Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
Sat Nam Readers!
I had coffee with Kate and Don again yesterday. Yeah…sigh, that was me, I did that. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about see http://bornasikh.blogspot.ca/2014/05/i-dont-want-to-look-like-princess-grace.html.
I was telling Don (who doesn’t go anywhere near Facebook and has probably never seen this blog), about our experience with a waitress at Glo’s Grill in Haines Junction on the weekend. If you don’t know the story of the waitress, go here http://bornasikh.blogspot.ca/2014/05/the-story-of-racist-waitress.html. Kate chimed in with “I’m telling you, you wouldn’t have this problem if you wore a big brooch on that thing.”
I sighed deeply. I don’t have this problem. Not me, Kate, not me. Kate was clearly missing the point of the waitress story. I smiled at her and told her, flat out “I don’t need a brooch to disguise my turban. I have no interest in hiding. The turban is not the problem, her hatefulness is the problem.” I can’t even begin to imagine what she’s thinking. This time, as she tells me about the big brooch she holds up her whole hand to cover a good part of her head. Really? Wow! Really?? Yeah, can’t even begin to imagine what that looks like for her. I picture some huge Faberge style spider like the one on the left except three times the size… Is this what she sees in her mind?
It’s a strangely beautiful piece of artwork…and if you’re into this sort of thing it actually is by Faberge. But it’s not for me thanks and definitely not for my turban.
Or maybe she’s thinking of something more like a Raja style turban. Here’s one (on the left) from Kyle’s Jewelry in London. This is NOT a Sikh turban. Still, I think Kate might like this one… it’s very blingy. Very, very blingy. Bling… sorry, I appear to have been distracted by something shiny…
This time, Don stopped her from continuing. Could it be that Don gets it? I hope so. Don and I have had more than one conversation about Sikhi and maybe, just maybe, he gets it…
What Don and Kate don’t get is that our turbans are sometimes decorated. I should have explained that. There are some that wear a khanda, like the one on the right. The khanda is our symbol (see it below), just like the Star of David is a symbol for Jews, the cross is a symbol for Christians and Om is a symbol of Hinduism. It is made up of three parts – first there is the double edged sword in the centre. This is also called a khanda. It symbolizes separating truth from falsehood or divine knowledge. Next is the circle or Chakar, which symbolizes that God is eternal. Finally are two kirpan, curved single-edged swords which symbolize Meeri and Peeri, concepts introduced to us by Guru Hargobind Ji.
Then there are chaand, like on the man’s turban on the right (Credit: Taren Bilkhu Photography). As I understand it, the Aad Chand is typically worn by the Nihang sect. The Aad Chand or chaand is not the same thing as a khanda. Aad Chand means half moon. There are at least two versions of it. The first seen on the man on the right and the second seen on the man in the orange turban below.
Some wear chain mail on their dumala (a style of turban). Again, as I understand it, this is something that is typically Nihang. You can see chain mail on the blue turbaned man to the right. (Credit: Babaljit Kaur).
Others still wear shastar, which you can see below. These are small axes and swords that are sometimes tucked into the folds of the turban and sometimes suspended on chain which falls outside of the folds of the turban. Once more, this seems to be typically Nihang. As are other shingar (adornments or decorations), seen below.
I don’t know a lot about the Nihang sect yet but I’m going to learn. Maybe if I can explain it to Kate, she’ll stop with the brooch talk all ready. I’ve explained why I wear a turban and why I won’t disguise my turban over and over again, without success… Or maybe I’ll just get her the hat from Kyle’s, give it to her for a birthday and I’ll learn about the Nihang sect just because they interest me.
Sat Nam Readers!