Kids Corner

Photos: courtesy - Michael Salconi.

Roundtable

Is It Halloween Already?

T. SHER SINGH

 

 

 

THE ROUNDTABLE OPEN FORUM # 123



What I wish to say today is not easy. But it troubles me deeply. I do not have any answers. I’m not even sure if I’m right or whether I’m merely off on a personal tangent and far removed from reality.

But my concerns are honest and sincere and rather than let them fester, I’ve decided to pen my thoughts and put them before you and invite you to join me in a dialogue on what I’m about to say.

I want you to look at the image of the young Sardar on the top right-hand corner of this page, and then of him below, on a scooter.

A dashing, handsome young man, he truly is.

Depending on which era you hail from, I expect many of you will find him smashing. Groovy. Cool. Far Out. Neat. Nifty. Hip …

And, no doubt, you’ll be correct.

Now, let me offer you some food for thought.

If I was a detractor of the Sikh community today with a clear mission to tarnish and diminish the image of the Sikh in the public mind, that is, to create a negative stereotype, this is exactly how I would like to project the average Sikh of today to the average man.

It is totally beside the point that the appearance, though completely and unequivocally identified with being a Sikh and a Sardar and a Khalsa and an Amritdhari, is NOT representative of the average Sikh, either in reality or in fiction. Not even 1% of 1% of all the Sikhs in the world dress up like this or look like this.

I do not know whether the young man posing as such in these photographs dresses like this all the time, or merely on Sundays to attend the gurdwara, or for special events only (such as Vaisakhi parades or gatka session), or whether it is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

But the fact is, however, that it was a photograph taken by non-Sikh American in an American city, in the vicinity of a gurdwara, and shared with a friend of mine (his neighbour) who is also a non-Sikh American.

Both the photographer and my friend see the subject as a Sikh. The photo was passed to me in a positive way, as an interesting image of a Sikh in America, Which it is.

Regardless of how or why or when this particular Sardar dresses up thus, there are, I believe, a handful of young people in every community in the diaspora the world over who sometimes do dress up like this in public, to some degree or the other. Some temporarily, a few even full-time who even venture into their respective workplaces in some facsmile or the other of this configuration.

Regardless of how they see themselves, or how their friends and fans view them, here are a few observations I can make quite safely as generalizations.

That they wish to project themselves as Sikhs and are successful in doing so.

That they do not, by any stretch of imagination, represent any measurable percentage of the Sikh community anywhere, except for a miniscule and aberrative minority.

They exude a primitive image, now oft associated -- quite wrongly, of course -- with the much dreaded Taliban.

Which automatically ties the image of the Sikh to violence and violence-prone ideas -- neither of which are a factual, desirable or welcome part of the Sikh public image.

It then gets even more complicated.

There are, believe it or not, a handful of Sikhs who have sought and have been given positions of influence by our own community, who dress up to work in one permutation / combination or other of the images shown on this page.

My question then, to ourselves, is …

Is this the image we wish to project of ourselves to the world at large?

Keeping in mind that even though only a very small group of individuals resort to such attire, the power of the media today to instantly disseminate, distort, magnify and alarm is infinite … all it needs to ignite a firestorm of misinformation about us is permission from us, which we thus inadvertently grant by using the very same imagery ourselves!

It doesn’t stop there.

Look at the images again.

Do you think young women -- and I mean SIKH women! -- are lining up in droves to find husbands who dress up thus in public, part-time or full-time?

Why is this question relevant?

Because in these very pages, I have read moans and groans from those who grieve when they see young Sikh girls marrying outside the community, or those who are reluctant to date or marry those who maintain the Sikh identity.

It doesn’t help at all, trust me, by saying that not all, or only a very few are attired thus. Because the net impression that the creation of such strong public images results in is the aura of extreme orthodoxy … which is an instant turn-off for most normal people. Especially our own children.

I should warn you that this imagery I have shown puts us as an entire community -- rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, intentionally or inadvertently, mischievously or innocently -- in the same category as the Taliban, the Hasidic Jew, and the like.

If that’s what we want, so be it.

Or is it that our detractors want this result, and we have simply got caught up in the playfulness of the machismo?

The question we need to ask ourselves … and, more importantly, of our children and friends and family and acquaintances who delve in such practices … is whether each and every one of such individuals is contributing to a larger problem which, though unintended, threatens to overshadow all else that we stand for.

