Minas, Masands, Dhir Malias, Ram Raiyas.

Doctrines In the Sikh tradition the groups mentioned here all took on board the teachings of the Gurus and the Adi Granth for ulterior motives. (See entries on the Sikh Panth)

History The Minas were founded by Prithi Chand (1558-1618) eldest brother of Guru Arjan and son of Guru Ram Das. He desired to be chosen as the next Guru but his younger brother Arjan was appointed. This embittered Prithi Chand who tried to poison Hargobind, Arjan's only child. Prithi Chand set himself up as Guru in the absence of Arjan and Hargobind, and gained a following. These were called the Minas (dissenters, literally meaning 'unscrupulous scoundrels') by the Guru's real following. During the 17th century, due to their sympathies with the Mughal rulers, the Minas controlled Amritsar. Prithi Chand was succeeded by his son Miharban (1581-1640) who in turn was followed by Hariji who was able to keep Guru Tegh Bahadur from entering the city. During the 18th century the Minas faded away, and were included in the Panj Mel: the five dissenting groups that the Khalsa must reject. These are the Minas, Masands, Dhir Malias, Ram Raiyas and Kuri-mars (those who kill their daughters), or those that smoke tobacco.
The Masands (those who sit on a throne) were initially set up as representatives of the Guru whom Ram Das instituted to replace the Manjis (representatives) of Amar Das. This was mainly due to the expansion of the Sikh Panth. They collected money and other offerings made to the Guru. However by the time of the tenth Guru, Gobind, they became quite independent and corrupt and so were abolished.
The Dhir Malias were the followers of Dhir Mal (1627-1677), who was the eldest son of Gurditta, who in turn was the eldest son of Guru Hargobind. Dhir Mal, missing the Guruship ingratiated himself with the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. In 1643 he received a revenue-free grant and became a menace to Guru Hargobind by setting himself up as the next Guru, with an original copy of the Adi Granth in Kartarpur. He played a part in making Guru Tegh Bahadur withdraw to the Shivalik Hills.
Ram Raiyas were the followers of Ram Rai (1646-87), who was the elder son of Guru Har Rai. Ram Rai changed a word of the Adi Granth, from a hymn that was seen to be demeaning to Muslims at the court of the Emperor Aurangzeb. This pleased the emperor and displeased Har Rai who expelled him. Ram Rai then set up a dera (camp/shrine) in the Dun valley from the grant given to him by Aurangzeb.

Symbols None.

Adherents Minas and Masands are now largely extinct. Dhir Malias have descendants to this day (the Sodhis of Kartarpur), and there are Ram Raiyas in Dehra Dun. In the 1891 census 52,317 Hindus and 30,396 Sikhs returned themselves as 'Ram Raia' . (Census of India, 1891, Vol.XX and Vol.XXI, The Punjab and its Feudatories, by E.D. Maclagan, Part II and III, Calcutta, 1892, pp.826-9 and pp.572-3.) However there are no contemporary official numbers, (see also the note at the end of the Explanatory Introduction).

Main Centre
 The descendants of Dhir Mal claim to have a copy of the original Adi Granth held in Kartarpur, and there is a shrine there called Baba Dhir Mal. Ram Raiyas have their centre in Dehra Dun.