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females wearing dastars ?

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Dastaar (turban) is a very important part of Sikh religion. To Sikhs it is more than what is a crown to a king or queen. Sikh Gurus showed a great respect to turban. But some people think it is only for men and women are not required to wear it. This article will explain why Sikh women should wear Dastaar (turban).

First I will quote from Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Ji says "Saabat Soorat Dastaar Sira" means "Let your total awareness be the turban on your head" (Page 1084). This clearly states that a Sikh is instructed to live a natural life and have unshorn hair and to protect and keep those hair clean he/she must wear a Dastaar on his/her head. This line does not make an exception to women. Sikh Gurus gave women the equal rights. Both men and women are given the same message which means the above line implies to both not only to men. If we are Sikhs of Guru Granth Sahib Ji then we must wear Dastaar doesn't matter if you are male or female.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Rehtname make very clear points about women wearing Dastaar. Guru Gobind Singh Ji said "Jab Lab Khalsa Rahe Niara, Tab Lag Tej Diyoon Mein Saara" which means "As long as Khalsa preserves its uniqueness and follows the path of true Guru I will bless them with all of my powers." This clearly shows that Khalsa must have its uniqueness which means to have that uniqueness one must have a Dastaar on his/her head. Furthermore, when Bhai Jait Mal Ji presented the head of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Guru Ji said "I will give my Sikh a distinct and unique appearance which will allow him to be recognized while standing in millions". This uniqueness comes from following the path of Sikhi which is to have unshorn hair and wearing Dastaar on the head. One can easily recognize a Sikh by looking at his appearance and most of that does come from Dastaar. Guru Ji did not say that he would give uniqueness only to men. When Guru Ji said "Khalsa" he meant men and women both. Men and women both are Khalsa. Guru Ji gave the same Rehat Maryada, same uniqueness, same message, same symbols, same religious Bana (dress) and same rights then how are women excluded from wearing Dastaar. Guru Ji made no distinction and referred to men and women as Khalsa and instructed them to wear Dastaar. In above line the word "Niara" clearly means different from others and it does mean wearing Dastaar. It doesn't say only men have to be "Niara".

Furthermore, Guru Gobind Singh Ji said "Khalsa Mero Roop Hai Khaas" which means "Khalsa is my own self image." Again, Khalsa means men and women both. Guru Ji did not make two different Sikhs or Khalsa. He made one Sikh and there can only be one type or kind of Sikh. There is only one Khalsa. Women make different hair styles, color their hair, and tie them in the back which is prohibited. Those women are nowhere near Guru Gobind Singh Ji's image. Guru Ji always wore Dastaar. Not only Guru Gobind Singh Ji but all of the other nine Gurus practiced wearing Dastaar. So how are women who dye their hair "Roop" (image) of Guru Gobind Singh Ji? They are not. Guru Ji had one image not two. Guru Ji had unshorn hair and wore Dastaar. Women without Dastaar do not even come close to that image. When those women look in the mirror, do they see Guru Gobind Singh Ji? I don't think so. Dastaar is a sign of dignity. Men still have their dignity but where is women's dignity? They have lost it in fashion. Not many Sikh women wear Dastaar but their numbers are growing. Even white Sikhs men and women wear Dastaar. Women must wear turban as instructed by Guru Ji himself because that's what makes them unique and an image of Guru Ji.

Right up to the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sikh women had been steadfast in following the edicts of the Satguru in respect to their spiritual inner life as well as dress, including Dastaar. That is what J. D. Cunningham himself saw and wrote in the middle of the Nineteenth Century when he wrote his book, History of the Sikhs. He writes: "The Sikh women are distinguished from Hindus of their sex by some variety of dress but chiefly by a higher top knot of hair." Even after the Punjab came under the British rule, Dastaar was conspicuously seen in case of Sikh women as well as men right up to the Gurudwara movement and the establishment of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee in 1926. Until then, no one - man as well as woman was allowed to be baptized (by taking Amrit) at Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib without Dastaar. At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the present one, as a result of the Sikh renaissance movement, a number of Khalsa schools for girls were established in Punjab. Small Dastaar was prescribed as an obligatory head dress for students as well as teachers in such schools at Jaspalon, Ferozepur and Sidhwan in Punjab.

