Sikhs around 1900

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It was during the period 1875 to 1925, after the British had taken over Punjab that the first books in English regarding the Sikh first emerged. The British writers began to travel to this part north western India and came across the people of the Punjab. They began to understand the Sikhs and their unusual way of life. During this period, many books were written by the British about Sikhs, their culture, religion and history. This articles is about the comments made by these writers about the Sikhs during this initial phase of contact.

Below is a list of the first books in English printed before 1900:

  • History Of The Punjab And Of The Rise, Progress, amp Present Condition Of The Sect And Nation Of The Sikhs (vol II)... Author: Charles Marivale, Other info: History. English, 1846. 405 pgs.
  • The Sikhs And Afghans... Author: Shshmet Ali, Other info: History. English, 1849. 576 pgs.
  • A History of the Sikhs... Author: Joseph Daney Cunmingham, Other info: GEOGRAPHY. BIOGRAPHY. HISTORY. English, 1849. 461 pgs.
  • Second Sikh War in 1848 1849... Author: Joseph Tahckwell, Other info: GEOGRAPHY. BIOGRAPHY. HISTORY. English, 1851. 382 pgs.
  • Sikhs and Sikhs Wars... Author: Charles Gough, Other info: GEOGRAPHY. BIOGRAPHY. HISTORY. English, 1897. 318 pgs.
  • The Lieutenant Colonel John Haughton Commandant of the 36th Sikhs A hero of Tirah... Author: A C Yate, Other info: GEOGRAPHY. BIOGRAPHY. HISTORY. English, 1900. 254 pgs.
  • Sikhs... Author: John J H Gordon, Other info: GEOGRAPHY. BIOGRAPHY. HISTORY. English, 1904. 243 pgs.

Comments by writers

This is from the Preface in the book "Sikhs" by author John J H Gordon. This book was first printed in 1904.

No visitors at the celebration of the King’s Coronation in London received a heartier welcome than the soldiers of the many races and classes who so well represented the Indian Army. Our home people were able to see the quality of the men who compose it, while they themselves were enabled to form a clearer conception of Britain’s strength and resources and the character of her people.
  • They were supremely pleased at being present on such an auspicious occasion as the crowning of their King-Emperor, and carried away with them, and left behind them, feelings that should draw closer the ties which bind India and its people to the British Crown. Politically it was a practical gain for all.
  • Conspicuous among them were the Sikhs,
  • — tall, bearded, dignified-looking men, intelligent and keen observers,
    — whose soldierly bearing was the admiration of all who beheld them.
  • The name Sikh is reminiscent of very hard fighting against us fifty years ago, and of equally hard fighting for us on many a field since. Belonging to an exceptional as well as a fine martial race, more than ordinary interest is attached to them on account of their origin and religion. In the following pages I have given a short sketch of this warlike race, and of their rise through much tribulation to power as a nation, and transformation by the fortune of war into loyal and hearty subjects of the Great Queen Victoria.
  • In addition to personal notes made during many years’ service with Sikhs, I have drawn information from various old works relating to them by Malcolm, Cunningham, M’Gregor, Smyth, and others, and also from the History of the Punjab by Syad Muhammad Latif and Dr Trumpp’s Translation of the ‘Granth,’ the Sacred Book of the Sikhs.
John J H Gordon 1904