Over 27 million Sikhs follow a revealed, distinct, and unique religion born five centuries ago in the Punjab region of northern India. Between 1469 and 1708, ten Gurus preached a simple message of truth, devotion to God, and universal equality.
Sikhism rejects idol worship, the caste system, ritualism, and asceticism. It recognizes equality between both genders and all religions, prohibits the intake of intoxicants, and encourages an honest, truthful living. Sikhs have their own Holy Scripture, The Guru Granth Sahib, written, composed, and compiled by the Sikh Gurus themselves. The Guru Granth Sahib Ji serves as the ultimate source of spiritual guidance for Sikhs.
Members of the Sikh community are mainly concentrated in their homeland, Punjab; however, substantial Sikh populations exist throughout the rest of India and the world.
Male members of the Sikh religion use the name, Singh (lion), as their middle or last name, while females use the name, Kaur (princess). Sikhs tend to be industrious and pioneering; this accounts for their general success wherever they live and settle. The hard-working nature of the Sikhs is derived from their religion, which can be best characterized as a faith of unlimited optimism.