The Akaali Nihungs (also known as the Khalsa) are a mystical sect of warriors originating in north west India. Historical chronology states that they were first initiated by their Sikh Guru in 1699. But they themselves claim to be the reincarnations of various warrior traditions since the beginning of Time itself. According to their own oral history, since the first conception of light and darkness in the Universe, they have existed in one form or another to protect the light from darkness. The Sanskrit word ‘Akaali’ means ‘Immortal’, while the Persian word ‘Nihung’ means ‘Dragon’ and refers to the elite soldiers of the Indo Moghul era. The Moghul emperor, Aurangzeb, was a hardline Islamist and thought to be the richest man alive at the time. His army was considered superior and more sophisticated than any contemporary European force. Aureangzeb’s mission was to make India an Islamic state. The Akaali Nihungs were led by the popular Guru Gobind Singh, seen as guardian of freedom and tolerance. Though massively outnumbered, the Akaali Nihungs are generally accredited with playing a major role in the destruction of Moghul rule in northern India in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the British annexed the homeland of the Akaalis and incorporated many into their army, taming and modifying them. Those that refused were shot on sight, or had to regroup into smaller, inconspicuous numbers. The true Akaali Nihung refuses to accept any authority except that of the Khalsa hierarchy.
Akaali Nihungs wear mostly electric blue and arm themselves with as many weapons as possible. Their deity is the Female Divine, manifested in the form of a double edged sword. They call her ‘Bhagauti’. They never smoke and refuse to cut a single hair from their body. They wind their hair into an intricate turban, which acts as a crown, helmet and battle standard simultaneously. Each of them is to be the embodiment and culmination of saint, soldier and sovereign in the same person. They practise an ancient Indian martial art called Shastrvidya, said to be the oldest and origin of all martial arts. They rise early, anything from midnight to 3am to repeat mantras and meditate. Some of them claim never to sleep, and their use of opium and cannibis prolongs their state of awareness in meditation and martial arts. Every moment of their existence is seen by them to be a physical or mental battle of one form or another. Each of them sees himself as immortal and utterly invincible. Their meditation and psychedelic experiences condition them to be unaffected by physical and mental limitations. Fear and death do not exist in their psyche, they are only illusions. Their purpose in this world is to be the ‘order in the chaos’ and the ‘chaos in the order’. This simply means their duty is to restore Universal balance where there is imbalance; where there is fear and insecurity they bring security; where there is arrogance and disrespect they restore fear and respect.
Many modern day Akaali Nihungs do live up to the ferocious, uncompromising reputation of their forefathers, though many have been influenced by the materialism of the 21st century. Those Akaalis who remain true to the orthodox ways find themselves on the periphery of society, they are in this world but not of it.