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Population of Sikhs at the Time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by kds1980, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Today I was reading a topic on another site and I was surprised That population of sikhs at the time of maharaja Ranjit singh was around 8-10 million and after that it was reduced to just 10-20% of original population
    Then I searched net and found 2 very good sites on this
    http://www.advancedcentrepunjabi.org/eos/POPULATION.html
    No census was taken during those days and no exact or near exact figures can be computed from any sources of information available today, but a general estimate has come down the generations that Sikh population in what then constituted Raṇjīt Siṅgh's Punjab was around ten million. But with the fall of the Sikh Kingdom in 1849, there set in a rapid decline in the numerical strengh of the community. As the Punjab Administration Report for the year 1851-52 issued by the British noted:

    The Sikh faith and ecclesiastical polity is rapidly going where the Sikh political ascendancy has already gone. Of the two elements in the old Khalsa, namely, the followers of Nanuck, the first prophet, and the followers of Guru Govind Singh, the second great religious leader, the former will hold their ground, and the latter will lose it. The Sikhs of Nanuck, a comparatively small body of peaceful habits and old family, will perhaps cling to the faith of their fathers; but the Sikhs of Govind who are of more recent origin, who are more specially styled the Singhs or "lions", and who embraced the faith as being the religion of warfare and conquest, no longer regard the Khalsa now that the prestige has departed from it.

    These men joined in thousands, and they now desert in equal numbers. They rejoin the ranks of Hinduism whence they originally came, and they bring up their children as Hindus....



    The first demographical survey in Punjab was carried out as on the night intervening between 31 December 1854 and 1 January 1955. Detail of Sikh population was recorded only in respect of the Lahore division, "which contains the Mājhā or the original home of the Sikhs" and there they were found to be only about 200,000 in an aggregate population of about three million. Referring to this fact, the Punjab Administration Report for the year 1955-56 commented:

    This circumstance strongly corroborates what is commonly believed, namely that the Sikh tribe is losing numbers rapidly. Modern Sikhism was little more than a political association (formed exclusively from among Hindus), which men would join or quit according to the circumstances of the day... Now that the Sikh commonwealth is broken up, people cease to be initiated into Sikhism and revert to Hindooism. Such is the undoubted explanation of a statistical fact, which might otherwise appear to be hardly credible.



    Besides large scale reversion into the Hindu fold, Christian proselytization, with overt government aid and encouragement, was also making inroads, especially among the backward classes. In the enumeration made in the Punjab including the cis-Sutlej princely states in 1868, Sikhs numbered only 1,141,848. In the first regular census of 1881, the Sikh figure stood at 1,853,426. Thereafter, the decennial censuses reflected a steady increase in Sikh population. This upward trend was largely the result of the Siṅgh Sabhā reform movement launched in 1873. The figures are :

    The other I found i an e-book written by william owen

    The Sikhs: their religious beliefs ... - Google Books

    Its surprising how people shunned sikhism when empire of maharaja declined
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Kanwardeep Singh ji

    What is really fascinating in this article is the idea that there were Sikhs of Nanak and Sikhs of Govind. This is the same as the idea today of the Sikhs of the Temple and the Sikhs of the Sword. How were there 2 different groups of Sikhs?
     
