Why I Choose to Raise My Son as Sikh

Social Commentary

Why I Choose to Raise My Son as Sikh

Illustration: Akshita Monga


veryone gives Muslim women grief over choosing the hijab. But what about you sardars? Aren’t your turbans just as much of a marker?

I heard this (or something like it; I’m paraphrasing, of course) from a prominent Pakistani feminist about 20 years ago, over a drink in a central Delhi bar, surrounded by pictures of splendidly hirsute, turbaned Sikh chiefs of the previous century. I almost died laughing, in between telling her what I thought was self-evident, that my wearing a turban had as much to do with my immense respect for my cultural heritage as any residual “belief”. She smiled, then laughed as well. Now, though, two decades on; when I remember that moment, I’m not sure there wasn’t a hint of something more combative in her mirth.