ISBN 9780199454693,When Sparrows Became Hawks : The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition, 1699 - 1799

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



Oxford University Press

Publication Year 2014

ISBN 9780199454693

ISBN-10 0199454698


Number of Pages 272 Pages
Language (English)

History & Politics

Challenging the commonly accepted belief that the distinctive rituals, ceremonies and cultural practises 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 the course 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 analyses 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 practises were shaped in response to religious reforms. 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 practises and shaped a new martial community.

About the Author

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 public in early modern South Asia.