A Sikh, by literal meaning of the word, is a person who follows the teachings of Sikh Gurus as written in the holiest book of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikhs bow to their holy book as a mark of respect for the advice written in it on the moral and social aspects of life. Let us concentrate on the uniform of the Sikhs as ordained by the Gurus of this religion. In Guru Granth Sahib the word, “HAIR” comes in different contexts. For instance, Guru Nanak praised the Almighty GOD and pictures HIM a person with long (unshorn) hair. Guru Arjan Dev. while conversing with a Muslim priest, instructed about the wearing of a turban and keeping hair unshorn. A reproduction of the verses from the Guru Granth Sahib would be quite appropriate to support the foregoing statements.
Wadhans pahila chhant:
Tere banke loin dant resala
Sohne nak jim lamre wala
Soohi mahla 5:
Mere ram har Jan ke hau bal jayee
Kesa ka kar chawar dhulawa charan dhoormukh layee.
Maroo solhe mahla 5:
Kaiya kirdar aurat yakeena.
Rang tamase man hakeena.
Napak pak kar hadoor hadeesa saabat
Soorat dastar sira.
Bhagat Jai Diyo (raagmaroo):
Jau jam aaye kais gahe patke
Ta din Kish Na basahega.
Salok Bhagat Kabeer jeeo ke:
Kabeer haad jare jiyo lakri kais jare jiyo ghaas.
Raag Sorath Bani Bhagat Kabeer:
Pariyo kal sabe jag ooper mahe likhe bharam giani.
Kaho Kabeer Jan bhaye Khalse prem bhagat jih jani.
Moreover, the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh ordered the Sikhs to wear turban and keep hair unshorn. So there is absolutely no doubt about the fact that a Sikh must grow beard and wear turban.
There is no denying the fact that a vast majority of the people being without turbans, an impulse to be one of the crowds is very strong. But looking very closely, one can find certain marks of distinction in those people. A Christian wears a cross round his neck and a Jew has yamika on his head. Then why a Sikh is hesitant to grow beard and wear turban. America is a democratic country in true meaning of the word. Everybody has freedom to practice religion of his choice. Why the Sikhs are shy of their ethnic symbols? Guru Gobind Singh gave a supreme sacrifice of his entire family to uphold the tenets of the Sikh faith. He tops the poets and warriors of all times. He was the top saint. There is no reason for any Sikh not to feel proud of his heritage.
Indian Government is bent upon destroying the Sikh heritage. They have burnt the most important and ancient Sikh literature. Hardly have the Sikhs now any handwritten Guru Granth Sahib. Similarly, the historic arms used in the battles at the times of Guru Hargobind, Guru Gobind Singh, and Maharaja Ranjit Singh are missing from Akal Takhat since the Golden Temple Massacre. To top it all, they have forced thousands of Sikhs to shave and cut their hair. It is a shame for the secularism of Indian Government.
It is time that the Sikhs showed their solidarity by upholding their ethnic symbols. Guru Gobind Singh baptized the Sikhs at the time of Muslim Rulers when a price was put on chopped Sikhhead.
A large number of Sikhs have embraced death, fighting in the recent holocaust. It is a challenge to the Sikhs, their identity, and their love for Sikhism. Unless they stand up to the Hindu tyranny they have no chance of their survival with dignity and pride.
The Sikhs in India are looking to their brothers and sisters abroad for financial and moral support. The Hindu Government is not allowing any help to the suffering Sikhs in India. So the least that can be done is show moral support by wearing Sikh uniform.
The Sikh nation is passing through crises and it is imperative that every Sikh showed sympathy to their fellows in India. Looking like a Sikh, with beard and turban, would keep the moral of the folks back home high. Some Sikhs have shown fear of losing their jobs if they wore turban and kept beard. This is not true. All employers understand and know the plight of Sikhs in India. They know that the Sikhs met the same fate in Hindu land as the Jews once met in Nazi Germany where they were killed like sheep and goats by Hitler.
Do you think the unemployment in America is due to turbans and beards? Definitely not. A few are putting forth an argument that to be a true Sikh inwardly is better than putting the outward Sikh uniform. The purity of the mind and the dress go side by side. There is no choice ordained by any Sikh Guru or the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib. Looking at it differently, a covered head has quite a few advantages over the bare one. Firstly, there is less likelihood of getting exposed to abruptly changing temperature as one step outside. Secondly, baldness can be covered. Thirdly, the matching color of the turban with the suit may enhance the personality. Fourthly, well-kept beard gives the face a rounded look a plus for handsomeness. Finally, the shaving expenses can be dispensed with. A visit to the barber can be counted out which will definitely save you time and money.
Putting it mildly, to be called a Sikh one has to have unshorn hair, beard and turban. For becoming a SINGH baptism is necessary. This is a Sikh ritual and there are no two opinions about it.
Bhai Taru Singh had his skull chopped off, but did not agree to embrace Islam. Sikh history is full of such incidents.
Quite recently, Mr. Rajput of Delhi has let known the real intentions of Hindu Government. He said, “Every person born in India is Hindu and sooner the minority nations accept Hinduism, the better it would be for them.” There goes the secularism of Hindu land. The very survival of the Sikhs is at stake. The only choice Sikhs have now is to show Sikh solidarity and stand up to the tyrants to save Sikh religion. Never forget that the only safe place for the Sikhs is their homeland, the SOVEREIGN SIKH STATE.
Article extracted from this publication >> April 26, 1985