For me, it’s not unlike dressing up for Halloween everyday, everywhere.

The net impact of such a bizarre practice, I fear, would be exactly the same.   

 

THE ROUNDTABLE OPEN FORUM # 123

What are your thoughts on the above? I agree without hesitation that this young man, and anybody else, has the right and freedom to dress any way they please. That remains sacrosanct. What I would like to hear from you, though, is why it is okay to do so, or why it isn't, given the impact it may have? Or am I misreading the impact, real or potential?     

 

May 29, 2014                 

Conversation about this article

1: N Singh (Canada), May 29, 2014, 8:38 AM.

I agree. Neither my father, grandfather or great grandfather, although turban wearing, ever dressed like this. My father always wore his turban in the Patiala style although he did not hail from that region. He always looked well-kept and gentlemanly.

2: Harmeet Kaur ( Agra, India), May 29, 2014, 8:40 AM.

Agree with you completely. Dressing up like this in public is violently inappropriate in this day and age, and a grievous disservice to Sikhs and Sikhi. You have to be either very naive or clearly mal-intentioned to walk around like this, calling yourself a Sikh or Khalsa. We should be wary of either, and keep a sharp eye on them.

3: A. Singh (New York, USA), May 29, 2014, 8:40 AM.

This was an interesting article, yet I am compelled to add my viewpoints to this roundtable forum. First and foremost, it is true -- one has the right to dress in any way one desires but it has to be in a way which would not ridicule the entire community at large. I have noticed some Sikhs in my local gurdwara who dress up like that only on Fridays and Sundays; yet, as T Sher Singh ji has pointed out, these men indirectly push many Sikh women away from marrying Sikh men. I am in no way attacking the Sikh identity (I am a turbaned Sikh man myself), yet I feel the world will see us as how we will portray ourselves. This image will equate us parallel to the Hasidic Jews and the Taliban, all rolled in one. Many Sikhs need to understand if we don't improve our image we risk shrinking our community.

4: Harinder Singh (Punjab), May 29, 2014, 9:26 AM.

Every thing changes with time ... including how one dresses. 1) The cave man dressed differently. 2) The Knights and Sikhs of old wore a particular attire in the medieval era. 3) Today's Sikhs dress in the modern and contemporary way with suits and ties, while keeping their articles of faith. One'a attire is, and should be, a reflection of the times we live in.

5: Bicky Singh (Ontario, Canada), May 29, 2014, 9:27 AM.

It really amazed me that the individual shown in these pictures can really dress like this in public. Not sure what he is intending to show off about himself. This is not Sikhi. It is also mentioned that when the Gurus went to foreign lands that they too dressed according to local attire. Why are we detracting from this? Will wearing these clothes, trinkets make him more closer to Waheguru? He certainly has not read the Guru Granth Sahib on portraying false images. On this topic, it always amazes me when I see Sikhs during weekdays dressed in suits, shirts, ties and have their beards nicely kept - only to have shorn these clothes when they go to the gurdwaras on Sundays. What are they trying to achieve, or to portray? I personally feel embarrassed when I see such clowns on the street.

6: Gurbilas Kaur (Chandigarh, Punjab), May 29, 2014, 9:45 AM.

Not much Sikhi I can see in either picture. He must work for the circus or something. Or, as the author seems to worry -- understandably! -- are some of these fellows in fact plants in our gurdwaras by our detractors? Or are they authentically morons?

7: Simran Kaur (Ontario Canada), May 29, 2014, 10:03 AM.

These are very much subjective questions. It was a similar argument about Sikhi not being about external appearances that justified many Sikhs cutting their hair when they arrived abroad. How we practice our Sikhi is personal and we shouldn't demand homogeneity or ridicule those who practice differently. Wearing a style of clothing is a personal choice. I see some Sikhs who are comfortable wearing kilts on occasion. Nothing wrong with that. But why the animosity towards the chola? It is our traditional dress and still worn by our Punj Pyare. No need to be ashamed. As for the dastar style: some may feel the Kenyan style is funny looking and others may feel only the Patiala-shahi is appropriate. I have heard from some non-Sikhs that they actually feel the round dumalla style is best. With respect to attracting Sikh women: many Sikh women themselves wear similar clothes and I'm sure these young men will do fine for themselves. We cannot all look the same and we cannot all have the same taste in clothing. Live and let live and move on to more pressing issues. We have lots of them.

