Jump to content

Sikh Regiment Turbans


Recommended Posts

GurFateh !

While looking at some pictures of old soldiers My Wife asked a question - Why are the Soldiers Turbans so large pre and during World War 1 then get smaller around WW2 then are larger again post independence.

If you look at the pictures the turbans are very large - they don't appear to be the 'double' sewn together modern turbans that we see today - are the soldiers just wearing large 'under turbans' or were they just extra long turbans - also the chakra they are wearing is a round circle .

My relatives in the Indian Army only wear a 'Fifty' not a full keski or under turban and the chakar they wear is oval (turban shaped) not a circle.

Is this down to cost ? I guess kitting out soldiers with very long turbans must be expensive - or is it another reason ? is it just the vagaries of fashion - please post your ideas !!

In the WW1 pictures the turbans are large and tall - In the WW2 pictures the turbans are smaller - like the Punjab Police starched blue 'Jhalar' or fringe turban (also known as the 'African' turban)

Then post independence the Sikh regiment turban is larger - but not the large Patiala sewn together type.

Hope this is not too 'Anoraky' / Nerdy a question - anyone know the reason ?

Veterans of the 1857 'Indian Mutiny' honoured at the Delhi Darbar 1903





(All fine specimens of Punjabi Babey - Balle Baba tere !!!)

Note the large turbans - larger than modern styles

The 15th - note the very large turbans and round chakars


The 36th Sikh - 1917


The 14th Sikh Light Infantry - note the British Officers are also wearing Large Turbans and Chakars (albeit without beards)


World War 2

WW2 - Naik Nand Singh VC


Machine gunner WW2


Note the Turbans are smaller

Post Independence

Rattray Pipers


Sikh Regiment


Note the Turbans are larger , though not as large as WW1 - the Chakars are oval shaped to fit the Dastar.

Anyone who has any ideas as to why the turban size has changed - Fashion / cost / ease of tying etc - please post your ideas !

Could it be that the earlier soldiers tied their hair into Kesgi / Keski like Nihangs do -to create Boongas. a practice that later soldiers didn't do ?

Actually I've just had another thought could it be War-Time rationing of cloth - or was that just in England not India ?

Your input greatly appreciated !

Many Thanks

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

freed, i think you are defaniately a right person to ask this question. would u have a picture of baba karam singh ji hoti mardan wale and baba jawala singh ji harkhowaley they were in the army in 35 regiment i suppose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear N30 Singh

Sorry I haven't got a picture of Baba Karam Singh ji or Baba Jawala Singh Ji -

I have got one of Baba Attar Singh Reru Sahib Vale - I think I have posted it before.

Baba Karam Singh Hoti Mardan joined the Corps of Guides in 1846, which was later reorganized as 5th (Guides) Battalion of the 12th Frontier Force Regiment - you can read about it here :


Hope that helps

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Regarding Turbans.

Das read in Bhangu book that Malwa was under Rajputs of Rajsthan and malwa itself was extension of desert(Before the Panth was made).

Then another thing was that these Rajputs i punjab later wewre overun by Muslims and most became Muslim(like Tulsidas became Shek ChAK,who was fore father of Rai Kalla).And other people may mnaitianed the simlar Turbans.Even Rajput Muslims or say Gujars or Jaats of POK had similar turbans but not neatly tied.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...