The questions are raised with increasing
frequency on essentiality of persons with turban, beard etc.
to represent the Sikh community in Gurdwras and other forums.
The increasing frequency is due to the fact that more and
nore persons are not keeping kesh. Non-kashdharis would articulate
their not keeping kesh for obvious reasons. The pressure would
build up still further in years to come. The reasons are several
fold but more significant ones that come to my mind straight
away (so it is not the final word but only indicative points):
1.Migration from India and the problem of assimilation in
societies where wearing turban creates difficulties.With settling
abroad being high on agenda of a vast number of the members
of Sikh community, trends with Sikhs abroad get emulated here.It
is more so where Sikhs are small in number. Sikhs in Argentina,
Bolivia ets have almost in toto become non-turbaned. Marriages
with local women accelera ted the process.(Sikhs were buried
and not even cremated! Should this become the norm, then?)
2.It is not to deny that non-keeping of kesh with newly-borns
is becoming a norm rather than an exception even in Punjab
and other parts of India.During and post 1980's,the problem
of identification through turban in India as a Sikh created
problems for several people. Acceptance into main stream was
considered more important and TURBAN, THE VISIBLE SYMBOL,was
3.General questioning of religion and religious symbols with
increasing affluence and industrialisation and movement to
metros and urban areas and tv prevailence are demanding conformity
or following of the latest fashion or trend (even though it
may leep vhanging from time to time).
4.General problems associated with being aggressive even
for peaceful defence in other words use of "kirpan"
etc. is not favourably viewed. It has association with terrorism.
There is increasing demand and reliance on following the law
of the land (even though justice in several cases is denied
or delayed)as an accepted recourse rather than individual
or group "sena" for protection of sufferers or as
a recourse to injustice however justified. In earlier Mughal
times, there was no recourse to justice through law for religious
intolerance.The situation is considered different now.....