The Rise of the Sikh Soldier

The Sikh Warrior Through the Ages, c.1700-1900

Gurinder Singh Mann

The book considers the rise of the Sikh Soldier from the eighteenth century through to Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Sikh Empire, the consideration of Sikh warfare during the Anglo Sikh Wars leading to the employment of the Sikhs into the British Indian Army.
Date Published :
June 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Musket to Maxim 1815-1914
Illustration :
15 color & 32 b/w illustrations, 16 color & 22 b/w photos, 10 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781915070524
Pages : 290
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


The might and military prowess of the Sikhs has been recorded in the annals of history but what actually constitutes this development has seldom been understood or discussed in a meaningful context. This book considers the rise of military methods from the time of the Gurus, and what the tenth preceptor Guru Gobind Singh was trying to achieve with the formation of the Khalsa, or fraternity of the pure. The development of saint soldiers during the testing time of the Misl, or Confederacy period, considers the role of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and Charat Singh Sukerchakia. The author also looks at the formation of the Sikh Empire in the nineteenth century, and considers the role of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, and his notorious warriors Akali Phula Singh and Hari Singh Nalwa. Underrepresented female warriors, such as Sahib Kaur and Sada Kaur, are also given coverage to reflect their important, but largely forgotten, part in Sikh history.

During the reign of Maharajah Ranjit Singh there was a deliberate change in military methods of the Sikhs. The movement from the predominant favoring of cavalry to the Europeanization of the Sikh Army is examined. The Anglo Sikh Wars of 1845-1846 and 1848-1849 are given consideration in terms of the military tactics used by opposing armies, along with a brief examination of the major battles and the course of the war. After the Anglo-Sikh Wars the Sikhs became an important part of the British military forces in the Indian Empire, and the deployment of Sikhs in campaigns during the time of the British Indian Army, many outside of the subcontinent, is also considered.

The book is supplemented with maps of battles, and illustrated with rare military images, relics, and artifacts, together with the appendices citing important documents and letters.

About The Author

Gurinder Singh Mann is Director of the Sikh Museum Initiative. He is a Leicester born Sikh Scholar and historian. He holds an MA in South Asian Religions from De Montfort University, Leicester (2001). He is co-author of two books on the Sikh martial scripture: entitled: Sri Dasam Granth: Questions and Answers, (Archimedes Press, 2011) and the Oxford University Press published: The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh: Essays, Lectures and Translations (2015).

He is also co-convenor of the International Sikh Research Conference (ISRC) which takes place at the University of Warwick every year. Gurinder has researched and discovered many Sikh artefacts and relics as well as delivering lectures across the world for 20 years. He has appeared on radio and TV, including the BBC, ITV and other channels giving his views on heritage issues as well as theological matters.

He set up the Sikh Museum Initiative to research the numerous Sikh relics and artefacts in the UK. The initiative has already made headway by utilising new technologies including 3d modelling and augmented reality to showcase and preserve Sikh heritage. He curated the exhibition Anglo Sikh Wars: Battles, Treaties and Relics (2017) to great acclaim which took place at Newarke Houses Museum, Leicester.


“[A]nother good volume in the series… This history of Sikh warriors offers very dense prose, cramming a considerable amount of information within its pages.”


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