Manvir Vohra teaches world religions at seminaries in northern India and trains pastors and leaders in Punjab and other areas of North India. He also led the team that authored the first New Testament dictionary in the Punjabi language.

A History of the Sikhs, Vol. 1 (1469–1839), by Khushwant Singh

In A History of the Sikhs, Vol. 1, the firebrand writer, lawyer, diplomat, journalist, and politician Khushwant Singh presents a well-researched work about the origins and early history of the faith. Written in easy-to-understand language, this book is of immense value for its non-hagiographic and pragmatic approach.

The book’s early chapters address the religious, cultural, and political environment of India and include a discussion of the ten gurus who founded and developed the faith. Then Singh recounts the main developments of the religion, dedicating chapters to important characters in Sikh history like the warrior Banda Bahadur. The book investigates the early organization of the Sikhs into loosely organized armed units, their skirmishes with political powers and invaders of Punjab and North India, and the formation of the first Sikh empire under the leadership of Ranjit Singh.

This particular volume serves as a great introduction for readers who want to learn about the Sikh religion and its development. It recounts the initial period of the origins of the faith, its transformation from a purely devotional religion to one that also bears arms, and its ascendancy into a kingdom under an able leader.

A History of the Sikhs, Vol. 2 (1839–2004), by Khushwant Singh

Singh’s second volume opens with the death of Ranjit Singh and the beginning of the Anglo-Sikh wars. It goes on to discuss the struggles faced by the community in preserving its identity in the colonial period. The author offers a Sikh perspective of World Wars I and II, India’s independence from the British, and the country's partition.

Overall, this volume presents an account of the development of Sikh ideas up to recent times. It is a great resource for anyone interested in the historical development of the Sikh faith and the many contemporary issues that the Sikh diaspora faces.

Exploring Sikhism: Aspects of Sikh Identity, Culture and Thought, by W. H. McLeod

Exploring Sikhism is just one of the many significant contributions made by W. H. McLeod toward understanding the historical, religious, cultural, and political influences that gave birth to Sikhism and helped shape it into what it is today. His work ought to be studied beyond just the current volume.

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McLeod’s overall contributions in bringing Sikhism to a Western audience have not only inspired other scholars to attempt to explain the origins of this unique religion but unfortunately also have generated criticism and opposition from within the Sikh community.

McLeod asks pertinent questions about the inspirations of Sikhism’s founder, Guru Nanak, while attempting to provide reasonable answers for those questions as well. He dismantles the common thought of seeing Sikhism as a mixture of Hinduism and Islam and instead proposes that Nanak’s mission is an offshoot of the Sant tradition of North India. (The Sant tradition was an ongoing widespread revivalist and reformist religious movement that included important members like poet Sant Kabir.)

McLeod convincingly defends Sikhism from the assumption of willful syncretism between Hinduism and Islam and tries to establish its foundations inside the Sant tradition. To someone interested in the origins and claims of Sikhism, these observations enrich one’s understanding of the faith, although a section of Sikh scholarship has met McLeod with a trenchant response.

The Christian Witness of Sadhu Sundar Singh: A Collection of His Writings, edited by T. Dayanandan Francis

When it comes to Christian outreach to the Sikhs, the great Indian saint Sadhu Sundar Singh should to be mentioned. Known as “the apostle with the bleeding feet,” Singh’s life and missionary expeditions have had a great impact on those who have either heard him preach or read his writing.

Born in a Sikh family in Punjab during the late 19th century, Singh was raised by a religious mother in an Indian context. He encountered Jesus at the age of 15 and grew up to become a Christian sadhu (an ascetic holy man) who went around preaching Christ. His life, teachings, and ministry are still an inspiration for many. Instead of falling into the mold of Western Christianity, Sundar adopted a very traditional Indian approach to the gospel.

This book is a collection of his writings. It starts with an introduction about the life and conversion of the sadhu. The first section contains short devotional books that were written by by him in English and Urdu. These books were translated into 40 languages and have had a wide impact around the world. There is also a chapter on his sermons and sayings, which he delivered during his various travels around the world.

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It is a must-read for those who are ministering amongst the Sikhs.

The Pastors of Punjab,” article by Sunil Menon and Anilesh S. Mahajan

In November 2022, India Today published a cover story on the surge of Pentecostal preachers in the state of Punjab. The majority of these pastors come from Sikh backgrounds and started an indigenous movement.

Not only do these pastors hail from a variety of caste backgrounds in Punjab, they also include many high-caste Sikhs and Hindus. This counters the idea that Christian evangelism in India is a surreptitious agenda of the West to interfere in India’s affairs by influencing the underprivileged low castes. While it is undeniable that some of the more well-known Punjab pastors take on the style of Western evangelists, it’s also true that many of the pastors with smaller profiles are developing an indigenous expression of their newfound Christian faith.

Because of the lack of well-researched material about the recent “Christ-ward” movements among Sikhs, this article stands out. The highlight of the article is the statement of a preacher who said that Sikhism taught him about the existence of God, but the Bible showed him how to find God.