American Turban

Reader: Sikhs should abolish the turban

Painting of Guru Gobind Singh and attendants, circa 1800 (source: sikhmuseum.com)

Painting of Guru Gobind Singh and attendants, circa 1800 (source: sikhmuseum.com)

A reader writes:

SSakal – The question of the turban as an identification mark of a Singh/Sikh is the key. Guru Gobind Singh created Khalsa and gave them 5 ritual markings to carry as an identification:
K – Kes (long hair)
K – Kanga (comb)
K – Karah (bangle)
K – Kashera (underwear)
K – Kirpan (dagger)
Here lies the Truth. The Guru has never dictated, advocated or commanded His followers to wear a sixth article:
T – Turban
D – Dastar
P – Pug
The Singh’s identity was honored by 5 articles of faith, not Six, Seven or Three or Four.

The turban has to be abolished and removed as an identification mark of the Singh, till then the hatred, the persecution, the discrimination and prejudice will continue forever and ever more. We are not greater than the Guru nor should we dictate or command the sikh community to wear the Turban.

I follow Truth and the Truth is the Truth, you need to learn the Truth like so many other millions caught in the same trap.

Religious observance is often very subjective and personal. There are those who believe that one of the five articles of faith that the reader mentions above, kes or uncut hair, actually refers to keski, or a type of small turban. Many followers of the Sikh faith therefore maintain this style of turban on both men and women based in this interpretation, which would contradict the assertion made by the reader that the turban is not a mandated article of the Sikh faith.

If we turn to historical evidence, we would find that the reader’s claims are invalid. I must take issue and disagree with two main points presented above.

First, it is historically incorrect that the Guru never instructed Sikhs to wear the turban. In fact, it is quite the opposite: the instruction to wear a turban (referred to as dastaar) was provided by the tenth Guru (and last in human form) of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh at the turn of the 18th century. This instruction and others related to turbans are recorded in historical hukamnamas (edicts) that he delivered to congregations. Quick research online would provide these references (see this sample of translated edicts, and another 52 of his edicts here). This evidence is consistent with centuries of tradition around the turban. To somehow discount both aspects would make it appear that the reader him/herself is attempting to “dictate or command the Sikh community” in a manner greater than the Guru.

Second, there is no guarantee that removing the turban would spare Sikhs persecution or discrimination, particularly if we maintain the other articles of faith that the reader lists. A simple survey of other religious and visible minorities who do not wear a turban would likely demonstrate that this is the case.

A must-read opinion piece written by Rajdeep Singh, Director of Law and Policy at the Sikh Coalition, was printed today in the Washington Post  and discusses the belief that Sikhs should discard their turbans so as to look more “American” :

A related problem is the “when in Rome” argument – that Sikhs should shed their turbans and beards and begin dressing like “Americans.” The challenge here is to define an “American.” Sikhs have lived in the United States for more than a century. Many of us were born here. Apart from Native Americans, this country is composed of people whose forbears came here—or were brought here—relatively recently from somewhere else. Is there then an objectively “American” way of expressing religiosity?

The notion that Sikhs are more different or less American, on account of their turbans, is a non-starter.

It is up to an individual to decide how they wish to practice the faith they choose, but in doing so, any attempt to misrepresent the faith in order to justify practice is disingenuous.

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8 comments

  1. The Guru's True Gurmukh

    In Reply:

    Well, you have obviously failed to understand the Truth and wish to follow the twisted lies of your belief, making it out to be the Guru’s Truth.

    The edicts (1708) were not part of the creation of Amrit / Khalsa (1699), otherwise the Guru would have mentioned that in the edicts. The edicts are disputed to be written by someone, other than the Guru:
    http://www.sikhnet.com/discussion/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1634&start=50

    So, I will force you to go back to the time when Amrit was created and maybe then you will concede.

    Amrit was created in 1699 and the claim is that the Guru made the 5 Pyaares with this Amrit and installed the Singh, not the Sikh.

    The ceremony was such:
    1. The Guru made the Amrit with prayers, as he was Guru, pure and clean of sin.
    2. He gave that to the 5 Pyaares, after they offered their heads to him.
    3. The 5 Pyaares then gave the Guru the same Amrit to make him one of them. So, Gobind Rai a Hindu become Singh.
    4. The Guru bestowed the 5 Kaakers which I stated. Your assertion that one of them can be interrupted as a ‘keski’ is just another one of “your greater than Guru thoughts” that it was a small turban.

    If ‘kes’ meant ‘keski’ than the Guru had not demanded long hair, only a turban. Dont imply that kes & keski are one, they are not, they are two separate words. The Guru demanded ‘kes’ so long hair it is for me, you carry on believing & spreading your damned lies.

    Now lets go on a few years. In 1705. Three (3) Pyaares got killed this year, Sahib Singh, Mokkam Singh and Himmat Singh. The other two (2), Daya Singh & Dharam Singh continued to live till 1708 when all lost their lives.

    The question all Singhs and Sikhs should ask themselves is, if three (3) Pyaares got killed in 1705 and the Guru was alive with two (2) Pyaares till 1708, why didn’t Guru Gobind Singh make Amrit again and re-create three more new Pyaares?????????. Yes, here lies the Truth, The Guru knew he could not make Amrit Again.

