‘Nang’ literally means ‘naked’
in the Punjabi language. Nang is a derogatory term that refers to
the negative element amongst the Akali Nihangs, but is also used
as a term for those individuals who are Nihang Singhs by appearance
but are not by action.
Many ‘Nangs’ are such people who having
no home or place and end up joining the Nihang Dals (army) so as
to find food and shelter. The laws within the Akali Nihang Dals
mean that anyone in need cannot be turned away empty-handed.
Individuals adopting Nihang dress and staying with
the Nihang Dals as part of the Vaheer (encampment) performing menial
tasks in turn for food and shelter are termed ‘Nang’.
In time, having no real love for Nihang traditions, on finding a
easier way of self-sustenance usually drift out of the Dals and
are never to be seen again.
Some Nangs, relying on the ancient fierce reputation
of the Nihangs may, outside the Dals, in order to sustain themselves
turn to criminal activities such as murder, raping, theft, etc.
In the past when the Akali Nihangs were not restrained by any civil
laws, the Dals could deal with these criminals as they wished, even
to the extreme of executing them.