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Mehtab Singh

Mohan, A Turbaned Brahmin

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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/223158.cms

PATIALA: Ironically, even as Sikhs are letting go of the turban, there are Hindu families taking to it. There are such families in almost every village, people who have clutched on to the turban through ages. Mohan Singh, a Brahmin in village Muradpur, is a typical case.

"We live with Sikhs and it has always been so entrenched in the culture that it is but natural for us to wear turbans," he said, suggesting a need to be identified with the mainstream.

Many non-Sikh cadets who get posted to Sikh regiments are also known to have grown their beards and tuck their long hair under regimental turbans.

In contrast, several Sikh officers in armoured units trim their hair and beards, although they wear the turban as part of the uniform. Afterhours, in military parlance they are referred to as "mechanised Sikhs".

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Guest PRITAM SINGH KHALSA
Afterhours, in military parlance they are referred to as "mechanised Sikhs".

I have lots that go to the local Gurdwara that trim their beards etc I thought they were sehajs :D

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A turbaned identity


M_Id_298429_NEWS.jpg

Amrita Chaudhry : Dhaula, Barnala, Sun Jul 01 2012, 21:47 hrs

Pandit Brij Lal Dhaula, 72, is busy transplanting paddy in his fields, undeterred by the harsh sun. A friend calls and this well-known kaveeshar (Punjabi folk poet) greets back, "Jai jai Ram." He is not a Brahmin wearing a tilak or a sacred thread. A number of Brahmins in the Malwa region of Punjab keep beards and wear turbans, much like Sikhs. Some Brahmins, such as those of Bhaike Pishore village in Sangrur district, also use Singh with their names. Dhaula village has some 400 Brahmin families and most of them wear turbans and keep long, flowing beards.
"This saroop (appearance) has nothing to do with Sikhism. Our ancestors used to live like this, and we are just following a tradition," says Dhaula, who gets his last name from his village. He says all farmers here have been wearing turbans and keeping beards and so do they. In fact, these have become a mark of the state's agrarian culture. Most of the farmers are Sikhs and, therefore, even non-Sikh farming communities such as Brahmins, many Dalit communities and even a number of migrant labourers from other states wear turbans and grow beards to blend in.

"This phenomenon is cultural. When I was studying Sanskrit at Barnala, I used to wear a dhoti and a bodi (a shock of hair on the head) but when I returned to the village and took over the seat of my father, I donned this look which was a common thing then. My son too follows the same," says Pandit Sadhu Ram, the village priest. When he and his son, Mangal Ram, say their names, they get curious looks from many. These villagers are Saraswat Brahmins, with a few Gaur Brahmin families too. The youth of the community, however, prefer to be clean shaven, obviously under modern influences.

Ram Swarup Sharma, a retired teacher, too looks like a Sikh. He says the phenomenon is cultural, not religious. "We have been able to maintain it despite a divide between the Sikhs and the Hindus during terrorism. We did not convert to Sikhism, though many of us follow the Sikh way of life. This is a cultural mix," Sharma says. Well-known Punjabi writers such as Ram Saroop Anakhi and Om Parkash Gaso are also turbaned-bearded Brahmins.

However, these days, identities are hardening. Dhaula now has a Brahmin Sabha. "My sons took to agriculture, and no one was educated enough to become a priest. Now my grandsons will go to Haridwar to study the scriptures and become priests," says Pandit Sadhu Ram. But will they support a turban and a beard? "These days, everyone wants to keep their hair short. Even many Sikhs do not like wearing turbans any more," he says.

The land-owning, bearded-turbaned Brahmins are called Jatt-Bahmans. Parsa, the protagonist of Jnanpeeth Award-winning writer Gurdial Singh's famous novel of the same title, is a Jatt-Bahman. And many of them, even if they are not Sikhs, aren't too conscious about their Brahmin identity eitherthey are plain farmers. Amrit Pal, another Brahmin of this village, can't even recall his gotra. "My father wears a turban and his name is Sri Krishna. We have never used any surname," he says.

These Brahmins, who look like Sikhs, are different from 'Brahmin Sikhs'. Brahmin Sikhs don't follow Vedic rituals, and many of them are even baptised Sikhs. They are spread in a large number of villages in this region. Brahmins, just like people from all other castes, embraced Sikhism, but in small numbers. Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Sati Das, who were martyred along with Guru Teg Bahadur at Chandni Chowk, were from the Chhibber clan of Brahmins.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-turbaned-identity/968750/0

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Wearing of the Turban was an integral part of Indian identity just a few generations ago. Besides Sikhs even the common Hindu and Muslim would wear a Turban. It seems right after 1947, both in India and Pakistan, the common man stopped wearing the Turban. Today only the Sikhs wear it but sadly it's becoming increasingly rare amongst the Sikh youth who are becoming Patit.

In the Indian army many Sikh officers are no longer even turban wearing Sikhs. I have relatives who are officers in the Indian army, they are all either clean shaven or even if they are turbaned, then their sons(and son in-laws) are clean shaven and it's likely that if they continue their family tradition of joining the army they will be clean shaven. Just by looking at them you can barely tell them apart from the Hindus. But thankfully the common Sikh soldier is still in Sikhi sroop.

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In MRS's Raaj everyone wore a dastar and kept kesh. Outsiders couldn't tell the difference.

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In MRS's Raaj everyone wore a dastar and kept kesh. Outsiders couldn't tell the difference.

That's true. The Hindus, Muslims and Europeans that were in MRS's army were all men who kept their long beards. They were almost indistinguishable from the Sikh Sardars. Those were the good old days.

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Isn't it the case that by definition one can not be born a Sikh?

Therefore it follows that one lives the identity with dastar/dhari, otherwise they are part of the Hindu fold.

They might be punjabi hindu's or sikh oriented hindus but how can they claim Sikhi when that means associating oneself with kesh in the manner that Bhai Taru Singh did?

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The main reason for the depletion of the turban, was the british who presented a clean shaven, cropped hair image as being more superior and civilized, which unfortunately the indians seem to accept especially the hindus.

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because the word brahmin has been repeated in Media so many times with RSS stereotypes easily conjure up.

Ive had the opportunity to grow up in a mixed area. One particular brahmin guy ( who did not even look indian) built a hardman rep. To walk on those streets then you either look over your shoulder before you got an iron rod over your head or you had to build your own rep. Long story short, Brahmin guy taught me a valuable lesson. " DO not stand up for any bloke here by placing your life on the line if they wont stand up themselves, otherwise youl have idiots who will never value you risking the result" .

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Kashmiri Pandits in 1890s

KashmirPundit1895BritishLibrary.jpg

Kashmir-hindu-priests.jpg

I guess this is what all of them looked like when they visited Sahib Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Patshah Jee Maharaj in 1675 at Sri Anandpur Sahib.

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In MaLWA region of Punjab you will find many Hindus wearing turbans with hair and beard intact.

Many of them believe in Guru Granth sahib as their guide.

Many writers such as Ram Saroop ankhi, sant Ram Udasi were keshadhari sikhs.Their names are

misleading.

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I think 1857 ultimately caused the divide, in the mind of the common man.

He was never told of the wars few years before where the foreigners and hindus and muslims tried to conquer the Sikhs.

Only that they were defeated by the Sikhs in 1857.

You can slowly see after that, with many hinduvta advocates being clean shaven that the Dastaar Identity faded.

--

It may also be due to a decline in militarism many pathans in Toronto who are older, wear a turban too.

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