    The Guru couldnt make Amrit again, it was impossible to make it again !!!!

    5. The Guru then installed the SGGS in 1708 before his death, as the final Guru.

    So, here we are today in 2012. The Amrit is today made by 5 Pyaares not the Guru Granth Sahib. Only a Guru can make Amrit, no one else.

    We have made the 5 Pyaares greater than the Guru now, these sinful dirty filthy souls are making the Amrit and trying to emulate or copy what the Guru did one time in 1699.

    The Guru is The Guru Granth Sahib, and it cannot physically get up and make the Amrit, its our Holy Book.

    6. When the Amrit made today has been taken by the 5 Pyaares, how is possible for them to be one with the Guru Granth Sahib????

    They cannot give the Amrit to the Guru Granth Sahib to drink, its a Holy Book, water based Amrit cannot be drunk by a Holy Book, that will destroy it !!!!!!

    7. The ceremony performed since the passing of the Guru in 1708 till today is a total hoax…..no ordinary human can re-create Amrit again, its practically and physically impossible to do so.

    Lies will not hide the Truth, the Truth, Guru Granth Sahib states:

    SGGS, P982,Guru Ramdas
    ” Bani Guru, Guru hai Bani, vich Bani Amrit sareh” !

    There lies the TRUE AMRIT. All other amrits are false and lies to destroy Sikhism, not propagate it. You are then false, and a lair to yourself and others.

    • Thank you for your comment. We will have to agree to disagree on this subject. Further, I am quite content to let your response stand on its own and let readers judge for themselves its reasonableness.

  2. The Guru's True Gurmukh

    Well, Im pleased you have left my comment standing. I will wait & see what others think, the same.

    My final assertion for you to consider is that if the Law says ‘you must not speed on this road over 60kmph at any time’, even a millisecond recorded on a speed camera will make it an offense and the Law will be applied accordingly.

    If I was that culprit, who went 1 millisecond over the limit and got trapped, the photographic evidence is the evidence, what lies can I say in court, that I was not speeding?

    Lets try some, the camera shutter was 1 millisecond faster than other cameras of the same range. My speedometer showed 59kmph, that wasn’t my fault. I was not driving the vehicle. The police doctored the photo on their computer and put my number plate on it. Well, we can go on and on cant we !!

    The same, with Truth, if the Guru Granth Sahib says & that is The Guru, no one can dispute that, then:

    SGGS, P982,Guru Ramdas
    ” Bani Guru, Guru hai Bani, vich Bani Amrit sareh” !

    Is and always will be the “Amrit Sareh”. The word added to Amrit is “Sareh”…which means in English “All”, without exception, not more or less nor can it be debated. You either believe or not believe….that’s up to the individual to think, understand and what His Guru has stated.

    Guru Gobind Singh cannot be greater than the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh Himself clarified this in 1708 after installing the Guru Granth Sahib as the Final Guru, by stating “Guru maneyo Granth, pargat Guran ki dey. Jo Prabhu ko milbo chahe khoj shabad mein le. “.

    Means…..” The Guru you believe to be The Granth, it is the embodiment of all The Gurus, whosoever wants to meet The Lord God, find That God through the Shabad “.

    You keep drinking your false Amrit, however you make it and if you think that will make you find God, then you have gone against Guru Gobind Singh’s very own immortal words above, and fallen from Grace !!!!

    • Sundeepsingh

      Your truly an ASS ! A fool of fools! Misled murakhs! Keep believing what you believe “so called true Singh”. I’m sure Vahiguru has heard you loud and clear and is preparing to fix your place. I’m glad there are murakhs like you who claim to be Sikh and know all truth. But real truth shows in your writing without you even noticing. An individuals stupidity does no show only through actions but also through his words. Keep up the good work murakh!

  3. Murakhsingh

    ” The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool “.
    –William Shakespeare

    “A fool despises good counsel, but a wise man takes it to heart”.
    — Confucius

    “Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise”.
    — Cato the Elder

    “The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in his heart”.
    –Benjamin Franklin

    “The mistakes of the fool are known to the world, but not to himself. The mistakes of the wise man are known to himself, but not to the world”.
    –Charles Caleb Colton

  4. Wahe Guru

    Dear “The Guru’s True Gurmukh”:
    I found your post because I had the same question. Your opponents heaped abuse on you and insulted you but they could not answer your points. To me this just means that you have the truth on your side. Wahe Guru.

  5. The Guru's True Gurmukh

    The Guru’s True Gurmukh – Its been a while since I visited this site, and ‘Wahe Guru’ you are a true Sikh, I bow to you my true friend. The Imperishable Perfect Guru Granth Sahib plays this shabad for your soul…. “aye mil gursikh, aye mil, tu mere Guru k Pyare”…http://www.ikirtan.com/Bhai_Niranjan_Singh_Jee_Jawaddi_Kalan/Aye_Mil_Gursikh_Aye_Mil.mp3

    The insulters and abusers are like a blind man, who cannot ever ever ever see the beauty of lovely sunshine or the seaside, a mountain in the distance with ice on top….tell them about any of these and he will think and call you blind !!!! Best to let the blind idiots get run over by death, then they will truly ‘see’ !!!

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