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Know about International Turban Day?

This day also marks the Sikh festival of Baisakhi, the birth of modern Sikhism or the Khalsa

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Wikimedia.Commons

By Yajush Gupta

World Turban Day was just celebrated on April 13th. Started in 2004, this day aims to propagate awareness about the importance of the turban for the Sikh community and the requirement to don the turban for all adult males as mandated for Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh.

  • Sikhism was founded in the 15th century by the visionary peasant Nanak Bedi as a caste-less religion preaching equality.
  • Despite being the fifth largest world religion, Sikhism is one of the least understood traditions
  • The turban or “dastar” or “pagri” often shortened to “pagg” refer to the covering worn by men and some women. It is a head wear consisting of a long scarf-like single piece of cloth wound round the head or sometimes an inner “hat” or patka. Sikhism is the only religion in the world in which wearing a turban is mandatory for all adult males.
Afghan Sikh Wikimedia Commons
Afghan Sikh
Wikimedia Commons
  • Since 9/11 in 2001, the turban or the ‘pagg’ was surrounded by many controversies due to the wrongful linking of this customary head wear, with Osama bin Laden,
    the Muslim leader of al Qaeda who was often been pictured wearing a turban.

My turban is
having one of those days;
in an awkward phase,
tied ten different ways,
causing eyebrows to raise
and eyeballs to gaze.”

Harmohanjit Singh Pandher

Canadian Sikh

  • Sikhs in India have observed World Turban Day in an effort to raise awareness that Muslims are not the only people to wear a headdress as a religious duty, as there has been a spate of assaults and killings of Sikhs by extremists in the west, as the distrust and aggression against Sikh community was caused by a general ignorance about the religion.As a result, many men wearing a turban and beard were looked upon with suspicion, and were often mistaken for Islamic fundamentalists since the attacks on the US.
  • For Sikhs the turban and the kesh (uncut hair), symbolise love and obedience to the wishes of the religion’s founders more than 500 years ago.Although the keeping of unshorn hair was mandated by Guru Gobind Singh as one of the Five Ks or five articles of faith, it has long been closely associated with Sikhism since the very beginning of Sikhi in 1469.

Compiled by Yajush. Twitter: @yajush_gupta

  • Pragya Jha

    Its good to know the Indian culture is followed and celebrated internationally.

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Sikh Awareness Campaign to Inform Americans About Sikhism is being Received Well

The National Sikh Campaign launched the "We are Sikhs" ad campaign on April 14, on the occasion of Vaisakhi to raise awareness about their religion

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Sikhs and Sikhism in the United states
National Sikh Campaign launched the "We are Sikhs" ad campaign on April 14, on the occasion of Vaisakhi. Pixabay
  • According to reports, the Sikh awareness campaign to spread awareness about Sikhism among the Americans has led to a rise in positive perception about their religion 
  • Non-profit organization, National Sikh Campaign launched the “We are Sikhs” ad campaign 
  • The survey took place in Fresno, California, where violence towards the American Sikhs has been occurring repeatedly 

Washington, September 4, 2017: A recent survey has noted that the Sikh awareness campaign to inform Americans about Sikhism has led to a rise in the positive perception about their religion.

The non-profit organisation, National Sikh Campaign launched the “We are Sikhs” ad campaign on April 14, on the occasion of Vaisakhi, which is considered a holy day by the community.

The survey took place in Fresno, California, where a number of Sikhs live and where violence towards Sikhs has been increasing since the past few years. Two people were killed in Fresno, in the recent months.

Television ads, grassroots events, digital ads and significant news coverage, all form parts of the Fresno effort.

The campaign has been actively engaged since April, in airing ads, conducting grassroots events in Gurudwaras across the United States and portraying Sikhs as good neighbors, proud Americans on popular news channels like the CNN and Fox News nationwide.

We are Sikhs campaign to inform people about Sikhism
‘We are Sikhs’ campaign. Twitter

The ultimate objective of the $1.3 million campaign was to spread awareness regarding the Sikh community, their identity, their belief in equality, their values and ethics like respect for women and every religion, and important information like the religion being the fifth largest in the world.

59 per cent of Fresno residents, which apparently makes the majority, say they are acquainted with at least some knowledge about Sikhs who live in America, according to a survey, as mentioned in the Times of India.

Sixty-eight per cent considered Sikhs as good neighbors and 64 per cent saw them as generous and kind.

Also read: Sikhism in Pakistan: Recalling the Forgotten Treasures of Sikh Heritage

The division of residents who had seen the ads are twice as likely to claim that they have at least some idea about the Sikhs living in America (78 percent) than the ones who haven’t seen the ads (40 percent), the survey noted.

According to the survey results, People who are likely to identify a bearded man wearing a turban with Sikhism, makes 57 percent of those who saw the ads, while those who believe that Sikhs believe in equality and respect for all people, makes 67 percent of the residents who have had seen the ad.

And 60 per cent of Fresno residents that happened to have seen the Sikhs ad believe they have American values.

