It is commonly assumed that all Sikhs are the same, but the very existence of different groups who have varying beliefs and practices within the Sikh community shows that a corporate identity for the Sikh community is not possible and serves to alienate a substantial proportion of Sikhs from the overall fold of the Sikh faith. Introducing the beliefs and practices of a range of individual Sikh groups, this book addresses the issue of Sikh identity across the Sikh community as a whole but from the viewpoint of different types of Sikh.
Examining the historical development of Sikhism from the period of Guru Nanak to the present day, the author takes an in-depth look at five groups in the Sikh community - the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha; the Namdharis; the Ravidasis; the Valmikis; and the Sikh Dharma of the Western hemisphere (associated with the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization - 3HO).
Their history, beliefs and practices are explored, as well as their diverse and shared identities. Concluding that there is no authoritative yardstick with which to assess the issue of Sikh identity, the author highlights Sikhism's links to its Hindu past and suggests a federal Sikh identity with one or two fundamental beliefs at the core and individual groups left to express their own unique beliefs and practices.