  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Narayanjot Ji
    imho..Sikhs of Nanak-Guru teg bahadur Ji... are those who cant/wont keep Kesh....they like to call themselves the "clean shaven sikhs..modern sikhs !! or sehajdharees..
    The other group is of course the Khalsa Amrtidharees, and the Keshdharees...Guru Gobind Singh ji..
    1. During Turbulent Times..just like the Huge "armies" of the Muslims were composed of what is referred to as Mulkhaiyah..ordinary civilians following along for the loot/pillaging..
    so were the huge follwoing of Baba Banda Singh. The Victor will always get the larger following..who wants to follow a loser.
    2. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh came to power..HE had lots of Hindus and Mulsims in hsi administration..and of course many people just became instant sikhs to take advantage of Sikh rule...the Dogras are a prime example..they rose to high posts and were the First TRAITORS when it became clear the Maharaja was dead and the British were the next rulers.. then there was an EXODUS..of these to leave sikhism...and revert back..
    Imho such behaviour is natural and happens to all..at the peak of its power the British Empire was the Driving Force behind Christianity spreading..similarly Islam spread by force through its rulers...only difference being the Maharaja ranjit Singh didnt use any force or even active persuasion to convert.
    3. The Malaysian experience..in the early parts of 20th century..the British and Malayan Govts would ONLY recruit SIKHS..and also Muslims such as Pathans and Gurkhas for the army, police force etc. These were the so called Martial Races...thus the HINDU had no chance even if he was PUNJABI...so many PUNJABI HINDUS...Brahmins Banniahs etc Converted to SIKHISM, had full Keshas and dastaars etc to JOIN the Army, Police. Some remained sikh..mnay reverted abck at the earliest opportunity becasue the conversion to sikhi was for a certain purpose only. MY village in Punjab had four such Brahmins who came to malaya to join the Police and they became Sikhs..two families are still sikh..two became Hindus when they no longer needed Govt Jobs..
     
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  5. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Here is what is written in book of william owen
     

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  6. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Mahraja Ranjit singh was quite Hinduised and there was hardly any case of forced conversions by sikhs.What incentive Maharaja was giving to these people? May be there was just a mass hysteria of becoming sikh at that time and later on they just reverted back
     
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  7. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave many times more GOLD to Hindu mandirs than he ever gave to Harmandir Sahib...
    He also built more mosques than any muslim governor..
    He had many many more HINDUS?muslims in his top Cabinet...his PM was a Hindu dogra Dhian Singh, His Top Commanders were dogra brothers laal singh Teja Singh (Both of whom turned traitor during the anglosikh wars later on)..His Finance Minister was Fakir Azizuddin..the SIKHS were at the FRONTIERS FIGHTING Battles..Hari Singh nalwa..in Peshawar..and Akali Phula Singh in Multan..Sham Singh Atari etc were all out of Lahore most of the time..and kept out through consiparcy.
    There NEVER was any Forced or even MILD persuasion to convert..and neither is there at any period of Sikh history.No incentives of any kind either...just military service that can lead to death on the battle field...
     
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  8. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    But still sikhism Spread Like wildfire at his time.

    Just to add My ancestors too converted it at that time.I asked this question to one of my family elder when I was in teens
     
  9. spnadmin

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    I am just in awe of the readings and the conversation. So interesting. So many puzzles. So much that is new to me. And really, it was not that long ago.
     
  10. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Narayanjot Ji,
    Many of these people who served in the Khalsa armies were still alive..and their immediate descendants still can be found in some villages as old men..till not long ago..
    When the young Karam Singh Historian began his task of researching sikh/Punjab history fo teh Maharaja Ranjit Singh Era, several of these old timers were alive and he interviewd a few...and tons of Court documents diaries etc were being kept by ordinary people and then being sold as junk to the junkyards for recycling (called arddee - rubbish) as no one appreciated such papers...so much of valuable docs just lost this way...SIKH wealthy and Sikh Royals are notorious for not caring about such...no Royal kept any library or museum etc..thye were into collecting jewels and gold ornaments..BUT not Paper "jewels"...
     
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  11. badshah

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    Does anyone know what the population of Sikhs in the Sikh empire was?

    Does anyone know what the population of SIkhs in the Sikh empre was and how is it that we were able to have an EMpire in the first place when in 1947 we turned out to be a minority at partition time?

    Between end of SIkh Empire and 1947 did we see a decline in our population that we end up being a minority?

    WHat happened?

    Thanks
     
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  12. Chaan Pardesi

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    Re: Does anyone know what the population of Sikhs in the Sikh empire was?

