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When Sparrows Became HawksThe Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition, 1699-1799$
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Purnima Dhavan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756551.001.0001

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(Re)making the Khalsa, 1708–1748

(Re)making the Khalsa, 1708–1748

(p.47) 3 (Re)making the Khalsa, 1708–1748
When Sparrows Became Hawks

Purnima Dhavan

Oxford University Press

During the period of 1708–1748, Khalsa Sikhs participated in a series of rebellions against the Mughal state, the first of which was led by Banda Bahadur. Jat peasants, who joined the Khalsa in large numbers began to see their struggle as a dharamyudh, or religious war, while their regional rivals described their own efforts as a jihad. The Khalsa Sikhs were able to create a greater cohesion across their networks. By the mid-eighteenth century the rapid influx of Jat peasants led to a growing accommodation of local cultural traditions, creating a hybridized ritual practices and texts for Sikhs. Thus, even as the martial orientation of the Khalsa peasant soldiers sharpened in these tumultuous times and the size of the Khalsa bands (misals) grew, the distinctive worldview and practices of the Khalsa as described by Sainapati began to soften, incorporating elements borrowed from peasant cultures.

Keywords:   Banda Bahadur, misals, zamindars, Jats, peasants, dharamyudh, jihad

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