A Sikh Without His Flowing Hair and Turban

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Admin Singh, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. Admin Singh

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    Seems like people are really insecure about themselves!

    http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp...28F%29&sid= 1

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    "A young Sikh boy gets his hair cut at the local barber in a village near Beas"


    One is often told that a Sikh without his flowing hair and turban is like a king without a crown.

    But, across Punjab, and more so in the countryside, young members of the community are giving up the most visible religious symbol of Sikh identity—long hair and the turban. The trend, which has been growing in the last four to five years, has reached "epidemic" proportions and now has the Sikh religious leadership worried. So much so that desperate campaigns have been launched to revive the use of the turban.

    When Outlook began examining this trend, Sikh organisations engaged in saving the turban estimated that about 80 per cent of the Sikh youth in rural Punjab have cut their hair and discarded their headgear. An exaggeration, one thought. But president of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the highest decision-making body for the Sikhs, Avtar Singh Makkar, confirms this trend.

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    "With a turban on his head, a Sikh will feel guilty of breaching his faith. Its absence frees him from such qualms." Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti

    He told Outlook: "Yes, it's true that in many places about 80 per cent of Sikh youth have indeed cut their hair. Sadly the 'dastaar bandhi samaagam' (a turban-tying ceremony for young boys), too, has become rare in villages because very few boys of 13 or 14 years of age have long hair."

    Does this mean that the day is not far when a Sikh village in Punjab won't have a single turbaned male to show? This is not just in the realm of possibility but an inescapable reality according to a dismayed and rather helpless Sikh leadership.

    But why are Sikhs, otherwise very dedicated to their religion, saying goodbye to turbans and going in for haircuts? Scholars say it is a combination of various factors, both social and economic, at play. The most common reason cited is the convenience of not having to go through the elaborate rigmarole of maintaining a beard and tying a turban. Says Baldev Singh, the patriarch of a large family in Adliwal near Amritsar, "Except I and my two brothers, all our sons and grandsons have shorn their hair.

    It does pain me to see my family like this but no one listens to us nowadays." His daughter-in-law Roominder Kaur is quite happy with a clean-shaven son as she doesn't have to go through the tedium of combing and tying his hair each morning.

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    "The SGPC has given up its traditional role of preserving Sikh values and heritage and is more embroiled in politics."

    Everyone agrees that the turban problem is acute in the villages where the land-owning Jat peasantry resides. One reason, perhaps, is the rural Punjabi youth's overriding desire to go West. Sikh scholars feel that in the aftermath of 9/11, when Sikhs are being mistaken for Muslims and attacked for sporting a beard and turban, there is a tendency among members of the community to adopt a more assimilative appearance so that they "look like others". It becomes easier to get past immigration. What a crock of sh*t!!!

    If a person holds these dear to himself, then he will never shed them, but unfortunately there is no one nowadays to teach the youth all this. "

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    Ironically, the trend of clean-shaven Sikhs has picked up in Punjab at a time when the community is engaged in an international campaign to create awareness about the Sikh identity and the importance of wearing religious symbols like the turban and kirpan. Following the ban on wearing turbans in French schools in 2004, and also several cases of hate crimes against Sikhs after 9/11, Sikh organisations began a drive to create awareness about the Sikh faith in Europe, US and Australia.

    When the French ban was announced, Sikh organisations—political, social and religious—in India and abroad protested. On the urging of the SGPC, PM Manmohan Singh, too, took up the issue with the French government. But as Jaswinder Singh, an SGPC member and president of the Akal Purakh Ki Fauj (an organisation engaged in popularising turbans and long hair in Punjab), points out, "If the French government comes to know of the situation in Punjab now, it will be embarrassing for us. How can we fight for the right to wear long hair and turbans abroad when people are abandoning the same in the home of Sikhism?"

    Is a Sikh without his 'kesh' or long hair a lesser Sikh? In popular parlance, a clean-shaven Sikh is a 'patit' or an apostate. Says Professor Sher Singh of the Institute of Sikh Studies, "Of all the five Ks—'kesh, kada, kirpan, kangha and kachh'—which Guru Gobind Singh had made mandatory for all Sikhs to wear, the 'kesh' comes first and is foremost and indispensable to a Sikh's identity. Without the 'kesh', the other symbols are meaningless."

