Explained:Who are Nihangs?

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News:In Punjab, a group of Nihangs attacked a police personnel in the wake of lockdown due to Coronavirus pandemic.

Facts:

  • Nihang:It is an order of Sikh warriors characterised by blue robes, antiquated arms and decorated turbans.
  • Origin:They are believed to have originated either from Akali Dal started by Guru Hargobind or from Fateh Singh and the attire he wore.
  • Significance: They had a major role in defending the Sikh panth after the fall of the first Sikh rule(1710-15) when Mughals were killing Sikhs and during the onslaught of Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Durrani (1748-65).

Additional Facts:

Sikh Reform Movements:

  • Singh Sabha movement: It began in 1873 in Amritsar with the aim a) to make available modern education to Sikhs and b) to counter the proselytising activities of Christians, Hindu reform movements and Muslim maulvis.
  • Akali movement: It was a campaign which began during the early 1920s to liberate Sikh gurdwaras from the control of the Udasi Mahants (the post having become hereditary) who were loyalists to the British Government.