The history of Sikhism is closely associated with the history of Punjab and the socio-political situation in medieval India. Sikh distinction was further enhanced by the establishment of the Khalsa (ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ), by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. Sikhism was created by Guru Nanak Dev, a religious leader and a social reformer during the fifteenth century in the Punjab region. The religious practice was formalized by Guru Gobind Singh on March 30, 1699. The latter baptised five persons from different social backgrounds to form Khalsa. The first five, Pure Ones, then baptized Gobind Singh into the Khalsa fold. This gives the Khalsa, as an organized grouping, a religious history of around 400 years.
Generally Sikhism has had amicable relations with other religions. However, during the Mughal rule of India (1556–1707), emerging religion had strained relation with the ruling Mughals. Prominent Sikh Gurus were martyred by Mughals for opposing some Mughal emperors' persecution of Sikhs and Hindus. Subsequently, Sikhism militarized to oppose Mughal hegemony. The emergence of the Sikh Confederacy under the misls and Sikh Empire under reign of the Maharajah Ranjit Singh was characterized by religious tolerance and pluralism with Christians, Muslims and Hindus in positions of power. The establishment of the Sikh Empire is commonly considered the zenith of Sikhism at political level, during this time the Sikh Empire came to include Kashmir, Ladakh, and Peshawar. Hari Singh Nalwa, the Commander-in-chief of the Sikh army along the North West Frontier, took the boundary of the Sikh Empire to the very mouth of the Khyber Pass. The Empire's secular administration integrated innovative military, economic and governmental reforms.
The months leading up to the partition of India in 1947, saw heavy conflict in the Punjab between Sikh and Muslims, which saw the effective religious migration of Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus from West Punjab which mirrored a similar religious migration of Punjabi Muslims in East Punjab.
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