American Turban

New blog: “Pictures of Sikhs Wearing Things”

Sikhs, especially in the west, often face discrimination and disaccommodation based on their articles of faith.  The maintaining by Sikhs of their turban, uncut hair and kirpan (sword) have constantly been of issue in many settings. As a result, followers of this religion have made significant efforts (particularly after 9/11) to educate their greater communities about the traditional Sikh identity. 

However, within this identity (and outside of it), Sikhs present themselves in many different, stylish ways.  Pictures of Sikhs Wearing Things (actually a tumblr page) is an intriguing new site that presents Sikhs in a very different way:

inspired by the “muslims wearing things” tumblr. this is dedicated to showing a multiplicity of sikh styles in order to repudiate the notion of a single sikh identity.

I love the fact that Sikhs from all walks of life are featured here.  As pictures speak a thousand words, the photos on the website stand on their own (aside from short captions describing the picture).  Each photo is compelling, but the collection of all these photos makes the website more so. It reinforces the idea that a person can be a Sikh and still engage fully in the life of their choosing. My favorite picture thus far is of pianist Dr. Lonnie Smith:

"New York based organist and pianist Dr. Lonnie Smith (b. 1942), who converted into Sikhism in the mid 1970s. Here, Lonnie rocks the piano while sporting a matching navy blue turban and silk kurta, with his kara, necklace, and bracelets on his right arm."

"New York based organist and pianist Dr. Lonnie Smith (b. 1942), who converted into Sikhism in the mid 1970s. Here, Lonnie rocks the piano while sporting a matching navy blue turban and silk kurta, with his kara, necklace, and bracelets on his right arm." (http://sikhswearingthings.tumblr.com, flickr user: jlil)

This is a great website that I’ll be following with interest.

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One comment

  1. Bk

    Inspiring article. I am a Sikh residing in USA and have always respected people who maintain their Sikh identity no matter which part of the world they are in.

    Just wanted to note that I met Mr. Lonnie Smith yesterday night at his Jazz show in New Orleans. I was curious and asked if he was a Sikh. He said he is not a Sikh, however has known many and has been inspired by the culture. He has been wearing a turban since his childhood and so continues to maintain his individuality.

    So the point here is, that if one chooses to be himself and follow his or her faith, he doesn’t have to change for the world and to be accepted. The turban is our pride and this is what we choose as our identity, and we take pride in expression of who we are – a believer, a learner, a SIKH.

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