What is it like to have uncut hair for a Sikh?


Dhillon Sa'aB™
Staff member
well, I can speak from experience!

I am a Sikh and I have uncut hair since.....kinda always.

I had them during late 80s and early 90s when having uncut hair was actually considered "cool" for Sikhs.

I had them during late 90s and early 2000s when the trend took a dip and more and more Sikh guys actually "opted" out of this cultural, religious and family tradition. Mostly because definition of "cool" suddenly changed for them!

I had them when I went to my college in Mumbai and had to face many "sardar" jokes and jabs. But the amazing thing is that most of those guys who used to make such jokes are now my closest friends and most ardent supporters.

I had them when people used to ask me "Don't you feel hot with that turban?" and I used to give them a "cool" smile.

I had them when my younger brother decided to do away with them and I totally respected his choice and decision.

I had them even when my parents "allowed" me to cut them, if I desired so.

I have them even now, after 25 years of my life.

I have not kept them due to some religious bounds or family trends neither have I cut them due to peer pressure or social derision.

I believe that being a turbaned Sikh actually has its quite unique advantages. Majority of people believe that "sardars" are fun loving, very friendly people who form the heart of most friend circles or groups. Maybe looking "physically different" is what drives us to try even harder for being accepted as part of a social circle. Maybe we are so friendly because we have learned the most difficult art of "laughing at our own selves" as a result of such "sardar" jokes and hence all other matters that usually disrupt a friendship, seem petty to us.

Whatever may be the case, I like being a turbaned Sikh.

While standing on a Mumbai Local Train Station platform among thousands of fellow passengers, I like being so different.
And yet people will not hesitate approaching me because they know I will be jolly.

I like the fact that outside Punjab wherever I go, people will usually remember me even after a single meeting and if by some luck I happen to meet another sardar, we would treat each other as some long lost brother.

I like the fact that we are considered hard working and honorable people and you would never find a turbaned Sikh beggar.

And, I like the fact that we are so adaptable to different climates, situations and people that you would find us in many countries and sometimes at very prominent positions.

I like being who I am and despite whatever people may presume, for me at least, to have uncut hair as a Sikh, is pure bliss, because it makes me part of a group of some amazing people.

-- Gurvinder Singh Gill