This study attempts to locate the genesis of the present-day Sikh ethno-regional movement within the realm of history. In the 1980s the Sikh movement for sovereignty was not a sudden development. This next two chapters look into the deep social and historical roots linked to the growth of contemporary Sikh self-consciousness. This chapter begins with the period of inception of Sikh religion and continues until the collapse of British rule in Punjab. The chapter is broadly divided into three sections. The first section comprises two parts. The first part deals with the evolution of early Sikh tradition (1469-1708), and the second part examines the consolidation of Sikh political power (1708-1849). The second section explores the growth of Sikh communal consciousness during the colonial period (1849-1947). Chapter 1 showed that the social and political changes generated by the British Raj sparked a series of religious reform movements. It was further argued that the exponents of these socio-religious reform movements successfully created a dominant version of Indian nationalism cast in the idiom of the majority Hindu religion. In the final section of this chapter these arguments will be carried forward to examine how this historic development dramatically altered the quality and incidence of relations during the last third of the nineteenth century in Punjab. The aim is to situate the growth of Sikh identity, community and organization within the context of the historic and social forces prevailing during each period of this study. Such an analysis will primarily be concerned with social change and different forms of consciousness.
Sikhism has evolved through the succession of ten masters. Sikh tradition informs us that the ten masters are to be regarded as ten manifestations of the same spirit, rather than a succession of mystics. However, a major influence on the development of Sikhism was the interaction between the Sikhs and the Mogul empire. Babur, the first Mogul emperor, ascended the