8: Dr Birinder Singh Ahluwalia (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 29, 2014, 10:04 AM.

My only concern I have with the appearance of this individual is the open and blatant public display of a weapon -- the kattaar! -- which is obviously an abuse under the guise of exercising the right and obligation to wear a kirpan, which is exclusive to the Khalsa. This is certainly not the manner in which our sacred Kakkaars are to be bandied about, privately or publicly. I am also amused that the author describes the subject of the photos as handsome. This proves that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. But seriously, I believe every individual has the inherent unalienable right to dress up as he or she desires, in a free and open society ... of course, some degree of common sense needs to be applied, always, though. Otherwise, one comes out looking foolish. All faiths have members who sport unique appearances and should be accepted as they are, or as they portray themselves ... but again, within reason.

9: K Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 29, 2014, 10:46 AM.

Sher Singh ji, I agree with your views.

10: MKS (New York City, USA), May 29, 2014, 12:46 PM.

Sher Singh ji: another interesting article. At the time of writing this email, all comments agreed with you. So, here's one that does not. What is it that you find so offensive in this young man's dress? Is it the height of the turban? Or the shape (which you refer to as a bee-hive in some of your other articles)? Or the chola? Or the dangling kirpan? Or the hip sandals? Or the sunglasses? Or the untied beard? You say, your concern is that it gives ammo to the detractors of the community. And I take your word for it. However, do you believe if this young man dressed in the way you think a Sikh should dress, anyone whose sole purpose in life is to trash Sikhs and Sikhi would cease and desist? Or if there was no-one trashing Sikhi, and every one knew the difference between the Tabliban, Hasidic and Sikh, would you still be offended by the way this young man dresses? To be very honest, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. For full disclosure, I'm a turban wearing Sikh with a long flowing beard and yes, I work for a Wall Street company.

11: Chintan Singh (San Jose, California, USA), May 29, 2014, 12:46 PM.

I have had my share of listening on this topic from those who advocate this type of dressing. I was in fact suggested by someone who otherwise is highly learned and well grounded in gurbani that wearing Kurta Pyjama and leaving the beard 'open & flowing' would lead to more concentration and "munn jurrhna", i.e. mind control, when doing kirtan or simran in the sangat. Like Bicky Singh (comment #5) about how does this dress invoke a better connection with the Guru, I am equally interested in learning. Also Bicky Singh ji, could you please provide a specific reference when you say that when the Gurus went to foreign lands, that they too dressed according to local attire? I would like to have such historical references to counter those who suggest wearing this kind of an attire everyday.

12: T. Sher Singh (Mount Forest, Ontario, Canada), May 29, 2014, 1:13 PM.

In answer to MKS, #10: I find the picture as a whole to be a caricature of Sikhi. Not the individual parts. The same turban, worn by a Nihang in Punjab, is a beautiful thing. The same chola, worn as a night gown, is a comfortable and regal looking garment. The kattaar displayed in a museum is awesome. The sandals, when worn in conjunction with matching attire on a warm day, is relaxing ... and sexy! And so on and so forth. But to have a bunch of individuals strutting around our gurdwaras and children's camps dressed up and behaving like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while at the same time spoofing Sikh spirituality and values ... that is what I find difficult to swallow. Nothing wrong with what they do, as long as they keep the silliness -- as we all do -- within the confines demarcated by the privacy of a bathroom with the mirror as your sole witness. Pretend you're Elvis, if you will, with a soap-microphone in your hand, and gyrate your pelvis shamelessly. Or dress up like Liberace. Even be the brave Banda Singh Bahadar. But, please do find a day and a time and a place assigned to Holi-like revelery to get silly. We call it Halloween in North America. It's called Guy Fawkes Night elsewhere. I trust you get my drift ...

13: Baljit Kaur (Liverpool, United Kingdom), May 29, 2014, 1:37 PM.

