I have to reply to this mail because I think it involves every one of us.
Basically, I'm going to respond to a couple of things in this mail, and if all of you aren't interested in reading it, just trash it. This brings us straight back to the great turban debate which so many of us have gotten ourselves involved in again and again on this indiakids hotline.
First of all, I don't think that there is anyone who would, in fact, cheer Gurpreet for shaving his beard (at least I can't relate to the concept of it.) I would be interested to hear someone's reasoning behind cheering his shaving if in fact such a reaction exists among us. What I think that Gurpreet's parents may have misunderstood as cheering is the support of his friends. Supporting someone in their decisions and their indecision is not trying to push them in any particular way. That is not support at all, in my opinion. Because I think that many of us have been through this exact same thing or are still going through it - the decision of how sikhism will be a part of our lives - we can relate to Gurpreet's choice and we understand that it is just a part of the growing process every human makes as they walk along life's path. His friends, both turbaned, unturbaned, and cut hair, will be able to offer him their personal experiences if they wish. They will all be valid, regardless of what personal choices each person has made. I would support him if he decides to shave his beard for the rest of his life. I would also support him if he were to grow it back and wear full bana for the rest of his life. I would hope that whatever his decision, he maintains a steady focus on what his beliefs are and that he has a personal connection with God in some way.
For his parents to assume that people who have cut their hair are not real friends is one of the most painful assumptions I have ever heard. His friends are the people who love him, care for him, understand him. His real friends are probably represented amongst various personal choice groups. Gurpreet is a person who will make his own way in life. He can be a great or terrible man if he chooses. I can't say that I know him as a man, but I would hope that his shaving his beard makes absolutely no difference to anyone in their friendships with him. I would hope that his parents could understand that they also chose different paths from their parents. Everyone has to go through life in their own way. The turban is a great tool to keep one connected to one's beliefs and to remember one's God. It is not the only way, though. It may be Gurpreet's way one day, it may not. I think what every one needs is the loving support to make a decision that they can live with - not that other people would prefer them to live with.
I hope I haven't offended anyone with this mail - most of all Gurpreet or his parents. I just wanted to offer an opinion.