are your neighbor, not 'the other'.
remains true today, in the ancient tradition of ignorance,
The Bigot Detector
Sikh turban is worn by both men and women.
"The Sikh turban is not just laid on, or wrapped around the head, it is
Why do Sikhs wear the turban? Properly tying a head covering enables one to command the sixth center, the Agia Chakra. Covering the head stabilizes the cerebral matter and the twenty-six parts of your magnificent brain, which are interlocked with the neurological system and the electromagnetic field. Covering one's head creates a focus of the functional circuit of the hemispheres, and tunes up the neurological system. The whole head should be covered, not just the Crown Chakra. Any head covering that covers the whole head is acceptable; white natural fabric, such as cotton, is ideal.
BIGOT: A bigot is a person who is intolerantly devoted to his or her prejudices or opinions. The turban acts serendipitously as an effective sociological filter, i.e., Bigot Detector. See GoodGuysWearTurbans.com. See Views On Tolerance.
Note: It is NOT a customary practice of the adherents of Sikh Dharma to proselytize. Sikhs often express the term "Sat Kartar," i.e., "God is the Doer." In this sense meaning, only those with such destiny are to be Sikhs.
An Ancient Advanced Technology
The Benefit to tying the turban is that when one wraps the 5 or more layers of cloth, the temples are covered, which minimizes any variance or movement in the different parts of the skull. In other words, wearing a turban automatically provides an acupressure-like cranial adjustment, which provides an aid to all mental activities.
"The Sikh turban is not just laid on, or wrapped around the head, it is
Today, in North America, the only religious group that ties turban, are the Sikhs. The practice of wearing the turban has not only become a rarity in many religions, but to the unversed it is associated only with fanatical and militant world terrorists. Since the horror of September 11, 2001, the Sikhs have been profiled and mistakenly identified as being associated with the fanatical Muslim Taliban of Afghanistan. In the days following 9-11, the Sikh community around the world became painfully aware that many people have very little knowledge of the Sikh religion. (See In The Aftermath of 911.) A great deal of confusion existed then, as some American Sikhs were attacked, some were killed, and questions continue to this day regarding the Sikhs and their high profile tradition of maintaining full beard and tying turban. See How To Tie Turban. See Sikh style turbans. See About The Sikhs. See Hair. See Beards. See If Your Dad Doesn't Have A Beard.
Heritage of The Turban
Since the 19th century in North America the only religious group identified with the wearing of turban is the Sikhs. To American Sikhs as well as Sikhs the world over, the tying of turban is a sacred act. The tenth and last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), partly as an act of defiance in the face of the fanaticism and tyranny of the Mughal ruler of India at the time, Aurangzeb, instructed the Sikhs, just as Moses instructed the Israelites, to wear their God-given, unshorn hair under a Turban. Sikhs have sacrificed their lives to protect its honor ever since. The following is a collection of references on how the turban has been regarded throughout history.
they enter the gates of the court, they are to wear linen vestments.
They shall wear linen miter (turban), and linen drawers on their
The name "turban" is found in this form in European languages only: Greek-turban, English--turban, turbaned; French--turban, tulband; German--turban; Italian, Spanish and Portugese--turbante; Dutch--tulbans; Romanian--tulipan; in Latin, it is the miter; and it is generally traced to the Persian sarband. In Turkish, sarik is the usual name for turban. In ancient Egyptian civilization the turban was considered an ornamental headdress. They called it pjr from which perhaps is derived the word pagari or pugree, so commonly used in the Punjab of India.
The Egyptians removed the turban at the time of mourning, a custom which prevailed in the Punjab up to the end of the 19th century. The Sikh apostle, Bhai Gurdas Ji humorously narrates an incident in his Vars, that when an elderly Punjabi came to his home with his turban accidentally off, the women folk took it to be a sign of mourning and started weeping and wailing although no one was dead. The old man's turban, off his head, gave a false alarm.
in the Old Testament
One of the commands of God to Moses was to wear turban as the symbol of prophethood, holiness and divine power. This was a command obeyed by Jews and Muslims for centuries, and ignored or forgotten by Christians.
made the tunic of fine lines, woven work for Aaron and his sons,
the miter (turban) of fine linen, the tall head dress and their
bands all of fine linen, the drawers of finely woven linen, the
sash of woven linen, as the Lord had commanded Moses."