Many famous Rehatname also support wearing of Dastaar. Here are some quotes:

"Each candidate for Baptism be made to wear kachhehra, tie hair in a topknot and cover the same with Dastaar; wear Sri Sahib (Kirpan) in Gaatra (shoulder belt). Then he/she should stand with folded hands." (Rahitnama Bhai Daya Singh Ji)

"...Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa should keep his hair unshorn, have flowing beard and have simple Dastaar which saves him from impiety. Then the Sikhs asked what would happen to those Amritdhari who start cutting their hair or do not keep their hair covered. The Guru replied that they would be stupid and will lose their sensibility It is a blemish to remain bareheaded...Always keep two turbans. When the bigger turban is removed, the smaller be kept. The smaller turban should not be removed."(Bijai Mukat Dharam Shastra - Sakhi-8)

"(A Sikh) who eats food with turban removed from the head (i.e., bareheaded) is destined for 'Kumbhi' hell." (Rahit Rama Bhai Prahlad Singh Ji)

"One who combs hair twice a day, ties turban fold by fold and cleans teeth everyday will not come to grief." (Tankhah Naama Bhai Nandlal Ji)

"Whosoever roams about bareheaded, takes food bareheaded and distributes the 'prasad' bareheaded is considered punishable." (Uttar-prashan Bhai Nandlal Ji)

"Women should tie their hair in topknot and should not keep them loose." (Rahitnama Bhai Daya Singh Ji)

"Keshas be washed. Turban or Dastaar should not be placed on floor but should always be kept with due respect. Food should not be eaten bareheaded." (Bijai Mukt Dharam Shastra, Sakhi 70)

It is thus, absolutely clear from the above quotations that remaining bareheaded at any time (except when washing, drying, and combing) and keeping hair loose and unknotted are basically against the Sikh Code of Conduct, which is applicable to all, men and women alike. For obvious reasons, therefore, the use of Dastaar is indispensable. There is no other way to keep the head covered all the time. Sikhs women who wear only dupattas, mostly remain bareheaded, at least in the privacy of their own homes, while taking food, etc., and thus are, perhaps unconsciously, infringing the Sikh Code of Conduct in this respect.


1. Well-known Sikh historian Bhai Sahib Bhai Santokh Singh has given a somewhat detailed description concerning Mai Bhaag Kaur (commonly known as Mai Bhago) of Forty Muktas fame in his well known historical work GUR PARTAP SOORAJ. He mentions that Mai Bhaag Kaur had reached the highest stage of enlightenment and had almost lost her body consciousness...so much so that when her clothes became worn to shreds, she did not care to replace them. Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji called her in His Holy presence and instructed her to always stick to the Gursikh dress as prescribed in the Code of Conduct. In particular, she was ordered to wear Kachhehra and Dastaar. In fact, according to some chroniclers, the Dastaar was tied on her head by the Satguru himself. If this Dastaar was not a part of Sikhi, where was the need to include this item in the instructions given to a lady who had reached almost the Brahmgyan stage? It apparently shows that the Satguru gave very high importance to Dastaar.

2. In the Museum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's fort at Lahore and Victoria Museum at Calcutta, the pictures of Sikh women of old time can be seen even now, depicting them with Dastaar.

3. Bhai Sahib Veer Singh, in his well known poetical work, RANA SURAT SINGH, depicts Rani Raj Kaur as a Saint Soldier or Rajyogi of the highest order. Her very impressive picture given in the book depicts her with a well-tied Dastaar, on which is also affixed a khanda-chakkar, the emblem of Sikhism. In another of his book "Mata Satwant Kaur" Satwant Kaur is shown as wearing Khalsa dress including Dastaar.

4. The Sikh women belonging to the Jatha of Bhai Sahib (Sant) Teja Singh Ji of Mastuana, have been seen doing Kirtan in congregations wearing Dastaar. He was instrumental in establishing Akaal Academy - a Higher Secondary School at Baru in Himachal Pradesh wherein all students - boys as well as girls - are required to wear Dastaar as a prescribed school uniform.

