The Namdhari movement was founded by Baba Ram Singh in 1857 as one of the most influential and transitional socio-religious movements in Punjab. At the initial stage of the movement a set of rituals were modeled after Guru Gobind Singh’s founding of Khalsa. He used a recitation of Gurbani (hymns from the Granth Sahib), Ardas (the Sikh prayer), a flag and baptism for entry into the new community.
The Namdharis were required to wear the five symbols of Sikhism, with the only exception of the Kripan (sword). However, they were required to keep a Lathi (bamboos stave) with them.
The Namdharis abandoned the worship of gods, goddesses, idols, graves, tombs, trees, and snakes and also rejected popular saints along with the rituals conducted by Brahman priests. The authority of the hereditary custodians of the Sikh Gurdwaras (centres of worship) was also rejected by the Namdharis.
The Namdharis were told to abstain from drinking, stealing, adultery, falsehood, slandering, back-biting and cheating and consumption of beef was strictly forbidden. Protection of cattle was one of the most ardently held values of the Namdharis. The Namdharis considered the women equal to men and initiated them through baptism and allowed them to remarry when widowed. Dowries were rejected by the Namdharis and child marriage was also forbidden.
For the men, they laid emphasis on strength and martial qualities drawn from the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh. Namdhari vision of a restructured Sikhism called for a total reshaping of the Sikh community into a militant and religious-political dominion.