The empire of the Mughals founded in the early years of the sixteenth century began to break up in the later years of the seventeenth century. The two persons who hastened its end were Shivaji and his Marathas in the Deccan and Guru Gobind Singh and his Sikhs in the north. Guru Gobind Singh's short career was not marked by any spectacular achievement in the field of battle. His chief contribution was to convert a pacifist, passive and fatalistic community of Punjabi Sikhs into a militant, aggressive and determined brotherhood of the Khalsa. It was he who gave Sikhism its five sacred symbols, including the unshorn hair and beard, and who made the Sikhs members of one casteless family-the Singhs. He was the chief propunder of the philosophy of Dharmayuddha - war for the sake of righteousness - to which he committed his four sons and all his following . Guru Gobind Singh was the last of the Sikhs' ten Gurus and one of the greatest poets of the Punjabi language. The qualities that distinguish the Sikhs of today can be traced back to the tradition started by Guru Gobind Singh.