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Sikh political party in India. The term Akali was first applied to suicide squads that appeared in the Sikh armies c. 1690 in response to Mughal persecution. The Akali name was revived in the 1920s during the gurdwara reform movement to refer to a semimilitary corps of volunteers opposed to British rule. Akalis took the lead in agitation for a Punjabi-speaking Sikh-majority state, a goal achieved in 1966 with the establishment of the Indian state of Punjab. The modern Akali Party participates in national elections but is mainly concerned with the status of the Sikhs in Punjab.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Akali Party, visit Britannica.com.
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