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After struggling for an ideal Sikh beard, he's easing up on his face - but not his faith


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https://www.cbc.ca/radio/docproject/raising-hair-1.4796906/after-struggling-for-an-ideal-sikh-beard-he-s-easing-up-on-his-face-but-not-his-faith-1.4797667

 

After struggling for an ideal Sikh beard, he's easing up on his face - but not his faith

"Is 'struggle beard' a term?" asked Tej Swatch when asked to describe decades-long battle with his beard

Tanara McLean · Posted: Oct 05, 2018 4:43 PM ET | Last Updated: October 29, 2021
 
tej-s-beard-before-and-after.jpg
Tej Swatch spent years perfecting his beard-beautifying regime — until one day when it all became too much. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

This story was first published in October 2018.

It turns out the saying "beauty is pain" applies to beards, too.

 

For nearly 20 years, Tej Swatch struggled with the same painful, daily beard-grooming routine.

At peak beard, Swatch spent at least 30 minutes a day tugging, blow-drying, pasting, hair-spraying and bunning his seven-inch beard. Most days, it didn't even turn out the way he wanted.

I don't like having a painful face anymore.- Tej Swatch on the stakes of ultimate beard upkeep

"It was a struggle," he said, "Is 'struggle beard' a term?"

"If it didn't work out that means you had to spend a bit more time doing that whole procedure again, up to the point where you actually have to wash out all your product and start all over again," he said, stroking his face.

 
tej-beard.JPG
Tej's beard at its longest, 2002. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

Perfecting the technique

Swatch started growing a beard at 14, but by the time he reached his late teens he was getting teased by other Sikh men about his untidy turban and beard.

So Swatch, now 42, set out to become a master beard-sculpter, something he says comes with the territory for Sikh men.

He spent years curating his beard-beautifying arsenal, including the perfect hair-dryer, shampoo, gel and brush.

"It just needed to be pasted down. It needs to be straight," Swatch says.

To achieve that beard straightness, Swatch used a Thathi — a cloth commonly used by Sikh men to groom their beards.

"You tie it on the top of your head, and you look like an old cartoon character with a toothache," he says, laughing, although it was no laughing matter taking the Thathi off when his beard was set.

"You would carefully peel it off and take some hairspray, then you'd dry that so you have a final finish."

 
tej-pasted-beard-1.jpg
To achieve the beard style like seen in this photo, Tej Swatch said it took at least 30 minutes, using multiple products, a specific brush and a hair-dryer. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

The Five Ks

Keeping a perfectly manicured beard isn't just ego or vanity. Impeccable grooming and hygiene are important elements of Sikh culture.

Sikhs can be initiated into a community called the Khalsa, who live by a collective of symbols known as the Five Ks:

  • Kesh: Uncut hair
  • Kanga: A wooden comb
  • Kara: An iron bangle worn around the wrist
  • Kachera: Wearing clean undergarments
  • Kirpan: A dagger or sword

Kesh, pronounced kay-ess, is all about not cutting your hair, on your head or your face.

"The reason these factors exist is that they came about around the time when Sikhs were being persecuted in India," said Swatch. "The point of it was these five symbols should signify who they are."

 
tej-s-parents-on-their-wedding-day.jpg
Tej says his father's beard, pictured here, was always the one he modeled his own after. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

The father of all beards

When Swatch started growing a beard at 14, his Dad's beard was the ultimate example for him.

"He was this splendid Sikh man who had this very nice turban and he had this nice fully groomed beard that didn't look cut, it was just something that was totally under control," said Swatch.

"He had a way of brushing it out and then tying a little bun and putting it under his chin before he went off to work."

The younger Swatch insists that despite his efforts, he never got his beard in peak condition like his father's. Eventually the 30-minute daily process was just too painful. 

 
post-clipped-beard.jpg
The "after" photo: Tej's beard is now roughly two inches long, five inches shorter than he kept it in previous years. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

"Pasting it down, the hair would start to pull down … and some hair would inevitably get plucked out."

After giving it some hard thought about three years ago, Swatch decided it was time to cut his beard. The pressure, the stress, the time investment — it all became too much. 

"I concluded that it's not how long you keep your beard, it's that you keep a beard. People still identify me as a Sikh," he said. "I don't like having a painful face anymore."

Swatch still keeps a beard, but it's only about two inches long now.

 
tej-and-arjun.jpg
Tej and his son Arjun, whose beard hasn't quite started to come in yet. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

Although his parents still ask once in a while if he'll grow it back, Swatch's beauty-beard days are a thing of the past.

"It's just not who I am," he says.

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On 1/10/2022 at 1:58 PM, asinghb said:

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/docproject/raising-hair-1.4796906/after-struggling-for-an-ideal-sikh-beard-he-s-easing-up-on-his-face-but-not-his-faith-1.4797667

 

After struggling for an ideal Sikh beard, he's easing up on his face - but not his faith

"Is 'struggle beard' a term?" asked Tej Swatch when asked to describe decades-long battle with his beard

Tanara McLean · Posted: Oct 05, 2018 4:43 PM ET | Last Updated: October 29, 2021
 
tej-s-beard-before-and-after.jpg
Tej Swatch spent years perfecting his beard-beautifying regime — until one day when it all became too much. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

This story was first published in October 2018.

It turns out the saying "beauty is pain" applies to beards, too.

 

For nearly 20 years, Tej Swatch struggled with the same painful, daily beard-grooming routine.

At peak beard, Swatch spent at least 30 minutes a day tugging, blow-drying, pasting, hair-spraying and bunning his seven-inch beard. Most days, it didn't even turn out the way he wanted.