    In recent years, several organisations have sprung up in Punjab to revive the tradition of keeping long hair and wearing turbans. The 'Kesh Sambhal Prachaar Sanstha' is one such outfit which, among other things, runs two turban-tying schools in Jalandhar and Amritsar, where young Sikhs are taught how to tie a turban. Says the Sanstha secretary, Sukhdev Singh Sandhawalia, "The most common excuse boys give for cutting their hair is that they don't know how to tie a turban."

    Another organisation holds a popular competition to select 'Mr Singh International' which is open only for turbaned Sikhs. Among other things, the contestants have to participate in a round called 'Meri Dastaar, Meri Shaan, Meri Pehchaan' (My turban, my pride, my identity) where they are judged on how well their turbans are tied. The latest champion of the turban and long hair in Punjab is former cricketer and the BJP's Lok Sabha MP from Amritsar, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who held a procession in Amritsar to revive the use of turbans and instil a sense of pride in Punjabi youth in wearing one. Ironically, Sidhu is under flak for trimming his beard and allowing his son to cut his hair

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    "A typical rural scenario—the patriarch of a large family (in turban) with his sons and grandsons who got their hair cut in Adliwal village near Amritsar"

    Why and how did things come to such a pass? Many feel the custodians of the Sikh heritage like the SGPC cannot escape criticism. Says G.S. Lamba, Sikh scholar and editor of Sant Sipahi, a popular Sikh community journal: "The SGPC has abandoned its traditional role of preserving Sikh values and heritage and is more embroiled in politics. When the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) abdicated its role as a religious party and adopted a secular garb, the SGPC should have taken its religious duties seriously.

    But unfortunately it's the other way around. The SGPC has become an organ of the SAD, and has neglected preaching in villages. It's also shameful that the two are projecting a 'patit' like Navjot Singh Sidhu as a role model for the Sikh youth for the coming elections."

    He points to the recent controversy over Harbhajan Singh appearing in an advertisement with his hair open as an example. "This shows the SGPC's double standards. They are picking on Harbhajan Singh just to get some good publicity with the Sikh masses. If they are serious about the issue, they should start by taking action against the families of the SGPC members who have shorn hair and also the clean-shaven cadres of the SAD."

    Though Harbhajan Singh apologised to the Sikh clergy for the offending representation in the advertisement, his comment on the matter is telling. "I apologise if I have hurt the feelings of my people, but why should the SGPC compare me with Monty Panesar (English cricketer of Sikh origin who sports a turban and beard) and not Yuvraj Singh and singer Gurdas Mann both of whom have cut their hair?"

    Clearly, the situation has gone beyond hair-splitting as rural Punjab's tryst with the barber keeps growing. The land-owning Jat Sikhs have all but shed the turban, whereas the more conservative trading 'Khatri Sikhs' in urban areas are less inclined towards the new trend. One reason is that most of the Sikh gurus were 'Khatris' or from the trading community which is why this section of Sikhs are more staunch believers.

    But go to rural Punjab and there are some tell-tale indicators of change. Where earlier, the sole barber in a village had to supplement his income by selling sweetmeats, now, most villages have three to four barbers. The feisty land-owning Punjabi Jat farmer has always been known for his enterprise and desire to try new things. True to form, it is he who is leading the 'no turban' trend even though it makes him an apostate in the eyes of his religion.
     
    #1 Admin Singh, Oct 21, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2013
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  2. triloruf@yahoo.com

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    Its Disgusting To Hear. This Is A Big Discouragement To We Foreigner Who Embraced Sikhism. The Problem Of The Sikhs Are With The Sikhs Themselves
    Here In Lagos Nigeria. Odenary Common Announcement One Hear The Sikhs Announcing It In Punjabi Language. There Is No Respect For Human Dignity As If God And The Masters Will Send A Curse If Simple English Is Spoken.

    I Embraced Sikhism Twenty(20) Years Ago Out Of Simple Convictions, And I Keep My Hier And Turban.
     
