Struggle for the right to wear the turban

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In modern times, many Sikhs, especially those outside India, have had to struggle to retain their right to wear a turban.

Sikh soldiers refused to wear helmets during World War I and World War II. Many Sikhs have refused to remove the turban even in jails. Bhai Randhir Singh, a widely respected Sikh preacher, scholar and a freedom fighter had to undergo a fast to win his right to wear a turban in prison.

In 1982, the headmaster of a private school in UK refused to admit an orthodox Sikh as a pupil, unless he removed his turban and cut his hair. This led to a long legal battle, Mandla v. Dowell Lee.

In 2002, Jasjit Singh Jaggi, a Sikh traffic policeman employed with the New York Police Department (NYPD), was forced to leave his job because he insisted on wearing a turban on duty. He petitioned with the New York Human Rights Commission in July 2002, and in 2004, a US judge ruled that he should be reinstated.

In 2004, the Sikh community protested against the introduction of a French law prohibiting the display of any religious symbol in state-run schools. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee urged the French Government to review the bill, stating that the ban would have grave consequences for the Sikhs. The Government of India discussed the matter with the French officials, who stated that an exception for turbaned Sikh boys in French public schools was not possible.

See also

These articles deal with Sikh's Five ks

Kesh (uncut hair) -|- Kara (bangle) -|- Kanga (small comb) -|- Kachera (under garment) -|- Kirpan (sword)