Importance of Turban
- Turban (Pagri) is a mandatory headgear for Sikhs. Dastar is closely associated with Sikhism and is an important part of the Sikh culture. Wearing a Sikh turban is mandatory for all Amritdhari ( baptized) Sikhs (also known as Khalsa ).
Among the Sikhs, the turban is an article of faith that represents honour, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety. The Khalsa Sikhs, who adorn the Five Ks, wear the turban partly to cover their long, uncut hair (kesh). The turban is mostly identified with the Sikh males, although some Sikh women also wear turban. The Khalsa Sikhs regard the turban as an important part of the unique Sikh identity. They are easily recognizable by their distinctive turbans. Some Sahajdhari Sikhs do not wear turbans.
History of Turban
The turban has been an important part of the Sikh culture since the time of the Sixth Guru. At Guru Ram Das Jyoti jyot, his elder son Pirthi Chand wore a special turban, which is usually worn by an elder son when his father passes away. At that time Guru Arjan Dev was honoured with the turban of Guruship:
Marne di pag Pirthiye badhi. Guriyaee pag Arjan Ladhi
Guru Angad Dev honoured Guru Amar Das ji with a Siropa (turban) when he was made the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh, the last human Sikh Guru, wrote:
Kangha dono vaqt kar, paag chune kar bandhai. (“Comb your hair twice a day and tie your turban carefully, turn by turn.”)
Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu, one of the earliest Sikh historians, wrote in Sri Gur Panth Parkash:
Doi vele utth bandhyo dastare, pahar aatth rakhyo shastar sambhare
Kesan ki kijo pritpal, nah(i) ustran se katyo vaal
Tie your turban twice a day and wear shaster (weapons to protect dharma), and keep them with care, 24 hours a day.
Take good care of your hair. Do not cut or damage your hair.
Styles of Turban
This is a very common Sikh turban style. It is very common in Punjab, India. The Nok is a double wide turban. 6 meters of turban cloth are cut in half, then into two 3 metre pieces. They are then sewn together to make it Double wide, thus creating a “Double Patti” or a Morni turban. This turban is larger than most Sikh dastars, but contains fewer wraps around the head.
Patiala Shahi Turban
The Patiala Shahi turban was evolved over a period of time and is best suited for those with broad faces and sharp features, ethnic characteristics which exemplify Sikhs of the region.
Since its inception, however, cross migration of Sikhs within Punjab and across the diaspora has somewhat affected the style, with the true Patiala Shahi turban connoisseurs now being relatively small in number.
Even though the Patiala turban has developed into an art form, it captures a carefree spirit, mainly because the larhs (layers) on both sides are not worn in a neat or distinguished manner. Overall, it presents a round look with its rear being flat. The thumb is used to depress the cloth at the forehead to create the perfect, triangular effect with the fifty (a band of cloth worn under the turban, the colour usually chosen to match).
Other requisites of the Patiala turban include use of Finlay`s “F-74 mal-mal” fabric, at least seven-and-a-half meters of it, which is cut in half and sewn together to double the width; some light starch; and, a twist in the last larh.
Chand tora Dumala
This style of turban is generally worn by Nihang Sikhs . This is a warrior style turban meant for going into battle. The “Chand Tora” is a metal symbol consisting of a crescent and a double edged sword, it is held in place at the front of the turban by woven chainmail cord tied in a pattern within the turban to protect the head from slashing weapons.
This is the most common Dumala turban. It consists of:
1. one 5 meter piece (Pavo Blue)
2. one 11 meter piece any color, commonly sabz (white) and pavo blue. Both pieces are 35 cm wide, and referred to in Amritsar as Dumala Material.
This is a very simple and basic Dumala Sikh turban. This is the old style adopted by all sikh gurus and This is the most popular turban among young Sikhs of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and also quite popular among those of Damdami Taksal in countries like America, the United Kingdom and Canada.
General Sikh Turban
Another common Sikh turban style for men. Unlike the “double patti” turban, the turban is longer and goes 7 times around the head. If you use the “Notai” technique and have a big joora (hair knot), do not make it right in front at your forehead. You will end up tying the turban on the joora, and it will make your turban look very high and big.
This is a common sikh turban among young boys. It is normally used as more of a casual Pugree, or sometimes for sports. Commonly, this is a peela (shade of yellow) coloured turban. These are the basic Sikh Pugaree types. Turban theory states that the main pugaree types are starting points, and anyone can invent their own turban styles. But keep in mind the colour, and wrap type, and amount will differentiate the LOS between pugrees, so feel free to play with LOS levels, and increase or decrease your LOS simply by trying Kavi over Peta for example.
Turban :The identity crisis in Sikhism
The Turban, a unique tradition and symbol of Sikhism, the world`s fifth largest religion, boasting nearly 25 million adherents, is on a decline and vanishing from the lands of its origin. Punjab in India. An easily identifiable Sikh with his long beard and turban is facing the heat, and has lived in fear for many decades, be it the Sikh genocide of New Delhi or the turbulent period of Sikh militancy during the late 80`s and early 90`s in India, or the recent hatred spread worldwide, that preceded the 9/11 attack. Also, the fact is that many Sikhs chose to abandon the turban in the 90`s with India`s economic growth and westernization and in the recent years the trend rose alarmingly and majority of the Sikh youth have abandoned their identity.
1984 was the year that saw the Indian military carry out operation Blue Star, an assault on Darbar Sahib (the most sacred shrine of Sikhs), followed by anti-Sikh riots in New Delhi. As mentioned in the joint inquiry of People`s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) and People`s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), these were the outcome of a well-organized plan, marked by acts of both deliberate commissions and omissions by important politicians of the Congress (I) at the top, and by authorities in the administration.What followed was a decade-long struggle and bloodshed during the Khalistan and Sikh militancy period in the state. These incidents resulted in loss of faith of Sikhs towards the Indian state and caused a major migration to countries like US, UK, Canada, Italy. This continues to date. Sikhs, as a minority, felt secure and safe in the West, compared to their place of origin, but 9/11 changed it all for this hard-working and peaceful community. The unique appearance of long beards and Turban became a soft target for hate crimes in West, the most recent of them being an attack on Sikh gurudwara in Wisconsin, U.S.A.
French law does not allow Sikhs to submit a photo to the government authorities wearing a Turban to obtain any identification document and also not permit students to attend a state school wearing a turban. Thus, the abuse, attack and humiliation of the Turban have left deep scars on the souls of Sikhs. In spite of standing tall to all these troubles the biggest challenge for Sikhism has come from within, i.e the alarming rate at which Sikh youth has abandoned Sikh identity and Turban.
This project aims to document the lives of these young Sikh men and women, who have kept and loved their identity and are trying to give a new lease of life to Turban in times of crises. I hope it can help the Turban regain its popularity among youth and create an awareness worldwide, so that this unique, outward identity of Sikhism survives.