Turban Clinic To Help Youth "get It Right"

Turban clinic to help youth get it right-India-The Times of India

NEW DELHI: There are salons to advise one about hairstyles. But what about salons on how to wear turbans? And to keep up with the latest trends? A unique salon in Amritsar has the answer to this. Called Turban Clinic, it advises Sikh youth on how to tie the perfect turban and what style will suit them.

The clinic has devised as many as 40 ways of tying the turban. Patrons can pick the style that suits them the best, according to facial structure, height and nature of work. Advice is also given on which colours to use, depending on complexion. A specially-designed software, Smart Turban 1.0, is used for this. The customer's photo is downloaded into a computer and various turban styles superimposed on the image, and selected. And if you want to learn the art of tying a turban, take the help of Turban Tutor 2.0.

The salon is the brainwave of Amritsar-based lawyer, Jaswinder Singh, to promote turban-wearing among Sikh youth. Many now prefer to shear their locks in order to look trendy. Also, those who aren't permitted to do so, wear caps to escape the 'tedious' exercise of tying turbans. Singh says his service is free.

The venture has been a success, he claims, as Sikhs throng the place in the evening to take lessons. "We try and evolve new styles for everyone because the traditional three styles of tying turban of Majha, Malwa and Doaba regions, now look archaic and conservative," he says.

Officials at the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee, the supreme religious body of Sikhs, feel that lately, the turban has come under attack from various quarters. France has banned turbans in public schools. In fact, post 9/11, many turbaned Sikhs were mistaken for Muslims and attacked. This has led to low esteem among turban users. Also, there is a perception that a majority of girls prefer clean-shaven Sikhs. So, Sikh bodies are taking various steps to restore the pride of place turbans occupied.

Singh said, "The basic purpose of the clinic is to stop the youth from shearing their hair as this goes against the basic tenets of Sikhism. This is one of the most serious problems confronting Sikhism today."

But he says the youth can't be entirely blamed. "Take a glamour industry like films. A young Sikh man would have trouble finding a role in mainstream films as a hero unless he takes off his turban, cuts his hair and shaves his face. Those who wear turbans in films are often used to provide comic relief. They are shown as provincial, uneducated and amusing. This has bruised the feelings of the community."

Singh, who is running an organisation called Akal Purakh Di Fauj (Army of the Almighty) to work for Sikh causes, says, "The turban is an integral part of the complete look of a Sikh. We're just trying to inspire Sikhs to look smart, without relinquishing their turbans. Let them feel that their turbans only add to their looks."