The Cherished Five in Sikh History

ISBN : 9780197532843

Louis E. Fenech
304 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2021
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On the 30th of March, 1699, the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh called together a special assembly at the Keshgarh Fort at Anandpur. Following the morning devotions, the Guru asked for a volunteer, saying, "The entire sangat is very dear to me; but is there a devoted Sikh who will give his head to me here and now? A need has arisen at this moment which calls for a head." One man arose and followed the Guru out of the room. When the Guru returned to the assembly with a bloodied sword, he asked for another volunteer. Another man followed. This was repeated three more times, until at last the Guru emerged with a clean sword and all five men alive and well. Those five volunteers would become the first disciples of the Khalsa, the martial community within the Sikh religion, and would come to be known as the Panj Piare, or the Cherished Five. Despite the centrality of this group to modern Sikhism, scholarship on the Panj Piare has remained sparse. Louis Fenech's new book examines the Khalsa and the role that the the Panj Piare have had in the development of the Sikh faith over the past three centuries.


Note on Orthography and Dating
Chapter One
Introduction: The Cherished Five, Guru Gobind Singh, and the Khalsa
Chapter Two
The Number and Names of the Much-Loved Five
Chapter Three
The Previous Lives of The Precious Five
Chapter Four
The Five Beloved in Mid to Late Eighteenth-Century Gur-bilas Literature
Chapter Five
The Five Adored in Early Nineteenth-Century Sikh Literature
Chapter Six
The Treasured Five Move into The Later Nineteenth Century
Chapter Seven
The Panj Piare and Place: Twentieth-Century Ruminations

About the author: 

Louis E. Fenech is Professor of History at the University of Northern Iowa. He is the author of several books, including The Sikh Zafar-namah of Guru Gobind Singh and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies.

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