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The Sikh religion has a following of over 20 million people worldwide and is one of the largest religions in the world. However, events such as the verbal and physical attacks on Sikhs just after September 11 indicated that Sikhs were being mistaken for Muslims, and suggests that the raising of sufficient and appropriate awareness about Sikhism still needs to be addressed. This book will introduce newcomers to the meaning of Sikhism, and its practices, rituals, and festivals. The key threads in the fascinating history of the religion will be highlighted, from the Gurus and the development of the Sikh look, to martyrdom and militarization in the 17th and 18th Centuries and the diaspora. Eleanor Nesbitt brings the subject completely up to date with an examination of gender and caste, referring to contemporary film, such as Bend It Like Beckham, and media reports. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.