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  3. TanuRani

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    I believe there are various different reasons that are behind the shedding of hair in Sikhs. First and most important one is culture. Everywhere you look you would see men with haircuts...a necessity if one wants to be considered "normal" in public. When sikh (especially men) watch TV, movies, etc. there is no acceptance of long, unshaved hair being accepted and respected. A sikh feels like an "outsider". A lot of times this is the case for those living outside of India.
    In fact, if a sikh guy wants to date...even in india, his turban would make him look like "old fashioned", even though it's about religion, not fashion. And same could be true for a sikh girl...long hair seems boring b/c they are in braid...again "old fashion"...let alone a turban for a girl.
    So if a sikh has the self esteem to accept the "difference" in their appearance and actually show the "public" pride in the religion, then eventually a sikh un-cut hair would be accepted for their identity. Although muslims are discriminated and often related to terrorists(which I believe is entirely wrong...b/c judging one from their looks is wrong), they are still known to follow Islam from their appeareance. So what we want is a sikh who is proud of their un-cut hair because it is part of religion and not a "trend".
    But mostly I think Sikhs do not have the confidence to appear like sikhs. Why?? I believe it is all because of the culture that we have been brought up in. I am entirely supporting the entry that Neutral Singh wrote on Jul 12, 2005 about how sikhs follow empty rituals...like getting married in gurdwara...and then partyin drunk...at the reception.
    It's a very challenging situation to handle...b/c keeping hair doesnt make one a sikh...there has to be the love for God...that's the central idea of sikhism...doing things with heart and honesty..and if one says they love God but cut their hair in sikhism....then that doesnt qualify them as sikh. and even if someone keeps their hair...but doesnt have the love for God to follow wat guru granth sahib says....then that is not a sikh either.
    So i guess wat i trying to say is....that if one cuts their hair it should be b/c they want to and not cause they have to....(in order to be accepted)...and these days sikh youth are cutting their hair because of fashion and the fact that religion is not the basis of doing things...and when religion is not the most important thing in a household..then cutting hair is a very easy thing to do.
     
  4. sukhz

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    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh
    Yes this a painfulll reality, people especially in india who are actually sikhs who are suppose to have kesh and turban are actullay the one who are ignoring the rehat maryada the real code of sikhi, they are cutting shaving hairs, believe it or not the person who is forcing and showing them the evil way is nowdays residing in every home in india. The person is no body else but yes one and only Indias BOLLYWOOD which runs 24/7 throught india. yes thats true if you walk into a local village in punjab from teenagers to kids everyone is thinking themself amitabh,shrakuh,salman etc. They are not accepting the reality which is coming out from Guru granth sahib ji.
     
  5. Jaspal Singh

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    Problem is with the loose definition of Sikh.

    Now a days every one call themself to be sikh whether mona, sharbi etc.

    Sikh is who is trying to live as per teachings of Sikh Gurus anf in their image. Keeping of hair is essential part of it.

    Any deviation from this leads to one being other than sikh
     
  6. Gurcharan

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    Thank you brother. Someone once said, for every Sikh who has given up his turban, another from the West has taken it up. The problem with Sikhs is within the self. All Sikhs are at fault.
     
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  7. Gurcharan

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    My dear sister, many sikhs have drowned in maya and illusion. The conviction to be a sikh is lost. We blame all, the world(s), 9/11, environment, bollywood, our brethen EXCEPT ourselves. Is something very wrong with Sikhi or is it us only. It seems that it is easier to come up with excuses to walk down the wrong path than it is to find one simple truth, to tread on the correct path. To all those who tread the path of truth, remain strong. These are testing times for Sikhs and Sikhism.We will ride through this celestial storm and come out stronger. It is a real test for truth.
     
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  8. parvinder_s_99

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    SSA All

    Sikhs without hair & turban...!!

    Looks so shameful.. . It is really so frustrating to see the "How entire generation of the punjab sikh youth" has driven away by media, drugs & sikh leaders (religious & political).

    It may be looks odd to some of you..., but we need to go back from where & how.it got started there.

    I remember .., during the 1985-1995 period .., punjab sikh use to give excuses..

    1) Police tortures sikhs.., so i removed my hairs.
    2) Need to settle in USA/Canada.., i need to be look like them.

    So many reasons..

    I know..they all were telling lie & till now only faces are changing there.., but the trend is continuing. of course with some new foolish reasons.

