The New Student's Reference Work/Sikhs
Sikhs (sēks), a religious sect in northern India. The word means followers or disciples. It was founded by Baba Nanak in the 15th century, who rejected the caste-system and idolatry, and taught the worship of one God. At the end of the 16th century the holy temple was built at Amritsar, which is the headquarters of the sect. As they increased in numbers, they gradually assumed military power, and in the 18th century under Kanjit Singh (q. v.), a young warlike chief, they became a great military force in the Panjab. He kept the treaty he had made with Great Britain, but at his death his large and well-drilled army invaded British territory in India in 1845. After several battles and defeats they were at last conquered in 1849, and the Panjab was annexed. At the mutiny (1857) the Sikhs remained loyal to England. The Sikhs form about six per cent. of the population of the Panjab, and there are 15 protected Sikh states connected with the Panjab government. They number about 1,907,836. Consult Cunningham's History of the Sikhs.