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Change Of Clothes And Name


Feb 4, 2010
I have two questions. First when someone decides to follow Sikhism do they have to change their whole name or could they just use kaur or singh as a last or middle name without changing the first?
2nd besides the five K's do unbaptized Sikhs have to wear Punjabi clothes? What about the Khalsa?

Sorry if there was already a thread about this, I searched but couldn't kind any.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Good questions newkid ji

There was a time when it was hard to get answers myself to these questions. The answer is that there is no clear-cut answer. I am going to back away for a bit and see if anyone responds. If not, then I will give you my take on this issue.

Before I back away here are some clues. Narayanjot is not the name my parents gave me. However, Jagdish Kaur is the name of an Internet friend. She was named Jagdish by her parents and kept Jagdish after she took amrit. There are Sikhs of Indian-Punjabi origin here in the US who are 2nd generation Sikhs, the children of immigrants from Punjab. They might be named Harry or Manny, for Harvinder and Manbir, with other combinations as well. There is a well known journalist by the name of Ralph Singh, who is an amritdhari Sikh born and raised in New York city of Italian-American parents. Before I was Narayanjot some people called me Toni Kaur. So why don't you play around with some of my clues.

Reality on the ground oftentimes over-turns some of our favorite theories. :happykaur:

In the meantime, it will be fun to see what other forum members have to say.

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
New Kid Ji,

First we have to get the Fundamentals right.
When Guru Nanak ji Sahib appeared on this earth...the prevailing "religious truth" was..people are different...not at all equal...Brahmins were Higher..First Class citizens who had ALL the privileges and NONE of the responsibilities..the Poor Shudras...the UNTOUCHABLES were the Lowest of the LOW..had ALL the responsibilities and NONE of the Privileges..except to SERVE the Higher classes and take THAT as a Privilege !! Muslims ahd Kafirs who were worthless scum of the earth....worthy og being looted, oppressed/enslaved.... and Muslims who were special of Allah...and so on.. The POSITION of WOMEN was another no brainer..women had absolutely no value in society..except as a man's plaything/object of satisfying his desires...

GURU NANAK JI set out to perform a monumental task...on WOMAN he declared..So Kio mandah akheayeah jo jammeh rajaan..WHY use derogatory langauge/Actions towards One who gives birth to KINGS and SAINTS ??

The Sikh Gurus erected GURDWARAS with FOUR DOORS to welcome one and all..irrespective of high/low status..as Each is equal in the eyes of the CREATOR...they built SAROVARS and WELLS from which ALL could drink/bathe in ( Brahmins had different wells and bathing places from the untouchables...until 1950 I personally saw Water Taps on Indian railway Stations labelled as FOR MUSLIMS ONLY....FOR HINDUS ONLY...although it begs the question..UNDERGROUND the Water Source/PIPE is the SAME...the Dam ..the River that supplied the water is the same..what purpose served by a Water TAP ??). Anyway I digress...The GURUS began COMMON KITCHENS called Guru ka Langgar where everyone irrespective of race or creed or colour etc could enter and EAT as much as and as frequently as he/she wnated with NO RESTRICTIONS except that ALL SAT on equal status rich and poor on the same equal platform. One fo the Famous ones was EMPEROR AKBAR who on a visist to Guru Amardass Ji was instructed by Guru Ji that EVERYONE had to sit on the floor and partake of the Guru ka Langgar before the GURU would see him. The EMPEROR complied humbly....BUT when he wnated to DONATE a Large sum of money towards the expenditure of the Langgar the GURU Refused saying it comes form KIRTEE SIKHS..the Dasvandh of Hard earned Labour of Sikhs...so the Emperor gifted a large piece fo land to the Gurus Daughter. Until Today the Millions of Guru Ka Langgars the world over are funded by SIKHS and there is no monopoly of any Individual SIKH/NON-SIKH over any Langgar.
Guru Amardass Ji also BANNED SATI...the Burning alive of a Hindu widow on her husbands pyre ( a clever way of eliminating a claimant to the Property of the deceased...in case the children are too young...eliminating the mother takes out a big threat )..and ALSO the VEIL as a restrictieve practise against women's freedom..and also ENCOURAGED widow REMARRIAGES which are TABBOO in Hinduism.

