Sikhs of the Khalsa: A History of the Khalsa Rahit

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Oxford University Press, 2003 - History - 482 pages
The Rahit is the code of belief and conduct laid down by the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, for all Sikhs who join the Khalsa. In this important new volume, W. H. McLeod examines how the Rahit came into being, how it developed in response to the current historical circumstances, and why it still retains an unchallenged hold over all who regard themselves as Khalsa Sikhs. The common view amongst Sikhs is that the Rahit has descended unchanged since its first promulgation. McLeod argues that the Rahit evolved according to the conditions of the time, producing significantly different patterns as the circumstances of the Sikh Panth changed. The book traces the development of the Rahit through the last three centuries and shows how the modern Rahit, in some respects, is different from the original one. It also provides an insightful discussion on the nature of the Khalsa Rahit and the fundamental criteria by which one could be indentified as a Sikh. McLeod's meticulous and masterful analysis is supplemented by selected translations of original Punjabi rahit-namas in the second part of this volume.

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