The Turban, the Tunic, and the Drawer as the Priestly Vestment: These three articles, the turban, the robe and the drawer continued to be essential parts of the priestly dress among the Hebrews after the exile. They all have an old independent history, and it is not easy to explain how they came to be combined into an independent priestly uniform.
are the vestments they must make: breast plate, ephod, robe, embroidered
tunic, turban and girdle."
The Turban as symbol of Dedication, Consecration and Essential for Anointment: The anointing of men with missionary zeal and prophetic missions required some ceremonial activities like pouring oil and fixing some mark on the turban, which was actually the crown of the priests. In a more refined form these ceremonies have symbolically survived in the Punjab to the present.
made a rosette of pure gold as the symbol of their holy dedication
and inscribed on it as the engraving on a seal, "Holy to
the Lord"; and they fastened it on a violet brand to fix
it on the turban at the top as the Lord had commanded Moses.
put the turban upon his head and set the gold rosette as symbol
of holy dedication on the front of the turban as the Lord had
commanded him. Moses then took the anointing oil, anointed the
Tabernacle and all that was within it and consecrated it.
the turban on his head and the symbol of holy dedication on the
turban. Take the anointing oil, pour it on his head and anoint
are to make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, "Consecrated
to Yahweh", as a man engraves a seal. You will secure this
to the turban with a ribbon of violet purple; it is to be placed
on the front of the turban. The tunic you must weave of fine linen
and a girdle, the work of a skilled embroiderer.
The Kingly Turban: The turban was the symbol of royalty and was used in place of the crown. It was an article of kingly regalia. Throughout the Islamic world, it continues to be used in place of the crown where monarchy exists.
Jerusalem's sake I will speak out. Until her light shines forth
like the sunrise, her deliverance like a blazing torch, until
the nations see the triumph of your right, and all kings see the
glory. Then you shall be called by a new name, which the Lord
will pronounce with his own lips. You shall be a glorious crown
in the Lord's hand, a kingly turban in the hand of your God.
as the symbol of Stoic Courage in the Face of Grief: During mourning
the people usually took off their turban, but the brave and the
holy are neither supposed to weep, nor lament, nor take off their
turban. They are to wear the turban as the symbol of stoic courage.
You are not to lament, not to weep, and not to let your tears
run down. Groan in silence, do not go into mourning for the dead,
knot your turban round your head, put your sandals on your feet.
Do not cover your beard.
you are to do as I have done; you must not cover your beards,
or eat common bread; you must keep your turban on your head, put
your sandals on your feet, do not cover your beard.
The Turban as Symbol of Dignity and Self-Respect: The turban, during the biblical world, as it is among the Indians and Arabs who wear it, was a symbol of dignity, self-respect and authority. A blemish on the turban meant a blot on one's character. So it was during the time of Old Testament prophets, and so it is now among the Sikhs and Arabs. An insult to the turban meant unbearable insult to one's personality. To take away the turban meant subjugating a person and humiliating him. During their freedom movement Sikh prisoners were forced to wear caps which they refused. "When God takes away the turban," says Prophet Isaiah; "he takes away the dignity of man."
day the Lord will take away the ankle ornaments, tiaras, pendants
and bracelets and veils, the expensive dresses, mantles, cloaks
and purses, the mirror, linen garments, turban and mantles.