“Despite tense race relations and an extremely polarized political environment, the We Are Sikhs campaign has been able to make headway in creating awareness of Sikh Americans, who can commonly be identified by their turbans and beards,” said Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates.

“This effort is a testament to the Sikh community’s commitment to reaching out to people of all faiths to help them recognize that we all have shared values, and that is a ray of hope that proves that understanding can bring people of all walks of life together,” he added.

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Sikhs remained to be a softer target in cases involving profiling, backlash and bigotry, than the average American.

In July, two separate incidents killed two Sikh Americans in one week in California.

In March, A partially masked gunman shot a 39-year-old Sikh man in the arm, outside his home in Kent, Washington. The gunman reportedly shouted, “go back to your own country.”

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Khalsa Aid: This Sikh Relief Organisation is Restoring Faith in Humanity Since 1999

‘Khalsa Aid’ has also been assisting Yazidi women, escaped from the clutches of terrorist organization ISIS recently, by providing monthly food rations to 250 women

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Khalsa Aid
‘Khalsa Aid’, an international humanitarian aid organization being run by Sikhs, Source: Khalsaaid.org

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: Prevailing scenario across the globe suggests that the cruelty has almost wiped out the humanity and the disheartening greed of human beings has made everyone egocentric. Increasing crime rate, conflicts, corruption, and negligence, are all symbol of this transition.

Despite the widespread selfishness, a Sikh relief organization is fighting hard to preserve the soul of humanity and keeping the hope alive. ‘Khalsa Aid’ is an international humanitarian aid organization run by people of Sikh community and it is setting a perfect example of peace and compassion among people.

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This organization works for providing humanitarian aid to the people affected by disasters or are in conflict areas. Started in 1999 in the United Kingdom with UK Charities Commission, ‘Khalsa Aid’ has volunteers all over America and Asia. They have provided relief aid to most part of the Middle East where the conflicts are much serious. They have led their activities in countries like Lebanon, Haiti, Bosnia, Nepal, and Serbia.

In Lebanon and Serbia, the ‘Khalsa Aid’ has been providing food, medical and educational assistance to the refugees there. It also had supplied food aid to famine and drought struck areas of northern Kenya.

Back in 2015, the organization also rushed to Nepal after severe earthquakes hit the country and arranged food and temporary shelters for the affected citizens. It also helped in conducting missions in rubble clearance and building temporary shelters for 250 families there.

Meanwhile, at the time of Kashmir floods (2014) in India, ‘Khalsa Aid’ had actively taken part in relief measures in flood-devastated parts.

 Similar was its role during Uttarakhand floods and the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013.

Khalsa Aid helping women in need

‘Khalsa Aid’ has also been assisting Yazidi women, escaped from the clutches of terrorist organization ISIS recently, by providing monthly food rations to 250 women.

Ravinder Singh, founder of ‘Khalsa Aid’ was awarded ‘The Sikh of the Year 2014’ for doing humanitarian works all over the world. His first mission was in Albania border where Khalsa Aid provided assistance to the victims of civil war and genocide.

Though there are only a few people working for the welfare of humanity, yet there is a hope and these people are the flag bearer for the same.

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter @sumit_balodi

 

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A Delhi-based Sikh organization Urges UN to Support Turbans as Religious Symbol

Among all the Sikh practices that one has to follow, wearing turbans wrapped around the head, is a must have

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Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC)
A Delhi-based Sikh organization Urges UN to Support Turbans as Religious Symbol. Pixabay

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: A Delhi-based Sikh organization has urged the United Nations Secretary General to pass a specific resolution in the UN General Assembly.

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) under the leadership of Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the organization’s General Secretary asks UN to provide a special exemption to Sikhs residing in various countries to wear their traditional religious-symbols.

To defend and promote his point, Sirsa focused and highlighted the necessity of delving into the five articles regarding faith and symbols of their religion, as connoted by the Sikh Gurus.

In a letter, Sirsa said, “Wearing these articles of faith is a must for every Sikh man and woman. We have observed that problems being faced by Sikhs in different countries is due to laws implemented in the particular country, and the courts of these countries upheld the criminal cases against the Sikhs without any wrongdoing by them because courts are bound to follow the law of the land,” mentioned Punjab News Express report.

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Among all the Sikh practices that one has to follow, wearing turbans wrapped around the head, is a must have. Any other kind of headwear is prohibited. The lessons and the practices of Sikhism, other than equality and philanthropy, includes a few more practices like carrying a comb and “kirpan” or tiny steel-sword, donning an iron bangle, and never chopping off the hair.

It is said that these administrations lack the knowledge of the necessity of these practices. Sirsa also pointed out that the members of the Sikh community have gone beyond their limitations to contribute to the economic growth of their respective countries.

During natural disasters, they have served selflessly, and they are also quite active in the political fields. It has also been said that Sikhs are an asset in wherever they settle and whichever community they inhabit. The teachings of Guru Sahiban teach them to devote themselves to the development of the society. Sikhism becomes the fifth biggest religion around the globe through ranking so in most countries, after Christianity and Islam.

-prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC