When the leadership, culture, and religious philosophy of the Khalsa Sikhs is examined against the changing political and social contexts of eighteenth-century Panjab, it becomes clear that Khalsa identity was not shaped in a cultural vacuum. Throughout the eighteenth century, as Khalsa Sikhs faced diverse challenges from their regional rivals or resistance to reforms within their own ranks, they adapted Khalsa cultural codes to meet these new challenges. During this period, dialogic encounters between conflicting notions of Khalsa moral order (dharam), whether the Khalsa's struggle was a war to impose a new moral order (dharamyudh) or conquest (mulkgiri), and if a Khalsa victory would ensure a joint sovereignty (Khalsa raj) or the rule of individual chiefs (sardari) dominated debates within the Khalsa. The compromises achieved between different groups in Panjab as a result of these encounters eventually forged a composite Khalsa culture that encapsulated multiple social identities and political claims.
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