From Peasant Soldier to Elite Warrior: Raiding, Honor Feuds, and the Transformation of Khalsa Identity (Article, 2011) [WorldCat.org]
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From Peasant Soldier to Elite Warrior: Raiding, Honor Feuds, and the Transformation of Khalsa Identity

Author: Purnima Dhavan
Edition/Format: Chapter Chapter : English
Summary:
Warrior groups outside Panjab regarded the Sikh chiefs as upstart peasants addicted to predatory warfare, as distinct from the norms of honorable warfare. “Predatory” practices such as raiding and honor feuds were crucial to retaining the loyalty of the rural soldier by enhancing pay and honor (izzat) as warriors, but were inimical to the goal of creating an elite Sikh warrior community. Elite rivals of the Sikhs in the military labor market expressed a grudging acknowledgement of Sikhs’ prowess as soldiers, despite their criticism of such practices. Sikh chiefs strove to create ceremonies that would allow them to publically demonstrate solidarity with each other, since few individual chiefs had the resources necessary to defend themselves. Over time, such rituals created the illusion of Sikh unity, but also widened the gap between powerful commanders and peasant soldiers. The illusion of a cohesive Sikh power prompted many groups to seek alliances with them.  Read more...
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Details

All Authors / Contributors: Purnima Dhavan
ISBN: 9780199756551 9780199918881
Publication:When Sparrows Became Hawks : The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition, 1699-1799; Oxford University Press
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 5105586780
Awards:
Other Titles: Chapter 6

Abstract:

Warrior groups outside Panjab regarded the Sikh chiefs as upstart peasants addicted to predatory warfare, as distinct from the norms of honorable warfare. “Predatory” practices such as raiding and honor feuds were crucial to retaining the loyalty of the rural soldier by enhancing pay and honor (izzat) as warriors, but were inimical to the goal of creating an elite Sikh warrior community. Elite rivals of the Sikhs in the military labor market expressed a grudging acknowledgement of Sikhs’ prowess as soldiers, despite their criticism of such practices. Sikh chiefs strove to create ceremonies that would allow them to publically demonstrate solidarity with each other, since few individual chiefs had the resources necessary to defend themselves. Over time, such rituals created the illusion of Sikh unity, but also widened the gap between powerful commanders and peasant soldiers. The illusion of a cohesive Sikh power prompted many groups to seek alliances with them.

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