Importance of Turban in Sikhism
The turban or "pagri" often shortened to "pag" or "dastar" are different words in various dialect for the same article. All these words refer to the garment worn by both men and women to cover their heads. It is a headdress consisting of a long scarf-like single piece of cloth wound round the head or sometimes an inner "hat" or patka. Traditionally in India, the turban was only worn by men of high status in society; men of low status or of lower castes were not allowed or could not afford to wear a turban.
Although the keeping of unshorn hair was mandated by Guru Gobind Singh as one of the Five K's or five articles of faith, it has long been closely associated with Sikhism since the very beginning of Sikhi in 1469. Sikhism is the only religion in the world in which wearing a turban is mandatory for all adult males. Vast majority of people who wear turbans in the Western countries are Sikhs. The Sikh pagdi (ਪਗੜੀ) is also called dastaar (ਦਸਤਾਰ), which is a more respectful word in Punjabi for the turban.
Sikhs and the turban go 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.
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 turban in 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 signal to others that we live in the image of Infinity and are dedicated to serving all. The turban doesn't represent anything except 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 from Sikhnet.
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 be
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 p** 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 p** 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 Guru says,
"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 p** 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.")
High Moral Values
Sikh history is full of facts that men and women of other faiths such as Hindus and Muslims felt safe when there was a Sikh around them. They felt secure from invaders and other people when Khalsa was around. The woman or the oppressed would feel safe and sound under the protection of "khalsa". It was a common saying in Punjab:
"Aye nihang, booha khol de nishang"
"The Nihangs (Sikhs) are at the door. Dear woman! go ahead open the door without any fear whatsoever."
In the ancient times, the Sikh men had to fight tough battles with the rulers. They moved from village to village at night. Sometimes they had to hide. Women folks had a very high degree of trust in the Nihangs, Sikhs who can be clearly identified by their turban and beard. Women knew that the Nihang Sikhs were of high moral character and never mistreated or molested women. So they fed them and helped them in whatever way they could.
Symbol of Zeal and Courage
There are many references in the Sikh history that describe how Guru Gobind Singh personally tied beautiful dumalas (turbans) on the heads of both his elder sons Baba Ajit Singh and Baba Jujhar Singh and how he personally gave them arms, decorated them like bridegrooms, and sent them to the battlefield at Chamkaur Sahib where they both received martyrdom. When the Sikhs go to an agitation (morcha), they usually wear a safforn color turban which is a symbol of sacrifice and martyrdom. When Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwalle courted his arrest, he wore a safforn color turban. Beauty:
"khoob teri pagri, meethae tere bolo"
In the ancient Egyptian civilization turban was an ornamental head dress. They called it pjr from which is perhaps derived the word "pugree" commonly used in India and other Asian countries.
Sign of Sardari.
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.
*WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH*