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Life and Work of Guru Arjan$
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Pashaura Singh

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195679212

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679212.001.0001

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Situating the Guru in Indian History

Situating the Guru in Indian History

(p.14) 2 Situating the Guru in Indian History
Life and Work of Guru Arjan

Pashaura Singh

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Guru Arjan and his place in Indian history. It traces the historical origins of the Sikh tradition and looks at the social and political milieu of Guru Nanak's early life. It then moves on to discuss the historical setting of Guru Arjan's life, which encompassed the reign of two Mughal emperors, Akbar (r. 1556–1605) and Jahangir (r. 1605–1628). It constructs a brief outline of Guru Arjan's life, including the 25 years of his ministry during which he built the Darbar Sahib and compiled the first authoritative text of the Adi Granth. The growing strength of the Sikh Panth is first placed in context of the liberal policies of Emperor Akbar which sheltered the Guru and his followers for some time; and later with Jahangir, when it conflicted with Mughal authorities leading to the Emperor invoking the Yasa to impose the death penalty on Guru Arjan. The reconstruction of his life offers a chance to understand the dynamics of the history and culture of the Sikhs, as well as the rapidly changing religious and cultural landscape in Mughal India.

Keywords:   Guru Arjan, Guru Nanak, Akbar, Jahangir, Darbar Sahib, Adi Granth, Sikh Panth, Yasa

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