BOUNTIFUL — To PJ Singh, wearing a Sikh turban is partly a fashion statement. “I don’t have to dye my hair to be fashionable,” the Layton resident said, gesturing to his canary yellow turban and matching striped shirt. “I have green, for St. Patrick’s Day, red for Christmas.” The head covering known as a Dastar could also be a helmet, he said, pointing out that its tight rolls would deflect a blow from even the sharpest sword. In fact, that’s how the turban got its start among the Sikhs (pronounced seeks), who organized about 500 years ago in the Punjab region of South Asia. They wore the turbans in battle, Singh explained. Sikhs are also characterized by avoiding meat and wearing their hair uncut as a sign of respect to God. “God is the perfect creator. He will give you whatever is required,” said Singh, who attends temple with his family weekly. “Hairs all over have a specific length, a specific purpose. If you don’t understand the purpose, that’s a different thing.” Despite its utilitarian value, the Dastar is primarily a sign of constant communion with the Divine Light, Singh said. To faithful people all over the world, the spot where hair joins together like a seam at the top of the head is very sacred, it is where we are connected to God, he explained. People of many faiths cover that spot as they pray. For Sikhs, covering the seam at all times means being connected with God in every moment. Like Sikh men, some women wear turbans or shawls, and many faithful adherents even cover their heads as they sleep and exercise. With about 27 million members, Sikhism is the world’s eighth-largest religion. Across the globe, Sikhs outnumber Jews. In the U.S., there are about 200,000 Sikhs, according to estimates by the Pew Forum.
For more information check out the Sept. 13 edition of Davis Clipper.