Sikhism is the youngest of the World Religions, barely 500 years old. It was founded by Siri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in 1469 who laid the basic principles of Sikhism. It offered the people a simple Sikh religion teaching "Oneness of God", whose name is TRUTH. Nine Gurus followed him who all reinforced and added to what was taught by the first Guru. After which in 1708, the holy book of the Sikhs, The Siri GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI was Proclaimed to be the only Guru by the last Guru, Siri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. This holy book embodies the philosophy and fundamentals of Sikhism. It is the only holy book of a major religion which was written and authenticated by its founders.
All the fundamentals of Sikhism emanate from the concept of love for God which follows the love of man. God is the Supreme being, Universal and all powerful. For a Sikh, all human beings are creatures of God and must be treated equally. One must work hard and share one's earnings with the less fortunate which had to be earned by righteous means. One must be always active in mind and body.
Siri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the last Guru gave the Sikhs a distinct Uniform and appearance so that they were easily recognized. So, in 1699 on the day of Vasakhi April 13, he assembled his Sikhs and baptized five beloved who were brave and obedient to his orders and called this brotherhood - The Khalsa. Also he gave them a new surname "SINGH" (Lion) to be added to their first names. He gave them the five symbols and five basic prayers. These saint - soldiers were devoted to mankind. The women were given equal status with men as the new brotherhood had no distinctions of caste, creed, color or sex. The women were to add "KAUR" (Princess) to their names and were to be always protected.
The five symbols are necessary for the strength and unity of the religion and also for the value each had. All Sikhs were to have Kesh or unshorn hair, a Kanga or the comb to keep this hair neat and clean, Kaccha or the underwear worn as a symbol of agility and readiness for action, Kirpan or sword which is an emblem of courage and adventure to be used for defensive purposes and lastly, Kara or the Steel bracelet to remind the Sikh of his bond to the God.
A Sikh is easily recognized by his beard (Uncut and untrimmed) and unshorn hair which he protects with a turban on his head. Sikhs are not allowed to wear caps and have to grow their hair to its natural lengths as it be going against the law of God and nature to cut them. Also it is a mark of Distinction for the Sikhs. The simple ideals of Sikhism and the history of fearless courage of the Sikhs has made the Khalsa proud and fearless even today. In fact, a Sikh has his feet firmly planted on the earth but his head is always towards god.