Sunday January 20, 2019
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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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The Hindu Temple of Gulyana and Sikh Samadhi in Pakistan

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Gulyana, Pakistan

By: Wali Imran (Hindu Council of Australia)

900 years old Gulyana town of about a 50,000 people, just a few kilometers South of Gujar Khan, was raised to the ground once several centuries ago, by raiders from the West. The second time it was destroyed during the 1947 partition riots.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Before 1947, the Gulyana town center was mostly Hindu and Sikh. The Hindus and Sikh owned all the businesses in the town center and Muslims were their tenants, peasants and laborers. Muslims sold their lands to pay off their debts and also handed over their crop of wheat. The Dewan, Dutt, Mohyal Brahmin, and Singh families were always part of royal elite.

Bollywood Star Sanjay Dutt is from the same branch of warrior Brahmin Dutt and belongs to the same place.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Land owners were guaranteed protection from military’s presence in Gujar Khan from the North and a rivulet from the south. This land produced sheer gold and wealthy Sikhs and Hindus lived like kings in mansions make of stone, several storey high.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Bakshi Tek Chand, Dewan Prithvi Chand Dutt, Bakshi Moti Ram and Tara Singh were the dominant names of those times.  They built temples, dug up wells for the 30-50 kanal holdings each and distributed these lands amongst their permanent serfs. They did however, treat their serfs with respect and gave them a good share of the crop — what do you expect from absentee landlords.

Gulyana, Pakistan

The Sikh had a timber business. Logs from Kashmir valley were dumped into Jhelum River and recovered downstream near Jhelum city to be sold at Gujar Khan.

The Hindus were mostly traders, money lenders and retailers.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Muslims were mostly illiterate and poor and were destined to stay that way considering the only quality boarding school in nearby Gujar Khan had 95% non-muslim attendance.

During the 1947 riots, one Sikh Bali Singh and one Hindu Lady Banto were killed in the riots but the rest were whisked away with their gold, in the safety of Gorkha soldiers. The Muslim riot crowd burnt to the ground the several symbols of oppression and got rich in the process, during the looting.

One Hindu tehsildar had the magistrate’s powers to jail someone for 6 months.

Gulyana, Pakistan

When the British left suddenly in 1947, the carefully crafted social experiment in native subjugation came crumbling down within days.

Otherwise, one 100 years old resident of Gulyana tells me, “the Hindus and Sikh were very friendly towards the Muslims, their women played around with the boys, molvi were not trouble makers then; they cared about their serfs and neighbors’, built schools, hospitals and wells for the general public. No Muslim was allowed into their kitchen however. Balraj, Sita, Beera, Ramu Shikari, Gujrati, Peecha Singh, Mangat Singh, Jawals Singh, Raab Singh, Gurdyal, were the well-known Hindus and Labbu, Gurra, Jagdev, Santa, Paacha, Chatru were the known Sikh of the time. One Tek Chand Never left for India and embraced Islam. His wife and three sons left for India. Tek Chand married a Muslim lady and had seven children. They are all in poverty now. Several of the old mansion, one dhramsala, one temple, several bowlis (watering hole) have been lost to time.

Gulyana, Pakistan

The surrounding farms around Gulyana were refreshing. The old styled spoke wells, Sikh Samadhi, Hindu temple and 100 years old Gujarati’s mansion still survives.Gulyana, Pakistan

I went into the temple inner sanctum and saw the most beautiful frescos of mixed Hindu and Sikh religious figures like hanuman, Krishna, Sita, Baba Guru Nanak, Bala, Mardana, etc.

Gulyana, Pakistan

 

Pakistan government build a dam 5 km upstream, called the Ugahaun; it’s a lovely place to fish and boat around.

The union council in 1947 had more financial powers than it does today.

In short, all the entrepreneurs, educators, administrator, jurisprudence people, revenue people, land record people and large scale farmers left in 1947.

Gulyana, Pakistan

I am astonished how Pakistan survived with an illiterate mass of people, steeped in poverty — traumatized by exploitation and mass killings.

Other interesting places in Potohar region are:

Also Read: Protecting The World, The Hindu Way

Bedi Mahal, Pharwala fort, Malot fort, Sangini fort, Rawat fort and Mankial Stupa. (Hindu Council of Australia)