Five hundred years ago, Guru Nanak founded the Sikh faith in India. The Sikh's defied the caste system; rejected the authority of Hindu priests; forbade magic and idolatry; and promoted the equality of men and women--beliefs that incurred the wrath of both Hindus and Muslims. In the centuries that followed, three of Nanak's nine successors met violent ends, and his people contiunued to battle hostile regimes. The conflict has raged into our own time: in 1984 the Golden Temple of Amritsar--the holy shrine of the Sikhs--was destroyed by the Indian Army. In retaliation Sikh bodyguards assassinated Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Now, Patwant Singh gives us the compelling story of the Sikhs--their origins, traditions and beliefs, and more recent history. He shows how a movement based on tenets of compassion and humanness transformed itself, of neccessity, into a community that values bravery and military prowess as well as spirituality. We learn how Gobind Singh, the tenth and last Guru, welded the Sikhs into a brotherhood, with each man bearing the surname Singh, or "lion," and abiding by a distinctive code of dress and conduct. He tells of Banda the Brave's daring conquest, which sowed the seeds of a Sikh state, and how the enlighted ruler Ranjit Singh fulfilled this promise by founding a Sikh empire.
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