Simran ji - Comment #7: I find your comments argumentative and shallow. The kilt? I have yet to see groups of Sikhs costumed in Scottish attire pretending to be Bravehearts and, at the same time, implying that how they look is because of their love for the Khalsa, and claim to be shining role models for Sikhi. Next: sure, there are a variety of turban styles, some which you like or don't, some which I like and don't. But, when a number of idiots start turning up regularly at our gurdwaras wearing Beefeater hats -- or bee-hives, literally, for that matter -- sporting shiny Khandas on them, and start hanging around our children, I know that both you and I would start getting a bit worried. I would, at least. Then, the chola and the Punj Pyare? You're absolutely correct. But the example you cite says it all, doesn't it? The Punj Pyare wear the chola on Vaisakhi Day for the parade, or on the day they are participating in an Amrit ceremony. Seen any one of them lately heading off to work in a satin yellow chola, no pants or shoes, and holding a ten-foot high nishaan sahib and a three-foot kirpan? I haven't. I bet you haven't either. I'm sorry, but none of your examples hold water, if you spend more than two seconds on each.

14: Pritam Singh (San Jose, California, USA), May 29, 2014, 1:46 PM.

My six-year old often tears around our drive-way in a Superman costume, cape and tights and all. He looks really, really cute. But, once he's older, say 14 or 16 or 25 or 35, and if he's still coming out on his driveway, his or mine, doing the same, I'm going to get awfully worried, I tell ya.

15: Basant Kaur, Mother of Four Sons (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), May 29, 2014, 1:53 PM.

Here's what I told my sons and feel it is time I shared this pearl of wisdom with the rest of the world: once your chin starts to spring a beard, it is time to grow up. And learn how to behave ... like Sardars.

16: Onkar Singh (New York, USA), May 29, 2014, 2:03 PM.

Our Gurus told us that they expected us, each one of us, to be N-Y-A-A-R-A. That is, Outstanding and Standing Out. Here are but two ways of being Nyaara. One, a circuitous but most rewarding route: learning to excel, and living the life of a model citizen. More, As a leader. The second is an easy and quick path: dressing up like a clown -- red nose, an over-sized hat, floppy shoes, an eye-catching costume, etc -- and repeatedly making a fool of yourself in public. I'm quite sure the Gurus meant the one and not the other. Is anyone having difficulty in figuring out which is which?

17: AJ Singh (San Francisco, California, USA), May 29, 2014, 2:31 PM.

I don't find anything wrong with the way the young man wants to express his Sikhi and the style he wants to show the world - don't artists do the same thing with their paintings/sculptures, etc? The US gives everyone the right to peaceful expression and freedom of religion - so be it. As Sikhs we cannot be too worried about our detractors - for we will never be able to satisfy each and every detractor out there - they will always find a fault and as a united Sikh community, we should focus on our collective actions in working towards "Sarbat da Bhala" - much more than our individual tastes.

18: Gurpal (United Kingdom), May 29, 2014, 2:43 PM.

Agree with the majority of comments. Gurbani informs us that dressing up in excessive attire (I would add anything more than the 5 K's) with a view to appearing religious is nothing more than ego, ego and more ego. Wonderfully put by Onkar; be a model citizen - people will be drawn to you and your values.

19: Harkirat Singh (Calgary, Alberta, USA), May 29, 2014, 2:55 PM.

I think much of the dialogue is getting emotional and is missing the main point being made by the author. The problem doesn't lie in an individual expressing himself in any kind of attire, no matter how different or quirky. It is with groups of people who start touting that image as being the norm, either expressly or impliedly. Again, there would be nothing wrong in doing that either if didn't go about turning the real norm into a caricature. (Remember the buffoon in the Sacha Sauda dera debacle?) Take the 3HO Sikhs who are based in New Mexico, for example. They have opted for an attire quite different from the 'norm'. Almost universally, the thousands in their group -- they live around the world, almost everywhere that Sikhs do -- they subscribe to their choice of 'bana'. Which consists of a dastaar, often enlarged, for both men and women. White kurtas, akin to cholas. Very Punjabi dress and markedly different from the modern, mainstream norm. And a departure from the Sikh mainstream norm too! I think they look classy. I don't know of any Sikhs who have objected to their choice of attire or take offense from it or raise their voice against it. Even T. Sher Singh, as far as I know, has never pointed to their attire as an aberration. (In fact, he often cites many of their values and life-style as worth emulating.) Then, what makes them different from the type represented by the images on this page? Simple. The latter are cartoonish, they caricature and spoof the real thing, and they do not focus on living within Sikhi values. Trinkets and baubles are used liberally to create an aura of piety, which is a very definite no-no in Sikhi. Just look at the image on the top ... what's Sikh about it? I too would've been more impressed if he had stuck to a simple chola and pyjama (no matter what colour -- but some form of pants, I must say, is a must!), a simple kirpan, a simple dastaar (no matter what style), and refrained from the toys and the shenanigans. Oh, by the way ... the goggles are fine. And the sandals too.