    These Punjab sikhs ( refer to 1985-95 ) period.., they were referring to the police tortures .., but we at outside of punjab ( my parents settled in lucknow - 700 Kms from Punjab, India) has really feel that trauma from police, socially boycotts from this dominant hindu society.., rejections at many places, i still remembers.., if i were any crowded place.., every eyes use to like screening me.., all those were always like putting sword in your heart after every now & then. I am sure during those days in punjab.., these guys were handling the militancy & state sponsored militancy., nothing else , but they really cash it & run away from sikh principles.

    Physical appearance & Sikh life
    ----------------------------------
    It is a marriage between guru & sikh. Guru being our husband excepts us to be in that fashion.. which he likes ( same true with a normal husband also). Remember Sikh Life means "Be in normal materialistic life & follow his principles". Once you cut your haris & trim beard.., one shd not have guts to go in front of guru.., but you see.. these hair cut persons in gurudwars.., how shamelessly they comes there & co-relate them to sikhi.

    We know that sikh youths are getting good education now, but parents are not educating them..., about our principles, culture, history & our proud place in history. There difficulties in tying turban..., no parents ar listening. Remember previously there were joint families in india & there were lot helping hands were available for teenagers to learn & tying turban. Now this culture is no more, parents are just busy & busy in career & money, so where these teens needs to go, certainly..they are finding it easy "Go to barber shop & finish it off". SO IT'S OUR ELDERS, OUR PARENTS are more responsible for all this.

    How to help teens & make them comfortable
    -------------------------------------------------

    (a)While bringing up the kids.., give them the pride feeling .., when you put
    your turban on your head. Make sure , parents are celebrating the
    "Dastarbandhi" , once the teen reaches to 14-15.

    (b)Educate them & convenience them .., why hairs & turban are necessary
    for sikhs. Relate them to our history, let them know importance of hair &
    turban in our history. Start giving them the books related to our religion
    from 5-6 yrs. onwards. Remember "tree will be only strong, if the breed is
    stronger enough. Make a compulsory & minimum rule to go "Gurudwars" on
    every weekends , with family. If they sit with there our culture &
    Community.., they will learn more about it.

    (c)Make sure that you are teaching them "how to tying turban" . Understand
    "how much turban length" will be enough for him ( taking into
    consideration his physical structure).

    (d)Give him idea about turban colors.., teach him about the turban & other
    cloths matching. Make sure .., he looks enough SAMRT .., when he put up
    Turban on his head & goes out ( just need to ensure this 1st 10-15
    times..., once they face the world with confidence.., then no worries for
    future...). In this digital age ..there are even "Tuban tying videos" are
    available on the net, take help of them.

    (e)Tell them the options available to keep the bread set , with the help of
    gels & Fixsers. Educate them about the time bread need to set down..,
    once we apply the gels. This will prepare them to understand .., how
    much time they need to spend in bread setting & turban tying , so that
    can plan accordingly. Remember in this global world planning for
    everything is necessary. Once these teens understand, they need just
    20-25 min extra from there earlier routines.., they will do that. It is
    always important.., parents keep on helping them in early stages of
    turban tying & beard settings.

    (f)Be a Role Model to them - There are many sikh personalities you found
    around in media & daily life. Navjot Singh Sidhu ( the famous cricketer )...,
    he is too good in tying turbans, looks very smart.., but he trims beard
    & his own son hasn't keep the hairs. Now where did he stands. We need
    to ask him & the others leaders. Religion may be a private matter for
    him.., but we need to understand..., "The outer world know about a sikh
    from his physical appearance". If that is no more..., there is no visible
    sikhy. Another cricketer "Harbhsjan Singh" .., till now.., i never seen him
    even in a single snap of him in turban ( He is 26+ now ). he trim beards.
    He has his "Saloon" in Chandigarh.., which has barbers also to cut hairs &
    shave. I don't know.., why he chosen to invest his money in this kind of
    business. He also needs to be questioned "Guru always said.., hairs are
    the symbol of human & life" ( It's our fault ..we relate hair to sikhs..,
    that's not true ). Just to mention some more .., almost 99% of these
    punjabi pop singers ..either trim bread or already cut the hairs. You see..,
    by seeing there video on channels.. youth are also inspired to be like that.
    I am sure guru maharaj will question them..., once they finish there role in
    this world.
    (f) Engage in discussion with mature persons of other faith & specially with
    foreigners. Tel them.., about sikh & sikhi. We need to remind ourselves
    Our religion is too young in comparisons of others.., and we all are
    ambassadors of our religion. It’s or duty to protect it from external
    damages & simultaneously we need to spread it. If we don't talk to
    other faith people & make them understand.., till then they will be always
    suspicious about us.

