Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dastaar, Mandatory for all?

Dastaar (turban) keski is often something that comes up when we think about Sikhi. Dastaar is part of the Sikh identity; it is partly what makes a Sikh stand out in a crowd.

Unfortunately over the years dastaar has been vanishing amongst Sikhs not only as some “sikhs” cut there kesh but also the fact Sikh women are told that it is not necessary for women to wear it, but mandatory for men.

if you look back in history you will find keski rehit was mandatory for both men and women. Rehit of Dastaar was removed by one single person and not panth. Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib amrit sanchars use to prescribe dastaar rehit to both men and women unfortunately one jathedar got rid of it ALONE.

The rehit of keski was maintained even at the Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib for both men and women till 1930 when the then Jathedar, Gurmukh Singh Mussafir removed this condition.

I believe till this day Panj Pyarie at Sri Akaal Takhat sahib tell Singh’s they must not leave the house without a “chotee Dastaar,” keski.

Ironically we then go on to talk about equality between the genders but to back up our point that keski is not mandatory for women we often point at paintings of Guroo Sahibaan and historic Sikh women yet again forgetting these paintings are not reliable sources of evidence often artist impressions centuries after that scene was actually played out.

Before someone kicks of about issues between Kakkar, I don’t see this as a big issue and will expand on my school of thought on my next blog entry some time this coming week.

Here is a great article I read years back on Veer Manjot Singh’s blog, www.mkhalsa.com.



Seeker Kaur says:

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Singh Jee 1 says:

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Kee Fateh

Singh Jee 2 says:

Waheguroo Jee Ka Khalsa Waheguroo Jee Kee Fateh

Singh Jee 1 says:

veer jee, can you help us find why keski is a kakar?

Singh Jee 2 says:

hanji?

Singh Jee 1 says:

keski, whats its defintion as a kakkar

Singh Jee 2 says:

first of all

Singh Jee 2 says:

lets start with history

Singh Jee 2 says:

do you know about the singh sabha movement bhenji?

Seeker Kaur says:

nahi ji

Singh Jee 2 says:

ok well

Singh Jee 2 says:

around the 1800s

Singh Jee 2 says:

sikhi was down the drain, brahminism reigned supreme, they even had a statue of ganesh at harmandir sahib

Singh Jee 2 says:

it was that bad, people would worship mahants, etc

Singh Jee 2 says:

a lot of that brahminism is still around (caste system, sants)

Singh Jee 2 says:

and some other rituals we tend to do that we cant weed out quite yet

Singh Jee 2 says:

but anyway, around the late 1800s, hundreds of gursikhs got fed up with it

Singh Jee 2 says:

they said we arent hindus, we are sikhs

Singh Jee 2 says:

we gotta get this outta our religion right

Singh Jee 2 says:

and so they started the singh sabha movement, to remove hinduism from sikhi

Singh Jee 2 says:

(thats why theres so many gurudwaras called singh sabha still around)

Singh Jee 2 says:

they created gurudwaras, retook akal takhat

Singh Jee 2 says:

they rewrote the maryada to the original using historical documents and because most of these were the most educated sikhs on the planet

Singh Jee 2 says:

so they fixed it

Singh Jee 2 says:

well something thats always been there is dastar right, everyone has to wear dastar

Singh Jee 1 says:

its what makes a sikh a sikh

Singh Jee 2 says:

anyway singh sabha died down around 1930s and gave way to the SGPC

Singh Jee 2 says:

in the 1940s, a jathedar came about in akal takhat

Singh Jee 2 says:

Gurmukh Singh Musafir

Singh Jee 1 says:

yup

Singh Jee 1 says:

thats it

Seeker Kaur says:

hunji

Singh Jee 2 says:

and he noticed that well not many women were taking amrit

Singh Jee 2 says:

because they wanted to have new hairstyles and what not

Singh Jee 2 says:

and dress in saris like their hindu counterparts in india

Singh Jee 2 says:

right

Singh Jee 2 says:

so he said something like fine in the next 4 days

Singh Jee 2 says:

anyone who comes

Singh Jee 2 says:

he said anyone who comes in the next 4 days doesnt have to wear keski

Singh Jee 2 says:

now this kind of made all the singhs that just fixed sikhi mad right

Singh Jee 2 says:

but they couldnt do anything because he was the jathedar

Singh Jee 2 says:

and they respected that, they were too humble

Singh Jee 2 says:

because these were some chardi kala singhs right

Singh Jee 2 says:

and so anyway this gurmukh singh guy has control

Singh Jee 2 says:

and so for those 4 days thousands of women went to akal takhat to take amrit without dastar

Singh Jee 2 says:

and then more demand for it started

Singh Jee 2 says:

and he said every other week, then every other day

Singh Jee 2 says:

then the other takhts started doing it and eventually, keski just got phased out

Singh Jee 2 says:

now, bhai randhir singh was around during this time and he said no.. gurmukh singh is wrong

Singh Jee 2 says:

and thats why akj still requires keski

Singh Jee 2 says:

because bhai randhir singh jee didnt allow his jatha to change with this manmat

Singh Jee 2 says:

i dont agree with groups, but here akj is right

Singh Jee 2 says:

this man changed sikhi

Singh Jee 2 says:

over the course of time it became accepted

Singh Jee 2 says:

and people said then whats the 5th kakkar?

Singh Jee 2 says:

and eventually it became kes out of ignorance and people deciding to forget history

Singh Jee 2 says:

but if you talk to anyone in their 70s or 80s they will tell u what i just said

Singh Jee 2 says:

i learned it from bibi harsharan kaur jee and others

Singh Jee 1 says:

What about a list of reasons, or points?

Singh Jee 2 says:

ok, so list of reasons

Singh Jee 2 says:

Theres a book they handed out at a samagam

Singh Jee 2 says:

bhenji are u still with us?

Seeker Kaur says:

hunji

Singh Jee 2 says:

before i start on that do u have any questions? about the history etc?

Seeker Kaur says:

nahi ji

Seeker Kaur says:

not at the moment

Singh Jee 2 says:

ok

Singh Jee 2 says:

now on to the word kakkar what does this mean?

Singh Jee 2 says:

linguists seem to say it comes from the punjabi verb karna, which means to do or make

Singh Jee 2 says:

now if you notice all the other kakkars are made, right?

Singh Jee 2 says:

but we dont make our hair, god does

Singh Jee 2 says:

but we do make keski, thus keski is a kakkar

Singh Jee 2 says:

in bani it says saabat soorat dastar siraa, this means that the human body must always have a dastar on it

Singh Jee 2 says:

also, some people right from birth dont have any hair because of disease

Singh Jee 2 says:

how can they be amritdhari then?

Singh Jee 2 says:

u cant take amrit with only 4 kakkars

Singh Jee 2 says:

then amrit would be imperfect and not for everyone

Singh Jee 1 says:

Seeker kaur! make sure you're reading everything hes saying

Singh Jee 2 says:

and what if they lose their hair to a disease?

Seeker Kaur says:

i am!

Singh Jee 2 says:

then they are no longer amritdhari

Singh Jee 2 says:

also, why are only guys required to wear keski?

Singh Jee 2 says:

if you saw me at gurudwara with a braid

Singh Jee 2 says:

would u consider me a singh?

Singh Jee 1 says:

never!!

Singh Jee 1 says:

imagine if all men stopped wearing their dastaars, sikhi wouldnt be carried on and it would go down the tubes

Seeker Kaur says:

waheguru

Singh Jee 1 says:

no one to carry on the tradition

Singh Jee 2 says:

so why is this split? if in sikhism men and women are equal?

Singh Jee 1 says:

sooner or later

Singh Jee 1 says:

other things would become lost too

Singh Jee 1 says:

the dastaar is the backbone of keeping sikhi alive and pure

Singh Jee 2 says:

in all the old rehitnamas

Singh Jee 2 says:

by Bhai Daya Singh Jee and others

Singh Jee 1 says:

Bhai chaupa singh, Bhai nandlal singh

Singh Jee 2 says:

and even historical accounts by goray and muslims

Singh Jee 1 says:

british generals

Singh Jee 1 says:

etc.

