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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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The Khalsa Rāj (1765–99)

The Khalsa Rāj (1765–99)

(p.59) 2 The Khalsa Rāj (1765–99)
The Eighteenth Century in Sikh History

Karamjit K. Malhotra

Oxford University Press

Questioning the stereotypes of theocracy, twelve misals, theocratic confederate feudalism, and the central authority of the Khalsa, this chapter argues that the misal, Gurmata, Dal Khalsa, Rakhi, and the doctrine of Guru Panth were relevant as cohesive devices in the course of political struggle and conquest, but not for the Khalsa Rāj. While the Sikh chiefs in the provinces of Lahore and Multan claimed sovereignty and functioned virtually as petty monarchs in their internal administration and political relations, the chiefs of the Sutlej–Jamuna Divide acknowledged the supremacy of Ahmad Shah Abdali. The emergent rulers adapted the Mughal framework of the suzerain–vassal relationship, administration of justice, land revenue, jagirs, and charitable grants. Individuals and institutions in mainstream Sikhism received a larger share of state patronage in the form of dharmarth grants.

Keywords:   Khalsa Rāj, theocracy, theocratic confederate feudalism, misal, Gurmata, Dal Khalsa, Guru Panth, suzerain–vassal relationship, jagir, dharmarth grants

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