Babylonians the Turban was Symbol of Youth and Strength: The turban
and beard gave them such attractive personality that women who
had not seen them were infatuated by their personality. No sooner
had she seen wall engravings of men, paintings of Chaldeans, colored
vermilion, men with sashes round their waists and elaborate turbans
on their heads, all so imperious of bearing portraits of Babylonians
from Chaldea, then she fell in love with them at first sight and
sent messengers to them in Chaldea. Belts were round their waists
and on their heads, turbans with dangling ends; all seemed to
be high officers and looked like Babylonian natives of Chaldea.
The Turban as Symbol of Justice and Charity: When Job surveys his life and protests his innocence, he recounts the good he did during his days of prosperity. He identifies the turban with righteousness and uses it as a metaphor for justice, charity and kingly dignity.
had dressed myself in righteousness like a garment. Justice for
me was a cloak and turban. I was eyes for the blind and feet for
as Symbol of Purity: Now Joshua was dressed in dirty clothes as
he stood before the angel of God. The angel said these words to
those who stood before him: "Take off his dirty clothes,
clothe him in splendid robes of state and put a clean turban on
his head." They clothed him in splendid robes of State and
put a clean turban on his head. The angel said, "I have taken
away your inequity from you. He shall wear a sacred linen tunic
and linen drawer to cover himself and he shall put on a linen
sash around his waist and wind a linen turban round his head and
these are sacred vestments and he shall bathe before putting them
a clean body, a clean white turban were prerequisites for spiritual
development of clean mind and pure soul.
The Turban has long been considered the crown of spirituality: It is essential to Sikh Dharma and also has a special significance in Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And it is interesting to note that in Islam, the angels and all the prophets are represented as wearing turbans.
Prophet Muhammad himself spoke strongly in favor of the turban, as can be seen from the following hadiths, i.e., sayings of Prophet Muhammad.
turban is a frontier between faith and unbelief." --
Turbans From Around The World
North America, Sikhs are the only religious group that wear
turbans. Sikh men and women wear a cotton turban that serves
as a meditation aid that is related to acupressure meridians,
and to cover their long and unshorn hair, which is never cut
out of a deep respect for God's creation of the human body.
Some Sikh men comb out their facial hair and then twist and
tuck it up into their turban along with the hair from their
head. See How to
tie turban. See Sikh
style turbans. See Beards.
Sikhism originated in northern India and Pakistan in the 15th century and is one of the youngest of the world's monotheistic religions. There are an estimated 20 million Sikhs in the world, with some 2 million spread throughout North America, Western Europe, and the former British colonies. The Sikhs have been an established spiritual community in the United States for more than 150 years, since before the 1850's.
Muslim religious elders from Yemen, often wear a turban wrapped around a cap known in Arabic as a kalansuwa. These caps can be spherical or conical, colorful or solid white, and their styles vary widely from region to region. Likewise, the color of the turban wrapped around the kalansuwa varies. White is thought by some Muslims to be the holiest turban color, based on legends that the prophet Mohammed wore a white turban. Not all Muslims wear turbans. In fact, few wear them in the West, and in major cosmopolitan centers around the Muslim world, turbans are seen by some as passé.
Afghan men wear a variety of turbans, and even within the Taliban, the strict Islamic government that controls much of the country, there are differences in the way men cover their heads. For example, he may wear a very long turban perhaps two twined together with one end hanging loose over his shoulder. The Taliban ambassador to Afghanistan, on the other hand, favors a solid black turban tied above his forehead. And some men in Afghanistan do not wear turbans at all, but rather a distinctive Afghan hat.
Iranian leaders wear black or white turbans wrapped in the flat, circular style as is the case of the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Greek word turban is thought to have originated in biblical times. The turban is called a sarband, or a dulband among Persians and in some areas of Iran.
Indian men sometimes wear turbans to signify their class, caste, profession or religious affiliation and turbans in India can be very elaborate. However, turbans made out of fancy woven cloths and festooned with jewels are not unique to India. As far away as Turkey, men have used the head gear to demonstrate their wealth and power.