6. Jathedar of Damdami Taksaal Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale's whole family, including his wife, two sons and their wives practiced wearing Dastaar.

7. It is a historical fact that there was a time when a price was put on the head of a male Sikh. Greedy and unprincipled people, both Hindus and Muslims, availed of this opportunity to make money. When they could no longer find male Sikhs in the villages and towns, they started beheading Khalsa women and presenting their heads as the heads of young unbearded teenager Sikh lads. Even in those dark times Sikh women did not stop wearing Dastaar. It was only because of fashion and their misunderstanding of Sikh faith that they stopped wearing Dastaar and started piercing nose and ears.

8. S. Shamsher Singh Ashok who has been an active member of the Singh Sabha movement and an erstwhile Research Scholar of the S.G.P.C., while discussing the prevalence of the use of 'Dastaar', states: "...and, consequently in the Amrit-Parchaar at the Akaal Takhat Sahib, this was a precondition even for ladies before they could be baptized there. Any woman who was not prepared to wear Dastaar was not baptized. This practice continued even after the end of the Gurudwara movement. Relaxation was made only when Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafar became the Jathedar of the Akaal Takhat."

The wearing of Dastaar enables Sikh women to show their distinctiveness of being Sikh or Khalsa like men. The importance of this Khalsa distinctiveness has been clearly emphasized by the Tenth Guru for the Khalsa as a community, both men and women, and not for men only. At the time of the baptismal ceremony, the same Amrit (Khande-Ki-Pahul) is administered to all without any distinction, including that of sex. The title of Khalsa is bestowed on all of them. The same way of life and Code of Conduct is enjoined upon all of them. All of them are forbidden to roam about, take food, etc. bareheaded. How, then, have women become exempt from any of these injunctions? Dastaar is the only answer to this contradiction.

In view of all the aforesaid, it is clear that Dastaar has been traditionally worn by Sikhs, or Khalsa men and women, right from the birth of the Khalsa Nation. This practice has been enunciated and strongly emphasized by the Satguru himself. Akhand Kirtani Jatha, white Sikhs and a few other individuals and organizations are preserving this dignified Khalsa tradition with Guru's grace. Having become aware of these facts, the Sikh intelligentsia has also started showing a remarkable response in this regard. If the Khalsa is to live in accordance with the Rules of true Gurmat , both Khalsa men and women have to accept it. Dastaar is the crown bestowed by the Satguru for the head of the Khalsa, whether man or woman, who stands bestowed with the special form of the Satguru himself. By refraining from the use of Dastaar, a Sikh becomes a follower of his own ego instead of the Will of the Satguru. Wearing of Dastaar by Sikh women is decried mainly because modern day Sikhs want their women to fall in line with other women with respect to the so called modern way of life, including the modern fashions of dress. Sikhs - both men and women - will continue to be guilty of showing disrespect to the sacred hair by keeping them uncovered. In fact, it is the Dastaar's nonacceptance (and not its acceptance) that is very unconsciously eviscerating the Rehtname of their "tremendous and literally unlimited potency that operates on the collective subconscious level" of the Sikhs in general. One fails to understand how the use of Dastaar "...destroys the purity of the Khalsa and sabotages the unity of the Khalsa", as alleged by some. In fact, the shoe is on the other foot. If Dastaar is accepted by all Khalsa men and women, it will help in maintaining the purity and ensuring the unity of the Khalsa, as even women of the Khalsa faith, like the Khalsa men, will be distinguishable.

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Niranjana di bulaee Fateh Parvaan Hove!

This topic has been discussed quite comprehensively before on this site, so I ask that you all look in the archived sections and read through the topic “keski†thoroughly to understand the mindset of both points of view and also the manner in those who cause a rupture in the unity of the Panth by declaring Keski as a Kakkar construct their futile arguments.

