sect established 16c. in Punjab by Nanak Shah, from Hindi sikh disciple, from Skt. siksati studies, learns, related to saknoti he is able, he is strong …   Etymology dictionary

  • sikh — |sique| adj. 2 g. s. 2 g. [Religião] Ver sique.   ‣ Etimologia: palavra inglesa, do híndi sikh, do sâncrito …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • sikh — sikh·ism; sikh; …   English syllables

  • Sikh — (arab., Staatsw.), so v.w. Scheik …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Sikh — (im Sanskrit Ciksha, »Jünger«), religiose Sekte in Britisch Indien, vornehmlich Dschat (s. d.), denen sich wahrscheinlich Sudra der niedrigsten Kasten, Radschputen und Mohammedaner anschlossen. Von ihrer (1901) 2,195,339 Kopfe betragenden… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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