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Image:Manmohan Singh, G8 summit.jpg
Total population 23 million
Regions with significant populations

   • India
   • New Zealand
   • Britain
   • Canada
   • USA
   • Australia
   • Pakistan
   • Middle East
   • East Africa
   • ASEAN

Language Punjabi
Religion Sikhism <tr>
<th style="background-color:#fee8ab;">Related ethnic groups</th>
<td style="background-color:#fff6d9;">• other Punjabi people


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<b>History of Sikhism
Dharmic religions
Sikh Beliefs

The Sikh Gurus

Sikh Bhagats

Other Important People

Beliefs and principles
Underlying values · Prohibitions
Technique and methods
Other observations · Bani

Sikh practices · List

Guru Granth Sahib
Adi Granth · Dasam Granth

History · Family of the Sikh Gurus
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A Sikh (IPA: ['siːk] or ['sɪk]; Punjabi: ਸਿੱਖ, sikkh, IPA: ['sɪk.kʰ]) is an adherent of Sikhism. The term originates from the Punjabi language and originally from the Sanskrit "shishya" where it means a disciple or follower.

Most Sikhs come from the Punjab region with Hindu Ancestry and there are significant communities all over the world.


[edit] Definition

The SGPC defines a Sikh in the Rehat Maryada as a person who believes in:

Such a person is defined as a Sikh as long as said person does not owe allegiance to any other religion. Some Sikh sects that do not subscribe to the SGPC's Rehat Maryada may have differing definitions of a Sikh. However, generally speaking, these prerequisites hold.

[edit] Distribution

Numbering approximately 23 million worldwide; over 60 percent of Sikhs live in the Indian state of Punjab, where they form about two-thirds of the population. Large communities of Sikhs live in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, and Delhi. Sikhs compose less than 2% of the Indian population, however more than 90% of Sikhs live in India. Migration beginning from the late nineteenth century have found significant communities in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, East Africa, Southeast Asia and more recently, the United States, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Despite their comparatively small numbers, Sikhs are highly represented in Indian polity and life. They form a significant segment of India's military services and are significant participants in sports such as field hockey and cricket, as well as in politics. Sikh political leaders of the past and present include Master Tara Singh, Pratap Singh Kairon, Parkash Singh Badal ex Chief Minister of Punjab, Sardul Singh Caveeshar, Baldev Singh, former president of India Zail Singh and present Prime minister of India - Dr. Manmohan Singh. The first Asian American elected to the United States Congress was Dalip Singh Saund, who had campaigned for the Indian American right to U.S. citizenship in the 1950s. Sikh intellectuals, sportsmen and artists such as Professor Hargobind Singh Khorana -the Sikh Nobel prize winning molecular biologist scientist, Khushwant Singh, Monty Panesar, Jaspal Bhatti, Milkha Singh (The Flying Sikh), Bishen Singh Bedi, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Harbhajan Singh are an integral part of popular culture. (See Main article: Famous Sikhs).

Sikh community also enjoys comparatively greater economic prosperity - the state of Punjab is known as India's breadbasket, owing to its significant production of staple crops, and one of the most industrialized economies in the nation. In India and across the world, Sikhs are an important mercantile class, as well as employed in skilled professions. This is primarily owed to a close-knit community structure, progressive farming techniques and a cultural emphasis on education.

Sikhs enjoy representation in India's civil services.<ref>Parrinder, Geoffrey (1971). World Religions: From Ancient History to the Present. United States: Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, 260. ISBN 0-87196-129-6.</ref> Relations with Hindu communities have generally been amicable and friendly, although recent years have seen antagonism between the two, particularly in the 1980s. In recent years, the number of younger Sikhs who are not well-versed with religious scriptures and long-held traditions, and do not observe many religious injunctions has increased in some communities in Western Europe and North America.<ref>Parrinder, Geoffrey (1971). World Religions: From Ancient History to the Present. United States: Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, 261. ISBN 0-87196-129-6.</ref>

[edit] Five Ks

Main article: 5 Ks

The Five Ks, or panj kakaar/kakke, are five items of faith that some Sikhs wear at all times at the command of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh who so ordered at the Baisakhi Amrit Sanchar in 1699. They are Keshri, Kanga, Kacha, Kara and Kirpan. They are mainly for identity and representation of the ideals of Sikhism, such as honesty, equality, and the concept of a "warrior saint or saintly soldier", meditating on God and protecting the downtrodden.

[edit] Tribes and Castes

Despite its emphasis on equality and brotherhood, socio-economic & tribal divisions have developed between Sikhs over a period of time. Tribes include Jat, Rajput, Tarkhan/Ramgharia, Ahir, Gujjar, Kamboj, Saini, Kalal and Labana. Urban mercantile Sikh "castes" include Khatri, Arora, Bhatia, Saggu and Sood. There are also Sikhs of Brahmin (mostly Mohyal) and Dalit extraction/ancestry. The bulk of Sikhs are of Jat origin.

There has also emerged a specialized group of Sikhs calling themselves Akalis, which have existed since Maharaja Ranjit Singh's time solely for the protection and strengthening of the Sikh religion. Under their leader General Akali Pula Singh, in the early 1800s, they won many battles for the Sikh Empire. The Akali and Prasadis, have recently become more vocal.

[edit] Sikhism in the Western World

Due to the turbans Sikhs wear, people in Western countries have sometimes confused Sikhs with all Middle Eastern men or Muslims. This has affected Sikhs in times of conflict with elements of the Middle East. For example, during the Iranian hostage crisis when the government of Iran held Americans hostages in its own country, some people in Western countries misunderstood the Sikh turban as a turban worn by all Middle Eastern men. After the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, 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, concluding that this misconception has lead to an increase in hate-crimes against Sikh men in the United States, <ref> CNN, America, "Hate crime reports up in wake of terrorist attacks" 17 September 2001</ref> and the UK.<ref>Sikhs urging action on faith hate BBC News Online, 5 November 2006. Retrieved 5 November 2006. </ref> Due to the history of Sikhs within the western world, such as, fighting in disproportionately large numbers, approximately 10 fold, in both World War One and World War Two for the allies in the liberation of Europe and the very large number of Victoria crosses won for bravery <ref></ref>. Sikhs are now starting to be recognized by the western world as a friendly, helpful and a integral part of the greater social fabric in the west.

Prominent Sikhs include Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh, Gurbax Malhi, Navdeep Bains in the Canadian Parliament, Dr.Hargobind Singh Khorana - the Sikh Nobel prize winning molecular biologist scientist and General Joginder Jaswant Singh, the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian army.

[edit] References

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[edit] External links

Image:Example.of.complex.text.rendering.svg This page contains Indic text. Without rendering support, you may see irregular vowel positioning and a lack of conjuncts. More...

nl:Sikh no:Sikher nn:Sikhar


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