His power was military aristocracy resting on the personal qualities of its founder, and after his death the Sikh confederacy gradually crumbled and fell to pieces through sheer want of leadership; and the rule of the Sikhs in the Punjab passed away completely as soon as it incurred the hostility of the British.
Of the total number of 2,195,339 Sikhs all but 64,352 are found in the Punjab, and two-thirds of the remainder are in the United Provinces and Kashmir which adjoin it.
This prophecy became the battle-cry of the Sikhs in the assault on Delhi in 18J7.
About two centuries afterwards, in the course of the struggle between the Sikhs and the Mahommedans, Ahmad Shah Durani routed the Sikhs at the great battle of Panipat, and on his homeward march he destroyed the town of Amritsar, blew up the temple with gunpowder, filled in the sacred tank with mud, and defiled the holy place by the slaughter of cows.
There may first be mentioned the zealots such as the Akalis, who, though generally quite illiterate, aim at observing the injunctions of Sikhism Guru Govind Singh; secondly, the true Sikhs or Singhs who observe his ordinances, such as the prohibi tions of cutting the hair and the use of tobacco; and, thirdly, those Sikhs who while professing devotion to the tenets of the gurus are almost indistinguishable from ordinary Hindus.
Both obey the general injunctions of the Sikh gurus, but the Sahijdhari Sikhs have not accepted the pahul or baptism of Guru Govind Singh, and do not wear the distinguishing habiliments of the Kesadhari, who are the baptized Sikhs, also called Singhs or lions.
Here, most brilliant sight of all, were the Imperial Service troops sent by the native princes of India; while the detachments of Sikhs who marched earlier in the procession received their full meed of admiration and applause.
After six years of peace the Sikhs invaded British territory in 1845, but were defeated in four battles, and terms were imposed upon them at Lahore, the capital of the Punjab.
Insurrections 957 and civil wars on the part of the Hindu tributary chiefs, Sikhs and Mahrattas, broke out.
Then came the mutiny, and Sikhs once more were recruited in numbers and saved India for the British crown.