    I tried to be most polite .., while writing above.., but there are chances that my views may not be acceptable to some of the gursikhs in punjab .., but i am just referring to the "hair-cut waves" of punjab in general. I hope they will forgive me.

    Let be always follow sikhi internally & externally & be a good ambassador to our religion.

    Waheguru ji da Khalsa , Waheguru jee di fatah
     
  9. max314

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    It's a lifestyle choice and, as long as it isn't harming anyone else, no-one has the right to ridicule or make snide remarks about people who make that choice.

    I see a surprising amount of intolerance coming from a people who originally built their reputation on the back of tolerance and acceptance.

    Have you ever thought that it is perhaps this exact kind of scolding and stuck-up attitude towards "how it should be" that is driving people away - if, of course, that is the case.
     
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  10. truthseeker

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    Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh

    Just this past January, a friend of mine went to india and was really shocked to see the amount of sikhs with cut hair. Upon returning he said that he and his family felt out of place while walking through the streets and being some of the very few with full kes. He thought that being in India, where our Guru's preached, and fought for justice, he would see many people proud to be Sikh, and take treasure in their Kakaars, but was very disappointed and hurt in what he saw and experienced.

    Personally it makes me to upset that it has come to this. Bhai Taru Singh Ji would not let his hair be removed from his head, and so his scalp was removed with a chizel, and now we are purposely asking for our hair to be removed.

    WHY TRY TO FIT IN WHEN YOU WERE ONLY BORN TO STAND OUT

    Bhul chuk maaf karni

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh
     
  11. Huck_Finn

    Huck_Finn (previously amarsanghera, account deactivated at t
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    there is a difference in sikhism and being Sikh

    what it is...?

    i leave all you to discover..

    peace!!
     
  12. max314

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    I think you're referring to the difference between being a Sikkh and being a Khalsa.
     
  13. Huck_Finn

    Huck_Finn (previously amarsanghera, account deactivated at t
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    no max

    i was refering to Religion called sikhism and being a sikh


    peace !!
     
  14. Gurcharan

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    Dear Amar Ji,

    Pse enlighten us.
    Thank you.
     
  15. Huck_Finn

    Huck_Finn (previously amarsanghera, account deactivated at t
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    veerji

    if a mortal could enlighten others..then today there would be all enlightened souls..

    i am a seeker as you are..

    look for the true essence...within your self...contemplate on the words of SGGS...the truth is inside you

    bhul chuk maaf..peace
     
  16. Gurcharan

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    Sat Shri Akal Veerji,

    You make it look so simplistic. What lifestyle choice are you talking about.
    Are you saying that one is to accept and tolerate a wrong even if you know it to be wrong? So what have you learned Max Ji, that if we correct our Sikhs to "how it should be",. then it is wrong. Is that what Sikhi is all about?

    God Bless.
     
  17. Huck_Finn

    Huck_Finn (previously amarsanghera, account deactivated at t
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    <<Are you saying that one is to accept and tolerate a wrong even if you know it to be wrong?>>

    how do you know it is wrong?

    isn't it same like the brahmins defending the janeu ?
     
  18. Gurcharan

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    Thank You Veerji Thruthseeker,

    I enjoyed reading when you said,
    "WHY TRY TO FIT IN WHEN YOU WERE BORN TO STAND OUT".
    Why then, we still do this?
    Are we suffering from an inferiority complex, or are we thinking that the only way to have fun and acceptance is by cutting our hair. We can put blame to many issues for this, but never ourselves.....I wonder why? Have we become weak and brainwashed. Has trying to fit in become a model for acceptance. These are trying times...I believe in patience with contemplation will resolve this problem.

    God Bless.
     
  19. Gurcharan

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    Dear Veerji,

    Contemplate within yourself. The truth is inside you, so is the essence.

    God Bless
     
  20. Huck_Finn

    Huck_Finn (previously amarsanghera, account deactivated at t
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    yes veerji

    after much contemplation

    i found this..

    that is why asking a question in response to your statement
     
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