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The article discusses the evolution of models of the Sikh territorial device. Five stages in the development of forms of territorial organization of the Sikh community, since its foundation in the 16th and to the fall of the Sikh Empire in the mid 19th are highlighted. The author defi nes distinctive features and characteristic traits for each stage. The factors making decisive impact on development of models of the territorial device are traced.

It is noted that at the first stage, the beginning – middle of the 16th century, there is the emergence of the fi rst local Sikh communities united by the institution of a joint meal of Langar and communal prayer of Kirtan.

At the second stage, the middle of the 16th century – 1699, Sikh territorial communities are formed based on Manji system which became not only religious, but also territorial and fi scal units. Religious centers were created; cities and fortresses crucial in the Sikhs’ struggle against the empire of Great Mongols were under construction.

At the third stage, 1699–1748, the cardinal transformation of the Sikh community took place. The Manji system was eliminated and the military fellowship of Khalsa was created. At this stage, the Sikhs developed the ideas associated with the state organization about the perfect territorial system of the Sikh community.

At the fourth stage, 1748–1799, military and territorial communities appeared – Misals. They transformed into independent principalities over time and establish control over the most part of Punjab.

The fifth stage, 1799–1849, represents the highest form of development of the territorial organization of Sikhs. At this time the independent Sikh state, rapidly developed from the territorial power to the regional empire, was created.

In new conditions, the Sikhs were united by means of two organizational forms – within the traditional religious communities of sangat, and administrative-territorial structures of the Sikh Empire.


Sikhs, Punjab, Khalsa, territorial organisation, Sarkar Khalsaji

Kirill A. Demichev

Nizhny Novgorod Institute of Management Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

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