History Optional Paper- 1 Solution – 2008: Q.5 (c)
Q.5 (c) Write a short essay on: “Evolution of the Khalsa Panth”
Khalsa represents a sect (panth), founded by the last Sikh Guru, Govind Singh in 1699. This sect revolutionised the Sikh Community, gave it a strong moral and military character and prepared a new ground for struggle.
Background of Khalsa
The evolution of the Khalsa panth had background of persecution and struggle as well as changing nature of Guruship.
The character of the Sikh gurudom had changed following its acquiring a hereditary character under Guru Arjun who became Guru in 1581.
Although the early Mughal emperors had peaceful relations with the Sikh Gurus, the Sikhs started facing persecution during the reign of Jahangir. Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru, was arrested and executed by Emperor Jahangir in 1606.
The next Guru, Guru Hargobind militarized the Sikhs and emphasized the temporal power and spiritual power in Guru.
In 1675, Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs was executed by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for for opposing religious persecution by Aurangzeb. Though there is a lot of controversies regarding the events which led to Guru Teg Bahadur’s arrest and beheading. The execution of the Guru paved the way for the final transformation of Sikhism into an armed opposition movement.
Fouding of Khalsa
In 1699, the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh (then called Guru Gobind Rai) on the Baisakhi Day summoned an assembly of his followers at Anandpur Sahib. More than 80,000 people gathered.
He drew his sword and asked for a volunteer who was willing to sacrifice his head. A person called Daya Ram came forward and offered his head to the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh took the volunteer inside the tent, and emerged shortly, with blood dripping from his sword. He then demanded another head. One more volunteer came forward and this happened total five times.
Then the five volunteers came out of the tent unharmed. These five, who were willing to sacrifice their lives for their Guru, were called Panj Piare (“the five beloved ones”). He then baptised them with Amrit (water of immortality). He renamed all of them and added the word ‘singh’ to their names and changed his own name from Gobind Rai to Gobind Singh.
Guru Gobind Singh gave them the title of “Singh” (meaning “tiger”). Similarly, for female the title of “Kaur” (meaning “Princess”). About twenty thousand men and woman took this baptism on the first day.
He asked Panj Piare to initiate him. In this he merged himself in the Khalsa and Khalsa was merged into Guru. His absorption into the Khalsa led to the five-beloved being equal to him, the Guru was just a Singh of the Khalsa. Guruship was vested in Adigranth.
Principles of Khalsa
(1) Members of the Khalsa were be the defenders of the truth, fighters of unjust, the purest of all -the Khalsa. Thus a new force determined to fight against the evil and help the needy and the poor came into existence.
(2) Every members of Khalsa was to have five K’s: Kesh (long hair), Kachha (underwear), Kara (kron ring around the wrist), Kripan (sword) and Kangha (comb).
(3) The members of Khalsa were not to have faith in caste systems. The members of low caste were admitted to Khalsa on the terms of equality.
(4) They were to live pious life, avoid tobacco and alchohol.
(5) The member of Khalsa believed in one God who is formless.
(6) The member of Khalsa were to greet each other by addressing each other with the words: “Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Phateh” (“The Khalsa belongs to Waheguru (the wondrous teacher), the victory belongs to Waheguru”).
Khalsa led to turning Sikhs into a martial sect which fought with injustice of Mughals. In the wake of creation of Khalsa, a number of Misls arose whivh waged a struggle for jndependence and ultimately paved the way for the rise of a strong Sikh Empire under Ranjit Singh.