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Summary of Question:Women And Turbans
Date Posted:Sunday, 12/17/2000 9:01 PM MST

Sat Sri Akal,

I am a 19 year old sikh living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am wondering why it is that sikh women don't normally wear turbans. When I look at sikh families that don't cut their hair, I notice that the men always wear turbans and the women RARELY do. I am quite sure that when Guru Gobind Singh created the khalsa and officially made turbans part of the sikh identity, he had intended it to be worn by everyone and not just men. But even when I look at sikhs throughout history, I still notice that the women don't ever wear turbans.
Please do not answer this question by saying that there is no rule against women wearing turbans and that they are free to wear one if they like because that is what everyone tells me when I ask them. I am aware that they are aloud to were them, but I'm just wondering why it is that when a sikh man grows his hair, he wears a turban always and if he goes into public without one, he is considered to be not properly dressed and this is frowned upon, whereas most sikh women don't where one to begin with and this is considered perfectly normal. Don't you think that this is somewhat hypocritical?


You're right. At the time of Guru Gobind Singh all Khalsa wore turbans. Gender has nothing to do with Khalsa. The problem is cultural traditions. The customary subservience of women in India culture and the prevalance of the simple scarf (chuni) as a common head covering for Indian women. Many women who have restablished their identity as Khalsa have begun to wear the turban again.


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