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|Shaving The Beard - A Discussion With About A Friend Who Just Shaved.
|Thursday, 3/25/1999 6:46 PM MDT
(All names have been changed for anonymity - There are some references to "Indiakids"; this is a private mailing list of some youth who studied in India together and use the list to stay in touch and share their lives.)
I wish to ask your private assistance on a personal matter. My son, Gurpreet Singh, whom I believe you know, while at college as a freshman has recently shaved off his beard. He states that he still identifies with being a Sikh but wants to "experience new things". Gurpreet was born a Sikh, was adopted and raised by my wife, Simar Kaur, and I in the Sikh community, went to school in India for most of his education, and feels very connected with American Sikhs of his own age (e.g., he just spend two weeks out in Los Angeles this past January). In spite of, or maybe because of, all these experiences, he is now flirting with not living as a Sikh. I say flirting because even though he's shaved his beard, he's still mentally debating whether to make a commitment to Sikhism or not. I've been told that not too long ago, you also found yourself in a similar tempest, and somehow successfully came out of it. I'm hoping that you might be willing to contact some of Gurpreet's friends in Los Angeles (or elsewhere) who have committed themselves to the Dharma. I would do it myself, but I don't know which of his friends are committed. I know some who aren't committed, or whose commitment is weak, and I'm afraid that they would simply cheer his shaving as an act of independence. I would like to ask his real friends to call him and to talk with him during the next few weeks to provide him with some moral support and encouragement to make a commitment to the Dharma. Simar and I have talked to him in person as well as by phone, and he knows that while we don't approve of his decision, we will always love him. I'm hoping that if he receives some religious encouragement from his peers that it might make a difference. Otherwise, I'm afraid that Sikh Dharma will lose yet another young man to the secular society.