When Sparrows Became Hawks: The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition, 1699-1799

Hardcover | December 6, 2011

byPurnima Dhavan

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Challenging the commonly accepted belief that the distinctive rituals, ceremonies, and cultural practices associated with the Khalsa were formed during the lifetime of the Tenth and last Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, Purnima Dhavan reveals how such markers of Khalsa identity evolved slowly over thecourse of the eighteenth century. By focusing on the long-overlooked experiences of peasant communities, she traces the multiple perspectives and debates that eventually coalesced to create a composite Khalsa culture by 1799. When Sparrows Became Hawks incorporates and analyzes Sikh normative religious literature created during this period by reading it in the larger context of sources such as news reports, court histories, and other primary sources that show how actual practices were shaped in response to religiousreforms. Recovering the agency of the peasants who dominated this community, Dhavan demonstrates how a dynamic process of debates, collaboration, and conflict among Sikh peasants, scholars, and chiefs transformed Sikh practices and shaped a new martial community.

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Challenging the commonly accepted belief that the distinctive rituals, ceremonies, and cultural practices associated with the Khalsa were formed during the lifetime of the Tenth and last Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, Purnima Dhavan reveals how such markers of Khalsa identity evolved slowly over thecourse of the eighteenth century. By focusi...

Purnima Dhavan is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Washington, Seattle. She has written several essays on Sikh history, gender, and literary traditions. Her next project focuses on vernacular identities and literary publics in early modern South Asia.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:258 pages, 0.12 × 0.12 × 0.12 inPublished:December 6, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199756554

ISBN - 13:9780199756551

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Origins of the Khalsa2. Early Narratives of the Last Guru and the Creation of the Khalsa3. (Re)making the Khalsa, 1708-484. The Making of a Sikh Sardar: Two Jassa Singhs and the Place of Sikhs in the Eighteenth-Century Military Labor Market5. Rereading Alha Singh: Rebel, Raja, and Sikh Sardar6. From Peasant Soldier to Elite Warrior: Raiding, Honor Feuds, and the Transformation of Khalsa Identity7. Devotion and Its Discontents: The Affective Communities of Gurbilas Texts8. Conclusion