Date of Award

Winter 12-16-2022

Degree Type

Honors Thesis



Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Patrick Murphy


Generally, religion has served as a method of creating a unique identity and history for many groups across history. This concept is especially true for the Sikh community, to the point that they have carved their own niche across the different places they inhabit in the world, whether that be their homeland of Panjab or their extensive population in places like Canada or the United Kingdom. However, this expansion and development of their culture did not come without a cost, formed through countless battles, martyrdom, and revolutions. Chardi Kala, a foundational idea in Sikhi that refers to eternal optimism even in terms of adversity, shows why they are prepared to face severest torture and martyrdom willingly, a unique concept created by the religion (Singh 2002). This literature review examines the history and social factors that contributed to the aforementioned concept and others mentioned in Sikh philosophy. It will go through key moments in the Sikh timeline that will help to explain this distinct identity and how it has evolved into the current day. Additionally, it will help to illustrate the way that cultures can thrive even in the face of severe adversity, sometimes through the simple power of hope and trust in one’s faith.