For now, here are some quick thoughts:

<<<those amrit dari women who do not wear dastars should think about it logically, Guru Gobind Singh Ji believed in equality, which is why he created the 5 K's for men & women. He did not create 5 K's for men & 4 K's for women, therefore, a keski for women must be worn.>>>

This is a typical argument we here from pro-Keski supporters and the one which is quite shallow at the end of the day. For the record, I personally have no issue with one wearing a Keski (I wear one myself) however the Akal Thakt is clear on this topic, as it is on just every other item that the Bhasuaria influenced Groups, Jathas, Professors and Doctors today choose to carp about (re: meat, raagmala, etc). Nonetheless, these people who are accountable for the disunity evident in the Panth (yet love to talk about “panthik ekta†and even go as far as claiming that “every Sikh must be a Khalistani†– one wonders what type of Khalistan these people would enforce given that they can’t even see eye to eye on simple matters that have been spelt out in black and white for them!)

I ask you to think “logically†for a moment. Does “Equality†mean “identical�

“the right of different groups of people to have a similar social position and receive the same treatmentâ€

So it is the “right†but NOT obligation to “similar†social status and to receive same “treatment†NOT to BE the SAME AS!!!

This is exactly what has caused many problems for the so called ‘liberated’ women of the west – during the 1980s in particular, one could see women frequently dressing like men (particular in the business setting, with shoulder pads, short hair, trousers) even adopting their mannerisms and attitudes (positive and negative). All this was in the “belief†they were “equal†and “can do anything a man canâ€, yet think about it for a second, logically…

…to do “anything a man canâ€, to receive the same “rights†as a man etc are definitely things to fight for, however the way in which this was done resulted in nothing but confirming the very sexist attitude that these women sought to opposed – why? Because they were actively seeking to BE LIKE A MAN in order to prove their point! In order words, they confirm the inequality – namely that the female form is inferior.

Pick up any article today, and these same women will openly say that their mothers had better lives than them. Similarly there are an increasing number of articles that even in the world of fashion, women are beginning more and more to look like men with thinner hips and more masculine facial features, hairstyles, body postures and clothing is reinforcing this as much as cosmetics.

Now this is also evident amongst Sikhs, many pro-Keski, pro-bana type people make statements like “Singhnees are not supposed to be some feminine weakling, they are warriors equal to their men†and this is usually applauded by those following this mindset be they male or female.

I personally have a big problem with this (and again not with Singhnees wearing or not wearing a keski), as either is fine as per the Sikh Rehit Maryada, fundamentally the argument is inherently sexist – it supports the view that being ‘feminine’ is some how weak, inferior and unsikh…this I cannot accept as correct.

On the Tapoban forum, we had young Singnees expressing that they wanted to “wear bana like their MEN, without pyjamas†and that this was because they considered themselves “EQUALâ€. Their argument continued with the assertion that “the Guru’s Bana is one for all Khalsas be they male or female†and that “Singhnees have hairy legs, so having them on display is not the same as wearing skirts like western women†that their hairy legs will not be “sexually attractive†they continue further to argue that “Guru Sahib would not mind if Singhnees wore Chola and Kachhera with no Pyjamas like the Singhs do, it is only the mind of the public that is wrongâ€.

The same forum also had AKJ men supporting this stance and arguing that Amrit Sanchars did initially request “both men and women to remove their pyjamas†however over time, as the “influence of Kaam increased†this practice of stopped – this is a most absurd claim with the only reference being that their daddy told them this story and it is supported by their notion of “equality†which as I repeat is incorrectly interpreted. Why would the Punj Pyare give Amrit to the neophyte if they can’t control their kaam and that too during a holy ceremony???

So yes, Guru Sahib inaugurated the Khalsa Panth with the treh mudra (or Punj Kakkars, as they were later known) and these were KESH, Khanga, KIRPAN, Kara and KACHERA. An Amritdhari man or women will adorn these items.

Keski is not a kakkar, just like Kamarkasa or Kalgi is not a Kakkar. Let’s not spreading mistruths about the Sikh Rehit Maryada.

As per the articles from the searchsikhism site, all this supposedly ‘proofs’ for keski being a kakkar or mandatory for a women have been adequately assessed during the aforementioned archive discussion point by point.

Let’s please focus on the important issues facing the Panth collectively and us individually – this petty infighting only serves to cause more rift in the Panth than solving anything.

