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New Sikhs And Wearing The 5ks

seekingsikhi

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Sep 28, 2017
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Houston, TX
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Sangat ji,

I'm a college student. As I was coming out of chemistry yesterday I noticed a group of Christians talking to other students. I remembered these people from last year, and that they were attempting to convert people through a combination of fear and falsehood - specifically they started out the conversations with people by asking if they would participate in a research survey. Remembering this I went over to engage with them and see if they were using the same tactics. Fortunately, they were not using the research survey line anymore and we actually wound up having a very nice conversation. I hope the individual I talked to will take my advice on the layout of their pamphlet and how the fear tactics turn more people away then they attract. All of this is leading to my question so bear with me. As we spoke I told her I was a Sikh and she said "Oh I didn't know that," to which all I could reply was "how could you since I'm white and don't wear a turban."

I didn't think much of it at the time. I've only been studying Sikhi for a few months, so going full Amritari in the sense of keeping the K's seemed a bit "childish." Please forgive that choice of word, but english has its limitations and I can't find a better way to express my thoughts on it.

I was listening to a katha on the shaheed of Guru Tegh Bahadur, and how many of the Sikhs at the time refused to step forward. I'm the same. You couldn't tell from a crowd that I'm a Sikh, and I'd like to rectify that; but I have so many questions.

My wife is concerned about my practice of Sikhi, mostly because of my skin color. She worries that people will think that it's something akin to cultural appropriation. I'm not worried about that with my practice of the faith, but maybe with the wearing of dastar. I would love to know if any of the white sikhs here have taken any flack from the Indian/Middle Eastern community for it, and how to handle that situation. I'm less concerned about white people thinking it's weird because at least then it's a springboard for a conversation, and I believe people should know more about who we are.

Also, life happens. What does a sikh do if they've forgotten to set an alarm? Do they skip their dastar? Do they tie it hastily and poorly? Is there an alternative? Sometimes being late just isn't an option. I don't like doing things half way so if I start wearing a pagh I want to do it right; which means considering these kinds of questions - silly as they may seem.

Thank you for your time, Sangat ji!
 

Ishna

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May 9, 2006
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Jio, I hope you don't mind, your thread title was changed to make it a little more descriptive.

You're totally right about not rushing into the 5Ks. In my experience, wearing a chunni and a kara and having the end of my plaited uncut hair visible, still Sikhs would ask me if I was a Sikh or just at Gurdwara with my (non existent) Punjabi husband.

There is a tiny minority of Punjabis who will grumble about cultural appropriation, but the overwhelming majority are chuffed to see new people picking up Sikhi.

However, there is (was?) something of a "Sikh" organisation in the US which has brought some discredit to "white" Sikhs. You'll spend more time explaining that you aren't one of them. Avoiding white fabrics will help your case.

At the end of the day, your Sikhi on the inside is what matters most at this stage. The appearence will come in due course, and then questions about not tying a dastar will become moot to you.

Edited: Typo!
 
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