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The Eighteenth Century in Sikh HistoryPolitical Resurgence, Religious and Social Life, and Cultural Articulation$
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Karamjit K. Malhotra

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463541.001.0001

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‘Rāj Karegā Khālsā’

‘Rāj Karegā Khālsā’

(p.19) 1 ‘Rāj Karegā Khālsā’
The Eighteenth Century in Sikh History

Karamjit K. Malhotra

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the ideal of political ascendancy as ‘Rāj Karegā Khālsā’ was articulated in the time of Guru Gobind Singh. Its first tangible expression was the state under Banda Singh, deriving sovereignty from God through the Gurus, and using deg-teg-fateh on his seal. This ideal inspired the Sikhs and accounted for their increasing numbers, growing organization, and expanding area of Rakhi despite determined repression and massacres (ghallugharas) by the Mughals and Afghans. Many martyrs among the Khalsa sacrificed their life for the Sikh ideology. The Harmandar Sahib and the Akāl Bungā at Ramdaspur became their rallying centres and they began to acquire territories around the 1750s, occupied Lahore in 1765, and proclaimed their sovereignty by striking a coin, with the same inscription as on Banda Singh’s seal. The political activity of the Khalsa was then marked mainly by further extension of territory, influence, and resources, and a struggle for ascendancy

Keywords:   ‘Rāj Karegā Khālsā’, sovereignty, Rakhi, ghallughara, ideology, martyrs, Harmandar Sahib, Akāl Bungā, deg-teg-fateh, struggle for ascendancy

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