From Academic Kids

A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism, a religious faith originating in the Punjab.

The word Sikh is derived from the Sanskrit word shishya which means disciple or student. In the Punjabi language the word Sikh also means humble follower. So a Sikh is a disciple of the Ten Gurus and a follower of the teachings in the Sikhism's holy scriptures who they regard as a living guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.


The Khalsa

Main article: Khalsa

A baptized Sikh becomes a member of the Khalsa or the "Pure Ones". When a Sikh joins the Khalsa, he/she is supposed to have devoted his/her life to the Guru, and is expected not to desist from sacrificing anything and everything in a struggle for a just and righteous cause. The word "Khalsa" has two literal meanings. It comes from Persian. One literal meaning is "Pure" and the other meaning is "belonging to the king". When the word "Khalsa" is used for a Sikh, it implies belonging to the King, where the King is God himself. To become a Khalsa, a Sikh must surrender him/her self completely to the supreme King or God and obey his will without question or delay. Only then a Sikh is called a "Khalsa".

General Disposition

Historically, Sikhs have been known to be great saintly-warriors. The tenth Sikh guru Guru Gobind Singh Ji is considered a great military leader and strategist of his time. He inspired and eventually led a relatively small number of Sikh forces to remarkable triumphs over expansive state armies of the Mughal king Aurangzeb creating an entirely different form of combat and warfare to which most others were unfamiliar. Often fighting battles against vastly superior numbers with great courage, Sikhs became known for winning by their determination and dedication to their mission. Later under the British Empire, the Battle of Saragarhi (1897) is remembered as one of many battles where the Sikhs have fought with unflinching strength. In the Battle of Saragarhi, the Sikh Havildar Ishar Singh with 21 other soldiers fought with great bravery against 10,000 Afridi tribesmen. This battle has been taught in history lessons in French schools for many years as a model and an example of extreme human bravery, sacrifice and of comradeship. In the two World Wars, over 80,000 Sikhs died for the allied forces in battles. Countless Sikhs have received the Victoria Cross and the Param Vir Chakras for their gallantry and courage.Sikhs have made a great contribution to the fields of science, technology, agriculture, literature, and many many more fields.

Sikhs and Punjabis

Since Sikhism originated in the region of Punjab, most Sikhs trace their roots to that region (though in recent times, with the spread both of Sikhism and Sikhs, one might encounter Sikhs belonging to other geographical locations across the world). So more often than not, a Sikh might also be identified as a Punjabi, although one should not be confused with the other. Consequently, and also because the Guru Granth Sahib is written in Gurmukhi, a script of the Punjabi language, most Sikhs are able to speak, read or write the language, or are at least familiar with it.

Sikh Names

A Sikh man almost always bears the surname of Singh, which means 'lion', and a Sikh woman can be identified with a second name of Kaur, which means 'princess' ('Kaur' being an exclusively Sikh name). Additionally, except only a very few cases, the same first names as used for men are used for women. In other words, though one may not be able to tell the sex of a Sikh person from his/her first name, the second name of Singh or Kaur makes the distinction completely clear. Unisex first names are a salient example of the complete equality between men and women. Moreover, the said first names usually end with common suffixes such as: inder, jeet, jot, preet, pal, meet, deep, mail, bir, vant etc. Even the prefixes of the first names aren't too varied. The most common prefixes are: Gur, Har, Man, Bal, Dal, Kul, Jas etc. The various combinations of these prefixes and suffixes make up Sikh first names. Also of note, Sikh names always represent some exalted ideal state or perfect concept. For example, Harjot means "divine spirit of the lord." (Har - God, Jot - spirit). Savraj means "Independence" (sav - self, raj - rule).