    The Sikh rule came about by defeating the Moghul empire and the invaders from Afghanistan.The Sikhs had mastered the art of fighting,with small numbers[ and very mobile force] against a larger army; whereby they would hit the enemy at its weakest point and "withdraw", often with a secondary plan in place.As the Sikhs withdraw they would give the impresion they are running off, and draw the the enemy to chase, but a second group would then lie in wait and strike at the enemy when they least expected it and causing not only chaos but trimming the enemy confidence to the barest, whereby the enemy had no option but to retreat with much loss,while by now the main body of Sikhs would have reached the safety of their defences.The second group would continue to harrass the enemy and repeat all over their strategy, with fresh Sikh fighters pouring in from their hideouts- the jungles of lakhi, hills of jammu, deserts of rajasthan and the hills of eastern Punjab,after they had rested and starting again at some other point, when the enemy least expected it.At his last invasion,Ahmad Shah Abdali was so exhausted by the Sikh strategy, that he did not stop in his flight till he reached Kabul or returned to the Punjab ever again;but he predicted that the Sikhs will take over the country.This is definitely the first known record of guerrilla warefare in the world.As the Sikh bands increased their power and numbers they began to establish their own little kingdom confederacies, later became to be known as Misls.These misls then rose to become more powerful than each other and Ranjit Singh, having wrested Lahore from the muslims united the Sikhs and established the first total Punjab Sikh rule.

    Statistics and studies from Sikh history of that say that the Sikh Population during the reign of Sikh rule had reached an amazing 10,000,000 ;as many clamoured to seek patronage and favours of the Sikh rule.But what the Sikh rule did not impose was favoritism of any religion, nor the bol bala [patronage ]of Sikhism alone.

    As the Sikh rule fell and was lost, the numbers of Sikhs reduced dramatically,as being a Sikh was no longer seen a neccesity or need for.Majority of those that came from hindu went back being hindus and those from muslim back ground fell back into their faith.The british however, seeing the heroics of the Sikhs and their faith in the Five Kakaars kept the flame going by encouraging Sikhs to be initiated in the army and keeping their khalsa appearance.Also, by then Christian missionaries, Arya samajists and other hindu fanatical fringe groups and the muslims anjumans were trying to garner converts from others had some serious effects upon the Sikhs.The turning tide for Sikhs came when four Sikhs from Ludhiana declared to become christians.An uproar broke out, the four never converted and the Singh sabha lehar came about.It effectively converted thousands of undecided half baked Sikhs like so called sehajdharis.., hindus and thousands of muslims too back to Sikhism.

    The population of kesadhari Sikhs had decreased to about 2,500,000 by about 1880s.But then the Sikh sabha Lehar had tremendous impact upon the people where large numbers converted to Sikhism and by 1947, the Sikh population had increased to about 6,500,000, forming 13% of the population of undivided Punjab.The muslims were 52 %.The Sikhs with Hindus formed the rest at about 47- 48%.The Sikh religion increased at it most during this period and its increase was the largest of all other religions.If I recall correctly it increased by about 35% in that period.

    The Sikhs formed a majority in only one district- Ludhiana. The muslims were in over whelming majority in the districts west of Satluj.The hindus were in the main in the South western districts.The Sikhs were largely centred in the central districts around Ludhiana and the East Punjab Sikhs states or PEPSU.

    By right, the district of Amritsar was to go to Pakistan.But Master Tara Singh and his band rose to challenge that and the South eastern Ferozepore.

    While in Pakistan Sikhs were not prepared to vacate Bahawalpur and Sheikupura, where they had gathered in their hundereds of thousands and were prepared to fight.Most of these being ex service men did posse a real danger to the completion of Pakistan.


    I have been busy, and when free will write to explain in detail.But please do not hesitate to ask any further if you need.
     
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  13. spnadmin

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    Re: Does anyone know what the population of Sikhs in the Sikh empire was?

    I am almost 100 percent positive that there is a thread on this at SPN. If memory serves correctly it was posted by Kanwardeep Singh. Later on I will check.
     
  14. spnadmin

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    Re: Does anyone know what the population of Sikhs in the Sikh empire was?

    Ok Here it is and it was a thread started by Kanwardeep Singh ji.

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/histo...ulation-sikhs-time-maharaja-ranjit-singh.html

    Do take care to check to see if a thread on a topic has already been posted. Google ranks are affected by duplicating topics. It can also be considered spamming.

    Thanks.

    And I am now going to merge the two threads. spnadmin
     

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