Sikhism merged against the backdrop of rejecting Brahmanical rituals and practices and as a distinct movement to Hinduiand Islam . Its evolution and consolidation in the form of panth by the time of Guru Gobind Singh was unique. During periods of crises and challenges the community stood to maintain its discrete identity.
Gradually with passage of time, during the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Sikhs began to adopt Brahmanical rituals and practices contrary to the essence of Sikhism. First time, it was noticed by Baba Dayal who began to preach against this degradation. In this sense it became the ‘First Sikh Reform Movement’. After Partition the movement continued to preserve its distinct identity vis-à-vis Nirankaris founded by Baba Avtar Singh in the twentieth century.
Yet, lack of information and knowledge on the subject and movement was being felt by both the academia and the common people. It was with this object that on the proposal of Dr Man Singh Nirankari, the Department of Punjab Historical Studies organised Seminar on 12 May, 2006. The issues taken up are very relevant and pertinent. Apart from discussion on causes of origin and contributions of the movement; other points explored are the social categories involved, popular perception and media along with identity within the Sikhism.
I am sure, publication of these research papers will help in re-understanding of the movement and also in locating its historical significance. The Department of Punjab Historical Studies deserve congratulations for hard work and bringing out its volume. Its publication during the prevailing socio- cultural conflicts assumes greater significance.
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