Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Walk a mile in a Sikh’s turban Thursday at University of Guelph

efb0085846c584239aff961d9a3b.jpg

Preetam
Singh, 20, describes his religious conviction as a love affair with
God. The University of Guelph student is helping to organize the Sikh
Students' Association's Sikh Awareness Day on Thursday. Non-Sikhs will
get the opportunity to experience what it is like to wear turban.

Rob O'Flanagan/Mercury staff


GUELPH—A
Sikh’s turban, or dastar, is a symbol of religious devotion and a mark
of personal courage. It and other elements of customary Sikhi dress
distinguish followers of the religion from others in Canadian society,
and that distinction is not without challenges.

The Sikh Student
Association at the University of Guelph will hold a Sikh Awareness Day
on Thursday, giving non-Sikhs an opportunity to experience what it is
like to wear a turban. The event is patterned after others on Canadian
campuses aimed at familiarizing Canadians with Sikh beliefs and inviting
them to experience both the highs and lows of wearing the dastar.

Preetam
Singh, 20, was a striking figure over the weekend on the U of G campus,
wearing flowing dark bana—traditional attire—with his high, dark blue
dastar covering his uncut hair, and a kirpan—dagger—strapped to this
hip.

“As soon as I walk in a room I have people’s attention,”
Singh said. “It gives me the opportunity to teach people something about
my faith.”

The Sikhi way of life, he added, has timeless and
holistic qualities. While the rules, ethics and customs of society are
constantly changing, the teachings of the faith remain stable.

His religion, he said, is a love affair, and one he entered into of his own volition at the age of 13.

“I
think of it as falling in love,” said the U of G history student. “You
don’t choose who you fall in love with, or when you are going to fall in
love. You have no power over it. I never thought that I was going to be
as religious as I am now.”

As with other religions, Sikhs strive
to be constantly mindful of the presence of God in their day-to-day
lives. It’s a devotional ambition to which Singh is committed.

“Everyday
is a challenge to make yourself better,” he said. “It’s never good
enough. You always have to work for something more, to try harder and
strive for higher ideals. Ideals are perfection and we are imperfect as
human beings.”

Being easily identifiable as an adherent to a particular faith, he said, puts an onus of responsibility upon a Sikh.

“As
a Sikh I know that people know immediately that I am different, that I
am religious,” he said. “If someone knows that I am a Sikh then I am
representing the Sikh faith. All my actions represent the Sikh
faith—what I say, what I do, how I act. It gives you a lot of
responsibility, and I have to really strive to put the Sikh faith in a
better light.”

Sikhs do face overt discrimination because of
their appearance, Singh said. Mass media, he said, has associated the
wearing of a turban with perpetrators of terrorist acts, and that
negative and unfair association has been applied to Sikhs.

“I
think it is very important for us to propagate the wearing of the
turban, and to have people know the difference between the Sikh religion
and other religions, and why we wear a turban,” Singh said. “It is a
show of peace.”

The Sikh religion—the term Sikhism is not
proper—began in the late 1400s in the Punjab region of India. It has no
clergy. The faith promotes the equality of all human beings, social
justice, the removal of superstition and blind ritual from religious
life, earning an honest living, and circumventing worldly desires and
sin.

There are about 20 million Sikhs worldwide, and it is
estimated there are more than 300,000 in Canada. To be a part of the
Khalsa, or collective body of the faith, one must wear five kakars, or
articles of faith, on their person, including uncut hair, a wooden comb,
a metal bracelet, special cotton undergarments, and the dagger.

Thursday’s
Sikh Awareness Day, sponsored by the Sikh Student Association, runs
throughout the day in the University Centre and is a chance to “walk in
the shoes of a Sikh for one day.”

roflanagan@guelphmercury.com

[www.guelphmercury.com]

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...


  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Now we hv synthetic insulin available but still in many parts of the world, insulin made from pancreas of pig or cow is used. In the past that was the only insulin available. Did vegetarian severe diabetic Sikhs broke their amrit by taking insulin?
    • Thats silly panthic accounts should be focused on on panthic events.
    • Qutab minar, the minar that Muslims said the call to prayer from, surrounded by ruins of demolished Indian temples.    This Jain pillar survived though as it apparently weights tons! so they couldn't pull it out.  
    • Did you guys seen on Vaisakhi, apne all over social media were sharing posts about it being Vaisakhi, Raman dam, and Navratri, on same day and how beautiful unity it is and rainbows and sunshine...yet NO other communities from Hindus to Muslim were posting about it ...only expect from our lot
    • I'm sure the Muslim call to prayer has a religious purpose, but in India it was basically a proclamation of Islamic superiority. The Sikh Misals were quite harsh towards Muslims especially the Bhangis, they had the Muslim call to prayer banned, as in those days it was a symbol of Muslim superiority over Indian kafirs.  The perfect example is the Qutab Minar complex in Delhi. I've been there and its a large complex of destroyed Hindu and Jain temples. Just ruins of pillars, arches, walls, statues. Right in the center is the Qutab Minar, tallest brick building in the world, where the qazi screamed the call to prayer from. The minar is made out of the destroyed Hindu and Jain temples scattered around it. Destroying the temples of the indigenous people and building an Islamic structure right in the center, tallest brick building in the world, where they scream their prayer from, it was a symbolic way of telling the kafirs who the boss is.  Right on top of the minar was a crown like structure. If I remember the information on the tourist boards correctly, when the British invaded Delhi they decided to remove the crown like structure from the minar, symbolising that they are the new power in Delhi, not their Muslim predecessors.  Its the reason why the Sikh mislas banned it in Lahore.  Sikhs today have forgotten that...    In fact today Sikhs themselves are helping Christians and Muslims build Churches and Mosques in the villages, where only the Gurdwara/Guru Granth Sahib ji should have religious authority.   
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use