Me and My Turban
Are women who choose to wear turbans more Sikh than those who don't? Nikki Bedi meets the women who choose to tie the turban.
The turban is the one thing that identifies a Sikh more than any other symbol of their faith. An edict handed down in 1699 by the 10th Sikh Guru - Gobind Singh – require Sikhs not to cut their hair. The turban, part of the Bana or military uniform at that time, was used to keep and protect a Sikh's hair. However in line with its military tradition, it is something that has always been a masculine symbol and almost exclusively worn by men and not women. That is until now it seems.
“I wasn’t always like this” says Devinder, a teaching assistant from Ilford just outside London, holding up a photo album of her younger years. “I used to have cut black curls, wear make-up, go out and do what people do on nights out…but it never sat comfortably with me even then.”
Seven years ago Devinder decided to become fully baptised into the Sikh faith, stopped cutting any of her hair and began wearing a tall white wrapped turban. She is one of a growing number of Sikh women who are wearing Turbans. Nikki Bedi meets them to explore why they are so intent to identify themselves as Sikh women.
(Photo: Devinder and her daughter Har-rai. Credit: Rajeev Gupta)