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Summary of Question:12 Groups After Death Of 10Th Guru?
Category:Sikh History
Date Posted:Friday, 2/22/2002 4:54 PM MST

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa

Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Today I was reading an introduction to Sikhism on this site:

In the last paragraph, it says, "After Guru Gobind Singh's death, the Sikhs got divided into 12 groups". I don't understand this at all. Before leaving his mortal body, Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave the guruship to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

So my question is: if it is right, then what were/are these 12 groups? Because I have never heard of these groups before.
Hope to hear soon from you.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!
I asked a Punjabi Professor of Sikhism about this. First of all, 10th Guru INDEED gave the Guruship to Siri Guru Granth Sahib. SGGS was and remains the Sikhs' religious leader, so to speak.

He also left Sikh POLITICAL leadership in the hands of what's called the Barah Missl, or 12 Groups. Guru made these Misls sovereign; they took this to mean politically sovereign. These 12 were each under the leadership of one person, and each section or group tended to be mostly based on clan/caste/geography taken together. Politically these 12 fought each other for land and power all the time. But religiously, when there was ANY dispute, they laid down their weapons and met at Akal Takht and made accord at Akal Takht. In other words, their commonality was Akal Takht and Siri Guru Granth Sahib. ON this there was NO dispute.

These 12 fought and politicked until the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh overtook them all and made the unified the 12 Misls. His Misl is called Shukar Chakya, for it superseded all others. However, after Ranjit Singh's death, the unity he had fostered dissolved and the divisions within the Sikh community made it possible for the British to conquer Punjab by playing one group off the other.

Guru rakha,

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