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Dastar Questions...

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Sat Sri Skal, I am new here... a white convert to Sikhi (though not 3HO not that theres anything wrong with 3HO I am just not into yoga - my Sangat here are 99% Punajbi) I am going to India end Oct and plan to take Amrit at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara while there. After doing Amrit I would like to wear dastar all the time... (gol dastar is the one I am learning and practicing daily now) My dilemma lies in my career... I am in the Canadian military. Though there is allowance for male SIkhs in the CAF to wear their turbans, it only says for women to wear their hair in a bun at the back of the head and wear normal CF head dress... I plan to challenge this as it's discriminatory towards any Sikh women who would like to wear dastar in their uniform (even though I don't think there are even that many SIkh women in the CAF yet) so I will likely be the FIRST woman to challenge this - and I am stating that even though not all Amritdhari women wear a dastar, many do chose to.

I am worried that I will be ridiculed from ALL angles with this.... Questions running through my mind:

1) How will my co-workers treat me? How will other CAF members and Officers treat me, just walking around the base?

2) Will anyone take me seriously (even though my dog tags do say Sikh as my religion)?

3) Do I have any right to fight for Sikh women in the CAF to be able to wear dastar if they choose so, when I am not Punjabi and Sikhi is seen as a very ethnic religion. (I have already told people I am Sikh and gotten the response "But... you're not Indian" many times!! I and You all know anyone can become Sikh, but majority of public don't!)

4) How will any other Sikhs in the CAF see this? Will THEY take me seriously???

It would be easier if I was a civilian - no uniform to worry about. But I will stand out - very much so - wearing dastar in uniform....

Any input?

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Yes I have contacted him (through work) that FB page is not actually made by him! :)

He said its no problem to challenge the dress regs as they are currently written, because the military by law must accommodate.

It's the other issues.... how I will be perceived. Will I have the strength to keep wearing it after guys I work with make fun and say hurtful things (which I KNOW will happen) I want to be strong mentally to do this, but I don't know if I will be able to... :( and even worse is most Sikh women don't wear dastar so they won't even understand why I want to and why I'd put myself through that. There is only one girl here who does... she is Amritdhari... but not military... I know her from the Gurudwara.

And then there is the Gurudwara.... how will most of them see it??? Will they think I am just 'trying too hard' etc??

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It sounds like you are projecting what you think people think onto them. Why do you care? If someone ridicules you, say something back in a witty way if you are that bothered. Bigots will never cease to be bigots.

But, beware that the insolent crow
Can lay not its hands upon one whose protection is Huma, the Bird of Heaven.

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It's the other issues.... how I will be perceived. Will I have the strength to keep wearing it after guys I work with make fun and say hurtful things (which I KNOW will happen) I want to be strong mentally to do this, but I don't know if I will be able to...

In a way it's good that you've reflected on this before hand because it gives you chance to try and inoculate yourself a little bit before hand (which is probably what you are doing now anyway, even if subconsciously).

I say the following acknowledging that it is advice that I've struggled to follow myself many times. I don't wear a dastaar myself but I do know about being different from the majority because I was part of the first generation to grow up where I did in the UK. Times were different to now and people did a lot of what you speak of above to early immigrants and/or their children.

It's sad that people behave in this way, but it isn't uncommon. Sometimes, maybe rarely, we get a pleasant surprise and find people not behaving like we may expect. But in case they do maybe the following will give you some ideas.

Firstly remember that people who behave like that do it to get a rise, which in turn gives them a feeling of empowerment and sense of superiority - of control. Now that I'm older I realise it is one of the most common manifestations of what we call haumai and ahankaar in Sikhi terms. A good way to diffuse encounters like this at the offset, is to act cool and slightly surprised in the face of insults i.e. raise an eyebrow, briefly look at the person like he/she is some sort of imbecile and saunter off - maybe shaking you head in disbelief ever so slightly as you leave. Pathetic bullying wannabe types usually move on themselves once they realise that the pantomime they want to put on isn't happening.

It's very important to BE YOURSELF. You don't need to explain or justify your decisions regarding your faith to anyone. It's a personal thing between you and our creator. There is no need to justify, convert, explain your choices. If people ask you, you can say something like: 'That's a long story I don't want to get into right now, maybe we'll talk about it some other time?' Be aware. People sometimes draw others into these types of conversation to try and find an opportunity to try and 'take the mick' as they used to say around here.

Develop thick skin. What you may go through will give you a deep insight into other people's behaviour and your own response to it. It hurts when people say cruel things, but we also get better at dealing with it. Remember, if they do come, comments are likely to come sporadically and seemingly randomly. It wont be like that all the time.

I might be wrong on this point but sitting here in the UK, Canadian 'bitchiness' seems infinitely less vicious than the say US or UK type. Put on a metaphoric 'iron shirt' and face things down. Don't expect the worse but maybe have some prerehearsed retorts to respond to typical stupid comments.

Lastly RELAX. God's got a plan for us all and will unveil yours to you. Try and see what you can learn and how you can push your own self higher with whatever comes your way.

If you get knocked down, take a few breaths, heal up, dust yourself down and go in for round 2, 3, 4, and so forth. That's what a lot of us have been doing for years.


I have no idea if this is going to be of any help!

Edited by dalsingh101
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