Sikhs (a corruption of Sanscr. sishya, disciple), originally a religious sect, since grown into a nation, and inhabiting the Punjab. Their founder was Nanok (q.v.), who has been succeeded by nine pontiffs, each of whom, like himself, is popularly denominated guru, or teacher. His object was to unite Hindus and Mohammedans on the basis of a pure monotheism and of human brotherhood. Sufficient proof of the comprehensive character of his scheme is afforded by the circumstance that he accepted concurrently the incarnations of Neo-Brahmarism and the mission of the Arabian prophet. Nanok's three immediate successors, while zealously protectinlg the interests of the infant sect, avoided secular pursuits, and held themselves aloof from political complications. Arjfin (Arjunmal), compiler of the Sikh doctrines in a volume called Adigranth, and founder of Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs, also rendered himself conspicuous as a partisan of the rebellious prince Khusru, son of Jahangir. He was imprisoned by the Mussulman government, tortured, and put to death in 1606. His son, Har Govind, led the Sikhs against the Mohammedans, but was driven from Lahore to the northern mountains. It was under Guru Govind, the tenth of the "teachers," that the Sikhs were first formed into a separate state. He combated the Mohammedan power and religion; and Hindusm, with its castes, fictions, and irrational idolatry, fell under his ban. He also wrote the second volume of the Sikh Scriptures, in which are taught the worship of one God, strict morality, and, equally, living by the sword. He was assassinated while in the imperial service in 1708, on the banks of the Godavari. After his death, persecution from time to time greatly reduced the strength of the tribe; but their religious fanaticism, nourished by the sacred writings which successive leaders had prepared, lent vigor to their. warlike energies. In 1764 they convened a general assembly, formally assumed the character of a nation, and issued coin from which the name of the emperor was omitted. Their commonwealth was designated Khalsa, and its twelve component states were called misals, and were governed by sirdars, or petty chiefs, of whom Maha Singh was the most. powerful. His son, Runjit Singh, consolidated the misals into a unity subject to his own sway, A.D. 138. The following year he died, aged fifty-nine years, leaving a kingdom, called Lahore, which included all the principal Sikh states except those east of the Sutlej. In 1846 they were conquered by the English, and ceased to be a nation. New complications arising, war between the Sikhs and English was renewed in 1848, but concluded unfavorably for the Sikhs in February, 1849. The portion of the Sikh territory remaining independent is comprised in the nine small states of Sirhind. The Sikhs were faithful to the English during the Sepoy rebellion in 1857, and aided materially in its suppression. The Sikhs still maintain their national characteristics being tall, thin, dark, active, excellent soldiers, frank, sociable, and pleasure loving. Their number in British India was officially given in 1868 as 1,129,319. A critical acquaintance with the real views of Nanok and Govind must remain a matter of conjecture until a detailed translation is made of their works by some scholar completely versed in Hindu philosophy. The Adigranth (the original record) and the Daswin Pulashi da Granth, (the record of the tenth king) are metrical throughout, and are chiefly in Hindu and Panjabt, the former containing additionally a little Sanscrit, and the latter a long chapter in Persian. See Cunningham, History of the Sikhs; Malcolm, Sketch of the Sikhs; Asiatic Researches, vols. 1, 2; and The Calcutta Review, vols. 21, 22.

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