Again, if one wishes to wear a keski, fine, if not fine – the Sikh Rehit Maryada is provides us with this choice and there is no need to abuse it by causing rifts in the Panth by pretty arguments to justify the view of your particular variety of Sikh sub-group or political affiliation.

Gur Fateh!


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In particular, she was ordered to wear Kachhehra and Dastaar. In fact, according to some chroniclers, the Dastaar was tied on her head by the Satguru himself. If this Dastaar was not a part of Sikhi, where was the need to include this item in the instructions given to a lady who had reached almost the Brahmgyan stage? It apparently shows that the Satguru gave very high importance to Dastaar.

in a sense some people wrote that they themself tied the dastaar,

but say if those same chroniclers, are the one's that wrote she was ordered to wear a dastaar, chroniclers are evil people,

: (

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  • 2 weeks later...

if you want to know about why singhnia should wear a dastaar which is a silly thing to even want to find out because the answer is clear as daylight khalsa was made for guru sahibs sikhs no where does it say guru sahibs sikh is a man therefore he is reffering to both female and male.

would a panj allow some guy with his hair in a pony tail to take amrit? no why should it be different for females?

btw dont ask anyone on here most are sexist nangs who dont know the first thing about sikhi and just like to eat kfc and get high on their homemade bhang.

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btw dont ask anyone on here most are sexist admin-cut who dont know the first thing about sikhi and just like to eat kfc and get high on their homemade bhang.

What a gross stereotypical bullocks !!!

Keski on Women is optional.. It should be encouraged but not pushed down on women's throat.

Sikhs have became karam khandis, you be suprised to know bibai's who didn't wear keski got grace of bhramgyan from guru sahiban too because you may think women with keski only get free passport to sachkhand and no one else.

In Gurbani - bhai gurdas ji varan you got living examples like wife of raja hari chand, rani chandal who didn't wore a keski but still got bhramgyan.

Come on singhni ji, there are important things to worry about than starting up internet morcha/propaganda against biba's who don't wear /don't wish to wear keski.....!!

Certain jatha's have taken outer rehit to some next level. Rehit helps to get to the goal but it's a not a goal itself...!!

Thank lord, panth is not full of fussarpanthis that look down upon people who follow slightly different interpertations of sikhi rather than black and white sikhi.

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  • 2 weeks later...

wasnt the distinction between men and women clearly pointed out, when men where ordained with the name SINGH, and women with the title KAUR,

as genders we both have different roles to play which complement one another, we do not have to imitate one's behaviour or strive for a false sense of equality, which in reality is our ego's overcoming our sensibilities,

i dont see how it will make a women more in tune with being a sikh, by wearing a turban, just as it does not make a man more of a sikh, if he wears a turban and then acts against the ideals it represents,

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non-halal maybe - this will work for the majority.

however, as per the "nihangs" who have their own maryada insisting on Jhatka - kfc fails miserably to qualify

moreover, Gurbani teaches one to avoid food which harms the mind and body, for some this equates to a totally vegetarian diet, others non-halal...either way, the overiding principle is to be healthy...kfc is far from being so!

in Canada, one can't donate blood for upto 24 hours after having eaten kfc - think that over!!!

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This is a funny post, I asked this to my mums poowa back a few years ago "bibi ji, are men and women equal in sikhi"

Go back to punjab and talk to traditional old skool bibiya who are amritari!(chunni no pugs) all your western sikh views will be solved ;) my mums poowa is one tough nut, she says "Puth Timiya are timiya bandeh are bandeh" Women are women and Men are Men, she said yes we are equal, but my roles are too look after the home/ milk the majah(cows) & used to be a teacher whilst my husband goes out to work on his tractor and plough the fields with the knocker(hired help) I make our families rotis and keep out haveli clean and used to look after my kids your mumme and bring them up the best i can with guru ji dah kirpa.

Women are no less and no more, Puth you will realise this in the future. That is why guru ji made panj Pyare(men ) not panj Pyariya (women), he added the sweetness of mata sundri to the bata of amrit to give the qualities of sweetness to the khalsa but she was in the background.

That Guru ji made us equal but aja kal deh loki (todays people) are taking it all the wrong way, should one day guru ji need me I will be there.


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