AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

The evolution of the “five Ks” within Sikh texts

by Parminder Singh Kairo

Institution: University of Birmingham
Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Year: 2015
Keywords: BL Religion
Record ID: 1405899
Full text PDF: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/5771/


The Sikhs belong to a heterogeneous community that incorporates diverse identities and religious practises. However, the identity based on the Khālsā Sikh that emerged at the end of the seventeenth century in Punjab is today represented as the ‘ideal’ Sikh form. The Khālsā Sikh identity requires the maintenance of distinct external symbols (known as the panj kakārs or Five Ks). This study seeks to challenge the established view that the Five Ks were first promulgated by the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh in 1699. It is argued that the convention of the Five Ks actually developed over three centuries and was finally crystallised during the nineteenth century Singh Sabha reform movement. To argue this, the research employs critical historiography to deconstruct texts and examine the cultural conditions that influenced the formulation of the Five Ks. Overall, this research provides valuable insights into the construction of Sikh identity within the Sikh Studies field.