A Sikh (/siːk, sɪk/; Punjabi: ਸਿੱਖ sikkh [sɪkkʰ]) is a follower of Sikhism, a monotheistic religion which originated during the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia.[13] The term “Sikh” has its origin in the Sanskrit words शिष्य (śiṣya; disciple, student) or शिक्ष (śikṣa; instruction).[14][15] A Sikh, according to Article I of the Sikh Rehat Maryada (the Sikh code of conduct), is “any human being who faithfully believes in One Immortal Being; ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh; Guru Granth Sahib; the teachings of the ten Gurus and the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru”.[16] “Sikh” properly refers to adherents of Sikhism as a religion, not an ethnic group. However, because Sikhism has seldom sought converts, most Sikhs share strong ethno-religious ties. Many countries, such as the U.K., therefore recognize Sikh as a designated ethnicity on their censuses.[17] The American non-profit organizationUnited Sikhs has fought to have Sikh included on the U.S. census as well, arguing that Sikhs “self-identify as an ‘ethnic minority'” and believe “that they are more than just a religion”.[18]
Male Sikhs usually have “Singh” (Lion), and female Sikhs have “Kaur” (princess) as their middle or last name. Sikhs who have undergone the khanḍe-kī-pahul (the Sikh initiation ceremony) may also be recognized by the five Ks: Keski A small turban (usually blue or orange to reflect the colors of sikhism) that protects long uncut hair (kesh) and the Dasam Duwar (“god head”); an iron or steel bracelet (kara); a kirpan (a sword tucked into a gatra strap); kachehra, a cotton undergarment, and kanga, a small wooden comb. Baptized male Sikhs must cover their hair with a turban, which is also compulsory for baptized female Sikhs.[citation needed] The greater Punjab region is the historic homeland of the Sikhs, although significant communities exist around the world.