Singh Jee 2 says:

they say people took amrit with dastar, always, even women

Singh Jee 2 says:

which astonished many outside observers, so they made a point of writing it

Singh Jee 2 says:

and all the old rehitnamas have requirements for each kakkar

Singh Jee 2 says:

(Ex. kanga must be wooden, kirpan must have a sheath)

Singh Jee 2 says:

why isnt there a similar requirement for kes?

Singh Jee 2 says:

why is it that kes is considered a kurait?

Singh Jee 2 says:

its held higher in sikhi than any of the kakkars

Singh Jee 2 says:

if u cut ur hair then u have to pesh

Singh Jee 2 says:

why not pesh for any of the other kakars?

Singh Jee 2 says:

if u drop ur kanga u just say waheguroo and do ardas, u dont go pesh

Singh Jee 1 says:

okay Seeker kaur bhenji

Singh Jee 1 says:

are you convinced yet?

Singh Jee 2 says:

yes, because i have a lot more information

Singh Jee 1 says:

i think Singh Jee 2 is more then willing to do more seva and go on and on

Singh Jee 2 says:

yes...

Seeker Kaur says:

waheguru

Singh Jee 2 says:

so what do u think?

Singh Jee 2 says:

still need more information?

Seeker Kaur says:

nahi bhaji, i think its good

Singh Jee 1 says:

if you read everything, theres no way you wouldnt have been convinced

Singh Jee 1 says:

so Seeker kaur, start wearing a keski!

Seeker Kaur says:

oh bhaji, i am convinced

Seeker Kaur says:

waheguru

Singh Jee 2 says:

ok bhenji, keep learning about gursikhi! For more information you can also check out this link: http://www.tapoban.org/keski.htm

Singh Jee 2 says:

Waheguroo jee ka khalsa! Waheguroo jee kee fateh!!

Seeker Kaur says:

waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh

Singh Jee 1 says:

Vaheguru ji ka khalsa vaheguru ji kee fateh


Some other links:

http://www.mkhalsa.com/lit/keskievidence.html

3 comments:

G said...

khalsa ji.. i am glad you had the courage to to raise such an issue... historically "keski" has been the kakar... It is mentioned in "bhati vehi's" (Guru Kian Sakhi) which is one of the earliest Sikh records written by the bhatts that lived in guroo sahib's time... also it is mentioned in bhai chaupa singh rehitnama who was a hazuria sikh of guroo gobind singh mahraaj!!

like u have sed its not an issue of whether kesh or keski is kakar... there's no issue if everyone simply wears a dastar. issue is of basic rehit!!

sant baba attar singh ji... sant baba teja singh ji... sant baba gurbachan singh bhindranwale ji... sant baba kartar singh bhindranwale ji... bhai sahib randhir singh are some famous sikh's of the last century who's families followed keski rehit!

rsingh said...

Thanks for your post jio. I agree with you 100% :)

Anonymous said...

while i 100% agree a dastar is a necessity for both men & women...it must be stated that the bhatt vehi's rehitnama that says keski is a kakkar was written about 50 yrs after Guru Gobind singh Ji left for Sach Khand and the writer himself most likely was not even around at guru Ji's time

secondly...if you read the last Sri Mukh Vaakh Patshahi Dasami salok in Dasam Granth...the salok witten by Mahraj clearly states the 5k's...kanga, kara, kachera, kirpan & KES (not keski) and a sikh without these 5 will never be forgiven...while i have the upmost satkaar (respect) for all rehitnama's, i must admit the Ucharan of Guru Gobind singh Ji himself holds the most authority for me

while i have no problem with my brothers/sisters believing that keski is a kakkar, i wanted to highlight the other side of the arguement as well

Vaheguroo