Sikh - Forms and Symbols

Sikh - Forms and Symbols

Product ID: 9112

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Author: Mohinder Singh
Publisher: Manohar
Year: 2000
Language: English
Pages: 178
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8173043108


Relevance of Sikh symbols, especially the turban , is being questioned time and again by the host societies in UK, Canada and USA. Referring to an earlier reference in 1926, this work examines all aspects of these traditional symbols.

The issue of preserving hair and other Sikh symbols became a matter of serious concern when a Sikh friend from the United States addressed a letter to the Sikh intelligentsia in India, Punjabi translation of which was published in a popular Sikh daily. In this letter, the young friend explained his dilemma that as a devout Sikh he was not prepared to resolve the controversy by discarding his religious symbols as most of the Sikh pioneers had done while staying abroad. At the same time he was unable to find coherent reasons in support of the traditional symbols in an alien and hostile atmosphere. He prayed that the thinking Sikh minds should help him get out of the impasse. Gyani Sher Singh took the initiative of circulating the English version of the letter to some eminent Sikh scholars of that time to get their opinions.

Relevance of Sikh symbols, especially the turban, is being questioned time and again by the host societies in UK, Canada, and USA. On the Calgary-based group of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), veterans filed a suit in a Federal Court challenging the constitutionality of changing the dress code regulations in the force that allowed Sikh officers to wear turbans instead of Stenton hats. A few years later, a California school principal questioned the Sikh students' right to wear the Kirpan.

However, in both the cases the Sikhs got the right to wear turbans and kirpans as a result of peaceful legal battles and support of the Sikh societies and on-Sikh friends and sympathizers.


MOHINDER SINGH is currently Director of the National Institute of Punjab Studies, Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan, New Delhi.