This SOCIAL REVOLUTION of Guru Nanak ji carried on till 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh Ji, in the LIGHT of the SGGS/GURBANI of the preceeding Nine Gurus that affirmed all this..CODIFIED the PAHUL CEREMONY as a MANDATORY REQUIREMENT for the KHALSA BROTHERHOOD. At this Pahul ceremony of INITIATION into the Khalsa Order...the person wanting admittance had to..DISCARD all previous "birth rights"..Brahmin..high caste..shudra..low caste etc...and take on as His Spiritual Father..GURU GOBIND SINGH JI..His spiritual Mother Mata Sahib Kaur Ji, his place of Birth as ANANDPUR SAHIB...his New Name with SINGH/KAUR..and DRINK from the SAME ONE BOWL of Amrit prepared by the Panj Piyaaras in the Presence of the SGGS and EAT from a common Bowl the Karah Parshaad..signifying COMPLETE SPIRITUAL EQUALITY and a TRUE BROTHERHOOD.

THIS is the Background of whys and IFs..of the name Change..Clothes change ( actually a Common BAANA implemented to bring UNIFORMITY as even in Clothing there were differences being perpetuated..the Brahmin could wear a DOUBLE DHOTTEE while a SHUDRA couldnt wear even ONE....a Brahmin wore a Gold thread janeau..while a Shudra was NOT allowed even a cotton one...A Brahmin could read the Vedas..while a Shudra woudl ahve his eyes blined/ears get molten lead poured in/tongue pulled out..if he read/listened/spoke the Vedas even by accident..a Shudra was banned from Education...Guru Angad Ji made EDUCATION and PHYSICAL GAMES compulsory for SIKHS..Every KHALSA is actively encouraged to EDUCATE himslef..read Gurbani..understand Gurbani...learn the martial arts..physical games etc..Guru ji loved anyone who came on a Horse..fully armed...learned in the arts of war and arts !! Bhai nand lala goya a man of letters was equally welcome as anyone who was a warrior. Guru Gobind Singh a patron of the arts..had 52 Kavis..poets in his darbaar...

Times have changed...many things have changed...we as SIKHS and KHALSA have the freedom to adopt certain things...since its the Punjabi Tradition to keep a Name at Birth from the SGGS...and a SINGH/KAUR is routinely added from BIRTH..the same name is kept after Pahul....we can also go on wearing what we wear..coat..pants..tie..cardigan..T-shirt..whatever is fine....its our own preference...
BUT in certian things..there is NO FREEDOM...the Nitnem banis to recite daily..the REHIT to be Practised..the Gurbani learning..Understanding...actively FOLLOWING...GURBANI so that our Daily LIFE CHANGES for the Better...the Panj Kakaars..must be worn...Kesh cannot be dishonoured..the Four Kurehits CANNOT be done...ALL this is NO COMPROMISE.

Keep in Chardeekalla and keep on LEARNING....SIKHS never STOP LEARNING !!!

Randip Singh

May 25, 2005
United Kingdom
I have two questions. First when someone decides to follow Sikhism do they have to change their whole name or could they just use kaur or singh as a last or middle name without changing the first?
2nd besides the five K's do unbaptized Sikhs have to wear Punjabi clothes? What about the Khalsa?

Sorry if there was already a thread about this, I searched but couldn't kind any.

1) I don't think you have to change your name. Just and Singh or Kaur. eg John Smith becomes John Singh Smith

2) There is no restriction on Punjabi clothes, but do try and dress modestly, i.e. not half naked. We try not to display ourselves like pieces of meat.
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