I don't like having a painful face anymore.- Tej Swatch on the stakes of ultimate beard upkeep

"It was a struggle," he said, "Is 'struggle beard' a term?"

"If it didn't work out that means you had to spend a bit more time doing that whole procedure again, up to the point where you actually have to wash out all your product and start all over again," he said, stroking his face.

 
tej-beard.JPG
Tej's beard at its longest, 2002. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

Perfecting the technique

Swatch started growing a beard at 14, but by the time he reached his late teens he was getting teased by other Sikh men about his untidy turban and beard.

So Swatch, now 42, set out to become a master beard-sculpter, something he says comes with the territory for Sikh men.

He spent years curating his beard-beautifying arsenal, including the perfect hair-dryer, shampoo, gel and brush.

"It just needed to be pasted down. It needs to be straight," Swatch says.

To achieve that beard straightness, Swatch used a Thathi — a cloth commonly used by Sikh men to groom their beards.

"You tie it on the top of your head, and you look like an old cartoon character with a toothache," he says, laughing, although it was no laughing matter taking the Thathi off when his beard was set.

"You would carefully peel it off and take some hairspray, then you'd dry that so you have a final finish."

 
tej-pasted-beard-1.jpg
To achieve the beard style like seen in this photo, Tej Swatch said it took at least 30 minutes, using multiple products, a specific brush and a hair-dryer. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

The Five Ks

Keeping a perfectly manicured beard isn't just ego or vanity. Impeccable grooming and hygiene are important elements of Sikh culture.

Sikhs can be initiated into a community called the Khalsa, who live by a collective of symbols known as the Five Ks:

  • Kesh: Uncut hair
  • Kanga: A wooden comb
  • Kara: An iron bangle worn around the wrist
  • Kachera: Wearing clean undergarments
  • Kirpan: A dagger or sword

Kesh, pronounced kay-ess, is all about not cutting your hair, on your head or your face.

"The reason these factors exist is that they came about around the time when Sikhs were being persecuted in India," said Swatch. "The point of it was these five symbols should signify who they are."

 
tej-s-parents-on-their-wedding-day.jpg
Tej says his father's beard, pictured here, was always the one he modeled his own after. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

The father of all beards

When Swatch started growing a beard at 14, his Dad's beard was the ultimate example for him.

"He was this splendid Sikh man who had this very nice turban and he had this nice fully groomed beard that didn't look cut, it was just something that was totally under control," said Swatch.

"He had a way of brushing it out and then tying a little bun and putting it under his chin before he went off to work."

The younger Swatch insists that despite his efforts, he never got his beard in peak condition like his father's. Eventually the 30-minute daily process was just too painful. 

 
post-clipped-beard.jpg
The "after" photo: Tej's beard is now roughly two inches long, five inches shorter than he kept it in previous years. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

"Pasting it down, the hair would start to pull down … and some hair would inevitably get plucked out."

After giving it some hard thought about three years ago, Swatch decided it was time to cut his beard. The pressure, the stress, the time investment — it all became too much. 

"I concluded that it's not how long you keep your beard, it's that you keep a beard. People still identify me as a Sikh," he said. "I don't like having a painful face anymore."

Swatch still keeps a beard, but it's only about two inches long now.

 
tej-and-arjun.jpg
Tej and his son Arjun, whose beard hasn't quite started to come in yet. (Submitted by Tej Swatch)

Although his parents still ask once in a while if he'll grow it back, Swatch's beauty-beard days are a thing of the past.

"It's just not who I am," he says.

Well good for him. He finally stopped having a Dhari for all the wrong reasons. Thank you mass media for another weird heart warming story designed to undermine Rehit. 

Almost every woman in the world spends more time on her hair. If she gets a hair cut or changes her routine nobody gives a <banned word filter activated>. 

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1 hour ago, jkvlondon said:

 

The people teasing his beard must be his fixo uncles, dad and cousins  of course we know that he would never mention the truth .  I am reading a very good little book by a white Sikh about how Britons came and forced their ideas including  beard= dirty narrative on sikhs and how their lapdogs started tying beards and starching dastars unlike the dastars of the sikh fauj with their dhardaan 'parkash' and freshly tied dumalla .

It is one thing to be inferior and another to 'feel' inferior  ; this man has ingested his family's lack of spine wholesale for no reason . You can be sure his little one will be even more lax , such a shame

Which book, jee ?

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48 minutes ago, S1ngh said:

Not reading the article as it looks stupid write-up justifying the usage of "get rid of beard" society stigma in this world. If you see from the pictures comparison, you will see how author picked the fat guy and slim guy in comparison and one can judge the biased standpoint of the writer based on this pick. 

I don't think he trimmed it right? it is just that he is now putting lot of chemicals and glue it down? I used to this un-natural process back in the days and i have no issues with folks doing it or not doing it. However, i would like everyone male/female to stay on the natural beauty. 

it is all the same guy fat and slim

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14 hours ago, jkvlondon said:

please note in his youth he wore his dharda parkash and a gol dastar  but post brainwashing he started wearing the ghulami bhes of Patiala shahi pagg and fixo tied beard and NOW he looks like a typical kenyan sikh with turban  but trimmed beard .

This is a broken man .

What type of dastaar do the men in your family tie?

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What is the most minimal, least royal dastar I can wear upon receiving Amrit? I'm vibing with a simple dastar, tied like Namdharis..ish but probably over the ears. 

What is it called when you tie a Dastar but mainly wrapped circularly around the horizon? Making a thin uniform cover? Not the more elaborate Dumalla that overlap on angles, for which I'm not worthy. 

Oh..like Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Shaheed wears, but maybe less length? What's that called?

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