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Sikh Reform Movements

Subject Indian Traditions » Sikhism

Key-Topics reform movements

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxxiii ] Defeat in 1849 confronted the Sikh P anth with a threatening future ( see S ikh history ). Although the victorious British subsequently enlisted many Sikh soldiers, the question of Sikh identity and even survival became critical. The eventual response was the Singh Sabha (Singh Association) movement. In 1873 a Singh Sabha was formed in Amritsar and another in Lahore six years later. Others followed in areas populated by Sikhs, all supporting a generally reformist policy with strong emphasis on the recovery of distinctive Sikh values. This policy was applied through literature, education, religious assemblies, preaching and public controversy. A split soon appeared, however, between Amritsar and Lahore, each supported by its group of smaller sabhas. Although temporary unity was achieved in 1902 by the formation of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, as an umbrella organization, this proved too cautious for the so-called T at K halsa or ‘neo-Sikhs’ [4: xxiii-xxxiv ]. Ardent Sikh opinion turned increasingly against the government and found a specific cause in opposition to control of G urdwaras by hereditary supervisors ( mahants ). This produced the A kali movement and a period of vigorous agitation, beginning in 1920. The government eventually gave way and in 1925 transferred control of the principal gurdwaras to an elective board, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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