SIKHS & THE TURBANGO TOGETHER
Sikhs are famous for their many and distinctive turbans. Traditionally, the turban represents respectability, and has long been an item once reserved for nobility only. During the Mughal domination of India, only the Muslims were allowed to wear a turban. All non-muslims were strictly barred from wearing a pagri.
Guru Gobind Singh, in defiance of this infringement by the Mughals asked all of his Sikhs to wear the turban. This was to be worn in recognition of the high moral standards that he had charted for his Khalsa followers. He wanted his Khalsa to be different and to be determined “to stand out from the rest of the world” and to follow the unique path that had been set out by the Sikh Gurus. Thus, a turbaned Sikh has always stood out from the crowd, as the Guru intended; for he wanted his ‘Saint-Soldiers’ to not only be easily recognizable, but easily found as well.
World Number One Turban Website <> http://www.punjabiturban.com/
More appropriately known in the Panjab as a dastaar, the Sikh turban is an article of faith which was made mandatory by the founder of the Khalsa. All baptised male Sikhs are required to wear a Dastaar. Though not required to wear a turban many Sikh Kaurs (women) also choose to wear a turban. For the Khalsa, the turban is not to be regarded as merely an item of cultural paraphernalia.
IMPORTANCE OF THE TURBANIN SIKHISM
When a Sikh man or woman dons a turban, the turban ceases to be just a band of cloth; for it becomes one and the same with the Sikh’s head. The turban, as well as the four other articles of faith worn by Sikhs, has an immense spiritual and temporal significance. While the symbolism associated with wearing a turban are many — sovereignty, dedication, self-respect, courage and piety, but!, the main reason that Sikhs wear a turban is to show–their love, obedience and respect for the founder of the Khalsa Guru Gobind Singh.
“The turban is our Guru’s gift to us. It is how we crown ourselves as the Singhs and Kaurs who sit on the throne of commitment to our own higher consciousness. For men and women alike, this projective identity conveys royalty, grace, and uniqueness. It is a signa pt complete commitment. When you choose to stand out by tying your turban, you stand fearlessly as one single person standing out from six billion people. It is a most outstanding act.” quoted fromSikhnet.
Sikh men commonly wear a peaked turban that serves partly to cover their long hair, which is never cut out of respect for God’s creation. Devout Sikhs also do not cut their beards.
The turban has been worn by people for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, the turban was worn as an ornamental head dress. They called it ‘pjr’, from which is derived the word ‘pugree’, so commonly used in India. Kohanim (priests) in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem wore turbans; they go back at least as far as biblical times!
In the Bible, referring to the high priest, it says, “He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on.” (Leviticus 16:4)
The turban has been common throughout Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa for thousands of years. Today, Muslim, Sikh and other men often wear turbans to fulfil religious requirements to cover their heads; traditionally, Hindu men often wear them as well.
Turban is and has been an inseparable part of a Sikh’s life for centuries. Since about 1500 and the time of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, Sikhs have been wearing the turban. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh
“Kangha dono vakt kar, paag chune kar bandhai.”
Translation: “Comb your hair twice a day and tie your turban carefully, turn by turn.”
Several ancient Sikh documents refer to the order of Guru Gobind Singh about wearing the five Ks. Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu is one of the most famous ancient Sikh historians. He is the author of “Sri Gur Panth Parkash” which he wrote almost two centuries ago. He writes,
“Doi vele utth bandhyo dastare, pahar aatth rakhyo shastar sambhare | . . . Kesan ki kijo pritpal, nah(i) ustran se katyo vaal |”
Translation: “Tie your turban twice a day and carefully wear weapons 24 hours a day….
Take good care of your hair. Do not cut your hair.”
(“Sri Gur Granth Parkash” by Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu, page 78)
The Sikh Gurus sought to end all caste distinctions and vehemently opposed stratification of society by any means. They diligently worked to create an egalitarian society dedicated to justice and equality. The turban is certainly a gift of love from the founders of the Sikh religion and is symbolic of sovereignty that is of Divine concession.
According to Sirdar Kapur Singh, a Sikh theologian and statesman, “When asked by Captain Murray, the British Charge-de-affairs at Ludhiana in about 1830, for the captain’s gallant mind was then wholly preoccupied with the Doctrine of Legitimacy, recently evolved or rediscovered by European statesmen at the Congress at Vienna, as to from what source the Sikhs derived their claim to earthly sovereignty, for the rights of treaty or lawful succession they had none; Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu [a Sikh historian], replied promptly, ‘The Sikhs’ right to earthly sovereignty is based on the Will of God as authenticated by the Guru, and therefore, other inferior sanctions are unnecessary.'” (Parasaraprasna, by Kapur Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1989, p. 130-131.)
“Having met the Guru, I have put on a tall plumed Turban”. (GGS – Page 74) “Charming are our unshorn Hair, with a Turban on head”. (GGS – Page 659)
“Let living in His presence, with mind rid of impurities be your discipline. Keep the God-given body intact and with a Turban donned on your head”. (GGS–Page 1084)
(*1 Refer to Dr. Trilochan Singh’s “Biography of Guru Nanak Dev.”)
Turban as a Symbol of Responsibility
People who have lived in India would know the turban tying ceremony known as Rasam Pagri (Turban Tying Ceremony). This ceremony takes place once a man passes away and his oldest son takes over the family responsibilities by tying his turban in front of a large gathering. It signifies that now he has shouldered the responsibility of his father and he is the head of the family.
It was meant for only kings. Miniorities were not allowed to wear turban and kirpan. “och dumalra” Most Respectful
Bare head is not considered appropriate as per gurbani: “ud ud ravaa jhaate paaye, vekhe log hasae ghar jaaye”
It provides Sikhs a unique identity. You will see only sikhs wearing turban in western countries.
If a Sikhs likes to become one with his/her Guru, he/she must look like a Guru (wear a turban). Guru Gobind Singh has said, “Khalsa mero roop hai khaas. Khalse me hau karo niwas.”
Translation: Khalsa (Sikh) is a true picture of mine. I live in a Khalsa. According to the historical accounts, Guru Gobind Singh tied almost 18 inches high dumala (turban) just before he left for heavenly abode.