Supreme Court of India Questions Turban’s Necessity Within the Sikh Religion

NEW DELHI—A Supreme Court bench comprising justices SA Bodbe and LN Rao on April 20 asked a question to a petitioner that whether wearing a turban was necessary under the Sikh religion or just covering one’s head was enough. The bench was hearing a petition challenging a local cycling association’s rules that mandated a 50 years old Delhi based cyclist Jagdeep Singh Puri to wear a helmet to participate in a competition.

“We have sympathy for the cause. But have you showed us anything that makes it mandatory under Sikh religion to wear a turban only? For example Bishen Singh Bedi played cricket while simply covering his head. He never wore a turban. And what do soldiers do in battles? Don’t they wear helmets? You basically need to define what is a turban?,” the bench told Puri’s counsel, RS Suri.

Sikh cyclist Jagdeep Singh Puri

Although the lawyer tried to convince the bench by saying that the Central Motor Vehicle Act grants exemption to Sikhs from wearing helmets while driving a two-wheeler but the SC bench further depicted a biased mind-set by excusing that great Sikh sports persons have never worn a turban. “It seems to us that wearing a turban is not mandatory but covering your head is,” the bench further argued.

A sharp outrage has prevailed among the worldwide Sikh masses after surfacing of news about Supreme Court’s query on Turban.

Sharply reacting to SC’s query, the SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal has said that it is unfair to force Sikh players to wear helmet in place of turban which is an integral part of the Sikh religion. “During both world wars, Sikh soldiers fought wearing turbans. In the history of free India, there has been a turbaned president and prime minister. In foreign countries, turbaned Sikhs have got key positions in governments,” he said.

SAD (Delhi) president Paramjit Sarna has also reacted by questioning that what right does the Supreme Court or as a matter of fact anyone has to put a question mark on the proud symbol of Sikh identity.

Advocate Jaswinder Singh, who is president of a Sikh body named Akal Purakh Ki Fauj, said: “Judges’ comments are very disheartening. They are citing the example of Milkha Singh and Bishan Singh Bedi for not wearing turban to encourage Sikhs to sport patkas. They need to understand the sentiments of community while addressing any religious issue.”

Sikh24 Editors can be reached at editors@sikh24.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. If people make mistakes and do not understand the Sikh religion and do not wear a turban does not mean that turban is not necessary. They do not represent or advocate that turban is not mandatory. It is our identity and we have been fighting for it. Other countries have recognised it. And it is surprising our own country is denying our identity. Turban is part and parcel of our Sikh religion.

  2. This is a key opportunity for Sikhs to definitively explain the significance,importance and integral nature of the dastaars in Sikh living. It is not religious item that we wear simply as part of ‘worship’ or going to ‘temple’. There are many idiotic Sikhs who will respond like this. The dastaar is a critical part of the intertwined Panjaabi -Sikh civilisation. It is an expression of Panjaabi-Sikh being and cultural living, drawing on history, principle and more as one coherent, amalgamated whole . The dastaar is enshrined in Panjaabi-Sikh civilisation as an expression of saint-soldierly completeness, ethical conscience and positive action and leadership. The dastaar makes a Sikh strong and complete – emotionally and physically. You gave to be a Sikh to experience this. The dastaar is a sacred feature of Panjaabi -Sikh civilisation. The dastaar is not simply to cover your head, just as don’t learn Panjaabi language so that we cab read the Guru Granth Sahib. It is much more deeper and profound. Tragic that most Sikhs don’t have the understanding and terminology to express this. Even more tragic that most Sikhs simple swallow and regurgitate the British and current Indian colonialist misrepresentation of Sikhs just being a religion and minority, with a special days and worship and rituals. What a gigantic farce. The various Sikhs who regurgitate this rubbish are clearly inadequate in their grasp of Sikhi and Sikh civilisation. Tragic, unjust and a betrayal. Most Sikhs of this demeaning, subdued mindset wear their turbans like hats, rather than as a dastaar! Sadly. SIKHS in France have produced this same dysfunctional, clumsy information about the dastaar!

  3. Now the supreme court is going to decide how Sikhs practice their religion. Sikhs are treated as second class citizens of India and now they want to make it official. What next ?

  4. As great they maybe as sportmen, are we Sikhs going to follow Bishan Singh and Harbhajan Singh all of whom aren’t they try flag bearers of Sikh Values. We are Sikhs for our love for our Gurus and our faith.

    We became Sikhs following examples of our Gurus. Not examples of ordinary men who maybe sports heros.

    We are Sikhs for our gurus who professsed and created and exemplified Sikh Values by sporting a turban themselves.

    Who the hell is a Supreme Court we will follow ourGurus not Bishan a Singh and Milkha Singh who are ordinary humans.

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