Don’t freak out, I am a Sikh

Hi. My name is Gurshant Singh. From my last name, Singh, some of you might realise that I’m a Sikh, and I follow one of the fifth largest religions in the world, Sikhism.

The reason I’m writing this article is to create awareness about Sikhs. Many Sikhs who dons the turban with pride have to now shun themselves from it?

Why? You may ask.

Because in Singapore, we get teased for wearing it. Every week at least once I get teased.

How? You may ask.

Well, there will always be a group of teenagers (usually in groups) that play this “game”. Teasing us by pinching themselves saying “Singh what colour! Singh what colour”.

It disheartens me when I see this. I’ve wanted to write this long ago, but I’ve been busy with my exams.

So why do Sikhs wear turbans and why do they keep their hair?

In Sikhism, Kesh (sometimes Kes) is the practice of allowing one’s hair to grow naturally as a symbol of respect for the perfection of God’s creation.

Covering one’s hair with a turban was made an official policy by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. The main reasons to wear turban are to take care of the hair, promote equality, and preserve the Sikh identity. 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 7 billion people. It is a most outstanding act.

Since the 1600s, Sikhs have always stood up against tyranny. We fought against the Mughal Empire when they were forcing Islam on Hindus. Many women and children tortured, many Sikhs lost their lives. Our Gurus sacrificed their lives, some even burned to death. Despite all these, there have been many times where Sikhs continued to stand up against tyranny and to help the weak.

We made up 10% of the Indian Army in World War One despite only making up 1% of India’s population.

Sikhs are taught to love, respect and live as a democracy. Our gurdwaras ( Sikh Temple) allow people of all religions and faith to enter. Meals are served every day, and anyone is allowed to have a meal there.

So what is my purpose?

My purpose in writing this is to educate the public about the Sikh faith. Have the people making fun of turban-wearing Sikhs to stop doing so. Hope that if you ever see a Sikh being teased, stand up for him. If you’re a Sikh, stand up for yourself if you’re being teased. Don’t be embarrassed and afraid of who you are. Stand proud when you dawn a turban.

Regrettably, I am unable to express everything about my faith in one article.

So if you are interested to find out more about our faith from me, contact me @gurshant_singh on Instagram.