Sahijdhari

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Apparently from 'sahij', 'easy, gently' so easygoing or conforming, as opposed to Kesdhari, the Sikhs who wear the kes, i. e. do not cut the hair at all, and refrain from smoking tobacco. Generally speaking the Keshadhari may be defined as followers of Guru Govind Singh while the Sahjdhari may be roughly equated with the NANAK-PANTHI or followers of Guru' Nanak. Recent movements in the Sikh fold have tended to "raise the status of the Kesdhari Sikhs, so much so that while formerly Kesdharis and Sahjdharis of the same caste inter-married without distinction, a Kesdhari will usually not give his daughter to a Sahjdhari now unless he takes the pahul, although - he does not mind marrying the daughter of a Sahjdhari. In other words, the Kes-dharis are beginning to establish themselves as a hypergamous group."'

On the other hand: "the relations of Sikh., whether Kesdharis or Sahjdharis, with Hindus pure and simple are so close that it is im-possible to draw a clear line of distinction. Even amongst the Keshadharis who are the followers of Guru' Gobind Singh a large number---e.g. the Manjha Jats in the Lahore and Amritsar Districts-allow boys to have their hair cut, up to about 15 years, when they take the pahul (receive initiation) and begin' to wear the kes, but all the time the boys are as good Sikhs as the parents. Then in one and the same family, one brother may be a Keshadhari, another a sahijdhari and the third while wearing .the kes may be a sarwaria who smokes the hukka. In numerous cases the father is a Kesdhdri, the son does not wear the kes and the grandson is again initiated and becomes a follower of the precepts of Guru' Gobind Singh in an office of the N.-W. Railway, there is an Arora calling himself a Kesdhari Sikh, who wears the kes but shaves his beard. His brothers are sahajdharis. There are several instances in which the wife of a Sahijdhari Sikh vows to make her first son a Kesadhari. The younger sons remain sahijdharis. A Keshadhari marries the daughter of a Sahijdhari and the daughters of Keshadharis marry sahijdharis. Indeed intermarriage between Keshdari and sahijdhari Sikhs and ordinary Hindus are still matters of everyday occurrence, although the modern movement has succeeded to a considerable extent in confining the followers of Guru Gobind Singh in a water-tight compartment, restricting intermarriage with non-keshadharis and enforcing the initiation on all male descendants of Keshadharis. But to this day, instances of Sahijdhari sons of Keshdhari fathers, particularly in the educated community, are fairly numerous.


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