I have observed closely for several years now and I have found that Sikh men love to debate on 2 topics, the Dasam Granth and hair. The Dasam Granth is a non-canonical text written by Guru Gobind Singh, which Guru Gobind Singh absolutely did NOT wish to be made part of the Sikh/Guru/Scripture. Guru Gobind Singh declared that anyone who worships him is going straight to hell. He told Sikhs to worship the scripture only (The Siri Guru Granth Sahib), and to follow the voice of Guruji found there. The Dasam Granth is beloved too, but more oriented to those who are called to become part of the Khalsa Knighthood.But many would argue with me, and they do! Other than that, Sikh men love to talk about their hair. My opinion is that many Sikh men use hair, of all things, to jockey for power. I know that they use Sikh scriptual disputes to jockey for power among themselves.
Sikh women, those who speak out, seem as fed up with these endless debates as I am.
Why debate about hair? It makes sense to Sikhs, I understand all about it, but to outsiders it is strange. It is about who is an insider and who is an outsider; who is good and who is bad, and it is about cultural identity but mostly it is about keeping the Sikh culture in the face of genocide, and it is about almost having Sikh culture wiped out. Sikhs don’t read their own scripture or follow Guruji’s instruction.
I have every sympathy in truth. And I like long hair. I enjoy growing mine out.
Yet after years and years of reading the Sikh hair debates on Sikh internet forums I admit that I no longer care about hair or anything else, just shoot me. I am that bored.
So here is my take on the Sikh women’s side of the Sikh Hair Debates:
Though hair certainly is a big issue for Sikhs (it is, it is) one thing is very clear; people with purple hair in pig-tails are welcome to come to the Gurdwara and langar (food, beautiful vegetarian food). Bald men are welcome and so are little girls with Shirley Temple curls. Crew cuts are acceptable fashion for visiting a Gurdwara and tatoos.
Even Margaret Thatcher is welcome to come sit on the floor with the rest of us, as long as she takes off her shoes and covers her helmet – I mean hair. We understand that Margaret Thatcher not only cuts her hair but she hairsprays her face each day as well. Still she is welcome to come to the Sikh Guru’s house. We will feed her.
Most of the world has cut hair including many people from Punjabi families. Come on over to the Gurdwara and sing God’s praises and eat!
Frankly, I am clear that the only Sikh capable of getting me, or my children, or my friends, or your friends, or any of us, to discover, much less keep, the 5Ks, is the Siri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh scripture and only Teacher) and the Sadh Sangat (Good Company). And how are we suppose to form any kind of relationship with Guruji and how are we suppose to experience Sangat, if we are being shunned, preached to in foreign languages and publically shamed for being bad Sikhs, or not Sikhs at all?
Lighten up Khalsa. Nanak doesn’t need your help in showing the way, rather it is your job to help Nanak welcome everyone over for Gurdwara and langar – yes? Well, what are you waiting for?
Everybody is welcome at the Guru’s House. Even my old Aunt Agatha who grew to be quite deaf and she didn’t have a hearing aid, so she had a tendency to shout out things in church; things she probably thought she was mumbling, like:
“Stop preaching, you old bore. Or just shoot me dead now. I’m ready.”
Truly I think Guru Nanak would have welcomed my Aunt Ag to come on over to the Sikh Gurdwara – recruited her even!
Seriously Singhs, concerning the Sikh hair debates, and the Dasam Granth debates, can we table them (oops! I mention tables….), I mean can we wait a while to talk about our hair some more until after we have all had a big langar feast together?
And maybe, uh maybe, you men might like to watch some football on TV, or hammer some nails, or talk real estate together instead of debating about your hair, and other boring dry stuff, again, and again?