This unique collection brings together essays by a leading Sikh scholar, J.S. Grewal. Spanning over four decades, it presents a comprehensive and authoritative account of key aspects of Sikh tradition from Guru Nanak to the present times.
Organized thematically, The Sikhs provides a detailed discussion of all the central issues in Sikh history and religion. The first three parts deal with ideological underpinnings, evolution of socio-political institutions, and Sikh literature. They examine areas like Guru Nanak and his Panth; political identity of the Khalsa Panth; martyrdom in Sikh literature; evolution of the Sikh state; Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht; and the debates surrounding the Janamsakhi and Prem Sumarg.
Grewal also explores socio-political issues concerning Sikhism—norms of equality, caste, and gender—along with topics like the contest over sacred space, cultural reorientation under colonial rule, and the Akali question. Towards the end, he underlines the importance of J.D. Cunningham’s work in a cross-cultural dialogue and critically investigates the debates concerning Sikhism in recent the decades.
For the range of issues raised and the dexterity with which they are handled, this book will be indispensable for scholars, students, and researchers of Sikhism, Punjab Studies, medieval Indian history, religion, and literature.
In terms of the range of issues addressed and the depth with which this discussion is handled, there is no comparable book currently available in the area of Sikh studies… These essays present a statement that is distilled from a long academic endeavour characterized by a mastery of a rich array of primary sources and a firm grasp of finer details of scholarly interpretation of the central issues in Sikh history.
-- Gurinder Singh Mann, Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
Dr Grewal's command over sources, understanding of historical processes, and the ground realities make complex issues intelligible to the lay reader, and the positions he takes are difficult to refute. His work exemplifies a rare combination of critical approach, open mindedness, empathetic understanding and humanistic sympathies. It also proves that a rigorous application of historical method can yield rich dividends in the study of religion and literature.
-- Indu Banga, Professor, Punjab University, Chandigarh