20: Taran (New Jersey, USA), May 29, 2014, 3:07 PM.

Frankly, if the gentleman had arrived on a horse -- instead of a scooter -- I would've been a little more impressed. Now, it's neither here nor there. A medieval attire to show off your piety? Fine. But then, what's with the googles, the glass case, the scooter, the sandals ... Why no juttees, eh? I agree. The net result is not very flattering.

21: Inderjit Kaur (Miami, Florida, USA), May 29, 2014, 3:11 PM.

Remember what our parents hammered into us? That each Sikh is an ambassador. So, be at your personal best. Certainly, these chaps strutting around in fake banas can do better.

22: Sangat Singh  (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 29, 2014, 4:09 PM.

'Bahute bhekh karai bhekdhari ..." [GGS:230.14] -- "The disguisers put on their various disguises ..." This phenomenon is not exclusive to Sikhs alone. All religions have their own clowns. Just switch to any religious channel and you have a spectacle. If an actor appears human enough he or she is installed on an elaborate garish throne with tons of garlands. On the world stage there will be always be actors. This is Waheguru's play. Even rishis and munis were not exempt: 'nrip kannia ke karnai ik bhai-a bhek dhari' [GGS:858.14] -- "For a king's daughter a man disguised himself as Vishnu ..." When the curtain falls all end up in the same way ... dust unto dust.

23: Talwinder Singh (USA), May 29, 2014, 5:18 PM.

I would have no issues with a proud, modern-day, well-grounded amritdhari Sikh dressed sharply in bana and adorning shastar (kirpan), but such an individual does not look like one. All in all, I agree with Sher Singh ji's views. That said, let us also show some love. The individual is possibly trying to look "cool" or is just plainly exaggerating himself without realizing the import of his actions. Need of the hour is to stress the teachings and correct understanding of Sikhi.

24: Parmjit Singh (Canada), May 29, 2014, 5:25 PM.

Not one of you know this person. What you say about this rockstar of a man being himself is exactly what the mainstream western world says about you. What he is to you, is what you are to them. My daily work involves wearing suits and ties. That is also the costume of the world's biggest thieves. So if you're going to judge, start there. Alternatively if you're going to judge, start with judging those that conform. Last I recall Bhai Taru Singh ji said no to conformity. How many of us have taken Zakaria Khan's scissors to our own head? Seems to me conformity is the problem, not a solution. When in Rome, make sure you be yourself!

25: Jassu (Oregon, USA), May 29, 2014, 5:56 PM.

Quirks and eccentrics too have to be aware of their own limits, and always know that there's a line one shouldn't cross, for if you do, then you stop being merely quirky and eccentric. You become problematic. As, I think, is the case here.

26: Bachittar Singh (Illinois, USA), May 29, 2014, 6:00 PM.

I do not buy the idea that fellows like this one are non-conformists. For heaven's sake, they hang around gurdwaras, a bunch in every community, looking like clones of each other. Non-conformist my foot. While the rest of the crowd go through great pain and effort in looking different from each other, these fellas seem to come off the same mold.

27: H. Kaur (Canada), May 29, 2014, 7:51 PM.

In every religion there are people who wear things that are generally not worn by its masses. Why do you feel so threatened? If Sikhs were to stop wearing some things, well the world might still pick on them for having beards.

28: Hardev Singh (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), May 29, 2014, 9:48 PM.

Let it be. Halloween or not. It caught Michael Salconi's eye and piqued his interest for an over-the top theatricality of the subject person. The picture has generated much interest. We hardly know the person.

29: Tejinder Pal Singh (Houston, Texas, USA), May 29, 2014, 10:30 PM.

Our focus and energy would be better spent on ensuring future generations follow Sikhi as it should be.

30: Sangat Singh  (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 29, 2014, 11:24 PM.

"The apparel oft proclaims the man ..." So says Polonius, giving his son good advice in 'Hamlet'.

31: Jasbeer Singh (India), May 30, 2014, 3:26 AM.

I'm missing Captain America here. Michael Salconi's eye missed Captain America, I believe.