The kaffiyeh is not technically a turban. It is really a rectangular piece of cloth, folded diagonally and then draped over the head not wound like a turban. Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, has made the kaffiyeh famous in recent times. However, the kaffiyeh is not solely Palestinian. Men in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Persian Gulf states wear kaffiyehs in colors and styles that are particular to their region. Jordanians, for example, wear a red and white kaffiyeh, while Palestinians wear a black and white one. And a man from Saudi Arabia would likely drape his kaffiyeh differently than a man from Jordan. The black cord that holds the kaffiyeh on one's head is called an ekal.
Desert peoples of Africa and elsewhere have long used the turban to keep sand out of their faces. Members of nomadic tribes have also used turbans and white kaffiyeh, while Palestinians wear a black to disguise themselves. And sometimes, the color of a person's turban can be used to identify his tribal affiliation from a distance across the dunes. In some parts of North Africa many men wear a turban of a very light blue color.
Don't link them to terrorism. America is not a country where the majority of people wrap their skulls in cloth before heading out of the house. Perhaps that explains the current confusion over Turbans.
In many regions of the globe, swaddling the head in fabric is simply a natural response to the scorching heat and dust. Scholars believe it was an ancient people living under a merciless sun who first invented the turban.
Like other types of clothing, the turban means different things depending on who is wearing it and how it is worn. But in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, the turban, originally a practical idea for protection, has become a symbol many Americans associate with terrorists.
In SeaTac last week, a man was charged with attacking a turban-wearing Sikh cab driver, calling him a "butcher terrorist." In Seattle, a man was arrested after he allegedly tried to choke a Sikh, telling him, "You have no right to attack our country." In Arizona, a man shot a Sikh gas-station owner to death, later explaining to authorities: "I'm a patriot."
Hundreds of other assaults on Sikhs have been reported across the country, a trend that strikes many as bizarrely misguided.
Yes, Sikhs wear turbans. But they have no connection to the Islamic extremists now wanted by the US.
Rather, Sikhs are members of the world's fifth-largest religion, which traces its roots to northern India and espouses egalitarianism.
President Bush describes the new American enemy as shadowy and hard to find, which may explain why some Americans are grasping for a way to identify terrorists. But equating the ancient headgear with terrorism shows how little is known about turbans.
Lesson No. 1: All turbans are not the same. Fabric head wraps and head coverings are common in a wide swath of the world, from North Africa across the Middle East and into Central Asia. At times, turbans have even been found on the heads of fashion-conscious Europeans and atop the craniums of American pop-culture icons.
Like other types of clothing, the turban means different things depending on who is wearing it and how it is worn. To see every turban-wearer as a terrorist is like assuming every person who wears shoes is a criminal.
A turban is a very long and narrow piece of cloth (12 feet is not an unusual length) made of cotton, silk or synthetics. It is wound around the head and held on by its own tension, gravity, or a chin strap.
The English word turban is believed to have come from the Persian word dulband, a word which is also thought to be the etymological predecessor of "tulip" and of the Spanish word for hammerhead shark, torbandalo.
Though no one knows exactly when and where the turban originated, carvings left by the Assyrians, who lived 3,000 years ago in the area that is now Iraq, show turbans on the heads of kings. That means that before there was Islam, or even Christianity, there were turbans.
It also means that by 1000 BCE, the turban had evolved from a strictly utilitarian piece of clothing into something used to connote nobility and power. The turban is like other pieces of fashion in this way, said Brannon Wheeler, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Washington.
Just as shoes evolved from a practical foot covering into an item of clothing that reveals a person's class and origins, so turbans evolved from a simple head covering into something that identifies people along cultural, religious, political and social lines.
Those seem to be distinctions many are unaware of. John Cooksey, a Republican congressman from Louisiana, recently offered this suggestion for weeding out terrorists: "If I see someone come in and he's got a diaper on his head, and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over and checked."
Cooksey later apologized, saying he was referring only to Osama bin Laden, but clearly the way he described the offending headgear shows a lack of turban savvy. In the picture of bin Laden posted on the FBI's Most Wanted list, the fugitive Saudi millionaire is wearing a white cloth turban wrapped in a circular, spiraling fashion.