Keeping above in mind, a few examples of Sikh names might be:

Male names

  • Amandeep Singh
  • Amardeep Singh
  • Balbir Singh
  • Balvir Singh
  • Bahadar Singh
  • Beant Singh
  • Charanjot Singh
  • Damandeep Singh
  • Davinder Singh
  • Dlaer Singh
  • Gurcharan Singh
  • Gurtej Singh
  • Harman Singh
  • Harjot Singh
  • Kamaljit Singh
  • Kulwant Singh
  • Manmohan Singh
  • Mandeep Singh
  • Manpreet Singh
  • Navjot Singh
  • Ranjit Singh
  • Rupinder Singh
  • Sandeep Singh
  • Sundeep Singh

Female names

  • Davinder Kaur
  • Harleen Kaur
  • Inderjeet Kaur
  • Jasleen Kaur
  • Jasvir Kaur
  • Jaswant Kaur
  • Jeety Jeet Kaur
  • Kamalvir Kaur
  • Mohan Kaur
  • Satinder Kaur
  • Simardeep Kaur
  • Simran Kaur
  • Sharonjeet Kaur
  • Rajvir Kaur
  • Rakendeer Kaur
  • Rumandeep Kaur

Despite the above unwritten conventions that are usually followed while naming Sikh children, till a generation earlier, shorter, one syllable names such as: Banta Singh, Bhag Singh, Jant Singh, Jeet Kaur, Har Kaur etc. could be easily encountered especially in rural areas of Punjab. Other than that, modern Sikh families living in bigger, cosmopolitan cities, have adopted names from other communities as well. For instance, in New Delhi you might find a Sikh girl named simply Amita. In this case, the second name Kaur has been done away with and more significantly, the name Amita is unlike any conventional Sikh first name and is, in fact, a name more commonly associated with a Hindu girl. Some Sikh girls simply take on last name of Singh, a practice more common in larger cities. Some believers maintain that this practice of naming without using the word Singh or Kaur is manmat (Against the will of the Guru) and is prohibited in the Reht Maryada (The way of living of Sikhs).

Prescribed daily practices of a Sikh

The following is the daily routine to be followed by a practicing Sikh:

  1. To rise early in the morning
  2. To meditate on God by reciting his name. In Sikhism, God is called Waheguru and meditation through kirtan (holy music) or simple meditation on God's name (on the word Waheguru through repetition and faith, otherwise known as Naam Japna) and recite the Banis of the Guru - Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib Tav Prasad savaye, Chaupai Sahib and Anand Sahib. If possible to attend Gurdwara (Sikh Temple); to listen to Kirtan whenever possible. The most sacred Sikh place of worship is the Golden Temple.
  3. To perform Aardas, have breakfast and attend to the family needs.
  4. To attend work, training, or study, etc and perform Kirat Karni.
  5. Finish your daily work/training and return home to see to your family duties.
  6. In the evening recite or listen to the Rehras Sahib.
  7. After Aardas, to have the evening meal and engage in recreational, charitable, social tasks. Before bed to recite or listen to the Kirtan Sohila.

Duties of a Sikh

This section deals with the general duty of a Sikh to society and God rather than his/her daily practices dealt with in the previous section.

  1. Accept the Ten Gurus and SGGS as their Spiritual Teachers. Regularly study, meditate on and read the SGGS. Naam Japo; have faith in Guru & God.
  2. Live a householder's life – honest, simple and family oriented Kirat Karni; Know your responsibilities and honour these.
  3. Contribute to the well-being of society by offering selfless service without receiving payment and give ten percent of your net income to a charity, poor person, worthy cause, etc. Wand kay Shako
  4. Treat every person as an equal irrespective of caste, creed, gender, profession, social status, age, race, ability, etc.
  5. Speak politely; forgive easily and be humble at all times – page 1384 – “Humility is the word, forgiveness is the virtue, and sweet speech is the magic mantra. Wear these three robes, O sister, and you will captivate your Husband”
  6. Avoid the five evils – PAGAL – Pride, Anger, Greed, Attachment to Worldly things Maya and Lust.
  7. If you are a Baptized Sikh, Wear the 5Ks.
  8. Do not be cruel; nor have a negative outlook on life; Always have a positive attitude Chardi Kala
  9. Avoid the practice of rituals or superstitions; no fasting; no penances;
  10. Practice vegetarianism – The Sikhs have to offer their food first to their Gurus before taking it themselves and NO Sikh would allow meat products in their temples and so it follows that it is preferred for a Sikh to be a vegetarian. There is dispute about this matter but the consensus is that only vegetarian food is served in Sikh temples.

See also

External links

no:Sikher nn:Sikhar


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