32: Harnam Kaur (Patiala, Punjab), May 30, 2014, 10:27 AM.

I too agree -- this is not the image of a man who is a non-conformist. You don't become a non-conformist by merely calling yourself one. You have to live the life of one. This is the image of a person who has chosen to conform to an imagined, over-romanticized, militaristic, eighteenth century image of Sikhi which has no connection with reality, either current or historic. Bands of such cartoon characters hang around our gurdwaras on Sundays, but add little that is positive. I don't know this particular gentleman. He may quite possibly be a wonderful man, but what I am talking about is the image that this conjures up ... something not healthy for our children or for society-at-large. All of you who have suddenly, blindly found civil-libertarian religion in defending his attire, I ask you ... have you noticed the hilt of the full-sized sword sticking out on his left side, and the huge, medieval dagger (NOT a kirpan!) stuck menacingly in his belt, and the goofy heavy-metal collection of metal rings posing as karras? ... Good Lord, of course he has the freedom to dress as he wishes, but certainly not to pass himself off as a Khalsa Sikh in such outlandish and anti-social garb! Let him try doing this without a turban and beard, and then we'll see how far he gets in America. I'm afraid this is akin to using -- no, misusing -- Sikhi to live out one's anti-social fantasies. And ... why does he have to dress up like this and come to the gurdwara? Why doesn't he strut around downtown / Mainstreet USA thus? This is the crux of it all!

33: Kirpal (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 30, 2014, 10:43 AM.

He's carrying so much metal on his person, he'd easily qualify for a license for a (walking) junk-yard business! Just read Harnam Kaur's post, and noticed the heavy metal on both the wrists. This is Sikhi?

34: Ajit Singh Batra (Pennsville, New Jersey, USA), May 30, 2014, 1:06 PM.

When I was living in Punjab, there was one leader, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, who used to travel in India on foot from village to village in various states to impress on the village management that in order to lead peaceful existence anywhere, the policy of "live and let live" needs to be reversed. The policy should be "let live and live". Conformist or non-conformist image of a person is meaningless if the policy of "let live and live" is followed.

35: Ajit Singh (USA), May 30, 2014, 6:55 PM.

While I don't dress like a Nihung Sikh, I do have an open beard and dastaar. I relate with the individual referred to in this article. I am who I am and I am damn proud of how I look.

36: Raj (Canada), May 30, 2014, 8:29 PM.

Who cares about what others like or dislike, if one is comfortable and serves one's fellow human beings, what difference does his dress makes? If Gucci created a dress like that and a model did a catwalk for a fashion show, it will be called a new trend. If a movie star dressed up like that in a popular film, half of the world will start wearing the same. Let's not get bogged down by appearance; having some morals and substance is more important.

37: Gian Singh (Chandigarh, Punjab), May 31, 2014, 2:30 AM.

I did not read this article as an attack on anyone wearing a dastaar or having a beard, open or dressed up. In fact, if anything, it is protective of the Sikh articles of faith and the values of Sikhi, by questioning some idiotic practices that have cropped up recently. Why are some people having difficulty in getting this? Is it the English language that becomes the stumbling block?

38: Gurbux Singh (Chatsworth, California, USA), May 31, 2014, 7:58 PM.

Gian Singh, in comment #37 has said it succinctly. Some of the others are prolix and appear to turn a Nelson's eye to what Sher Singh ji has presented clearly. At the very least, it appears some of us cannot see the forest for the trees?

39: Baljinder Kaur (USA), June 04, 2014, 5:23 AM.

Last week I lifted the two images in question from this page and, without any added context or info, showed them to a police officer friend who works in my city (a major American metropolis). He came back to me yesterday, having consulted with other officers in his unit, and advised me as follows: if this young man was found sporting the weaponry he is shown clearly carrying in the first image, walking in downtown, he would be immediately picked up, and taken to a police station for questioning. There are chances that he may be charged for carrying a dangerous weapon. I pressed him further. He disclosed that he and his colleagues were aware of the kirpan and that is not what bothers them. It's the added sinister weaponry ... Given this, I wonder: does this young man, or those of his ilk, strut around like this only in gurdwaras and amongst our children, or does he ever dare to dress up in this full regalia and venture into the city? If the answer is that his macho behaviour is confined to 'safe places' only, I question his commitment. Commitment? Commitment to what? Silliness?

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