This is not the type of head covering that requires what Cooksey called a "fan belt", a thick black cord known to people in the Middle East as an ekal. The ekal is used to hold on a kaffiyeh, the patterned head covering made famous by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Kaffiyehs are worn by men in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Persian Gulf states. They are rectangular pieces of cloth folded diagonally and draped over the head. And technically, they're not even turbans.
The American tendency to link turbans with terrorism may stem from the Iran hostage crisis, with its images of Ayatollah Khomeni and his black turban. But in most of the Muslim world, the wearing of a turban symbolizes simply religious or political power.
Many Muslim spiritual leaders wear a white turban wrapped around a spherical or conical hat known as a kalansuwa. But, cautioned UW history professor Frank Conlon, "Not all Muslims wear turbans, and not all people who wear turbans are Muslim."
In the past, emperors and leaders have worn grand turbans with feathers and jewels added as flourishes. Today, in rural regions from North Africa to India, poor farmers and nomadic people of various religions cover their heads with simple turbans, the colors and styles of which sometimes identify them as members of a particular tribe or community.
And turbans have uses beyond the obvious. In Morocco, old men have been known to store money in the folds of their turbans. In the desert, turbans are wrapped around the face and used as a protective gauze to keep blowing sand out of the eyes. Before there were police and handcuffs, legend has it that turbans were used to tie up captured enemies.
These days, in more cosmopolitan and urban areas of the Middle East, the turban is a bit out of vogue, seen as a relic of the past by young people clamoring for the styles of the West.
At the same time, in the US, the turban has been embraced among some African Americans, who see it as an Afro centric fashion. Soul singer Erykah Badu, for example, has often worn a towering turban.
The irony of the American focus on turbans in the wake of the terrorist attacks is that, at least in this country, turbans are a very poor predictor of a person's involvement in terrorist violence.
The Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI)
reported today that Arpinder Kaur, 28, of San Antonio, Texas has
become the first turbaned pilot hired by a commercial airline
in the States. As a Sikh, she has helped pave the way for both
Sikh men and women who wear a turban or dastaar to fulfill their
passion for flying. No longer does flying just have to be an extra-curricular
activity for these Sikhs, but it can also be an every-day job!
Her passion for flying first started when at the age of 15 she got to sit in the cockpit of an airplane when moving from Panjab. Despite having a degree in Information Systems and her mother’s belief that it was too dangerous for a girl to be a pilot, Kaur has chosen to follow her passion, while using it as a means for supporting her family.
said it was the love and support of her husband, Pritpal Singh
that pushed her forward on the path toward becoming a pilot. Kulbir
Singh Sandhu, captain with AMR mentored her throughout her aviation
career. From 2003 to 2005 Kaur was trained by Jesse Sherwood in
Kansas. With the help of these individuals and others along with
her own perseverance and determination, Kaur and American Airlines
have shown that accommodation and not assimilation is the way
to harness the strength of diversity in America.
a woman all men are born.
The 12 Aspirations of the Sikhs
Believe God is Truth and Word is Guru.
Believe God is the One Creator, and all of Creation is God's manifestation.
Espouse the role of woman as representing the Universal Mother.
Refrain from eating flesh food, i.e., red meat, chicken or seafood.
Refrain from using tobacco, drugs or alcohol.
Perform sadhana,* i.e., spiritual practice before sunrise, and recite banis daily.**
Believe all religion and scripture is an expression of the One Creator.
Respect the rights and freedoms of all spiritual paths.
Maintain 'Chardikala' (an exalted and positive attitude towards life and other people).
*The word Sadhana is derived from the Sanskrit words Sa, meaning all, and Dhana, meaning blessings.
**Banis are specific passages taken from the Guru and read each day.
greatest reward of doing Sadhana is that the person becomes
"The job of a teacher is to poke, provoke, confront and elevate." Yogi Bhajan
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