In India, the status of turban is linked with religious beliefs and practices in addition to the already existing social ceremonies. The understanding on the position of turban in the Indian society can be attained through the examination of cultures, conventions and customs it used to be, or is prevalent in.
Once considered to be a sign of holiness, wearing of turban eventually became a symbol, highlighting wearer’s position and rank in society, with its size, material and style. The Sikh Gurus however, vehemently opposed stratification of society. They diligently worked to create an egalitarian society dedicated to justice and equality of which turban (known as ‘Dastar’ in Punjabi) is the symbol of sovereignty.
While other communities gradually discarded the wearing of turban mostly due to the influence of western culture but for the Sikhs the turban remains the gift of their Guru which they carry everywhere they go. It is believed that the turban deepens the connection between the Sikh and the Guru. Just by being exposed to this regal quality, their attitudes and psyche get shaped in a certain way and instils the Sikh with a great deal of responsibility.
In the recent years turbaned Sikhs became victims of mistaken identities especially after 9/11. Globally, as well as within India, there is a growing ignorance and misunderstanding about the role and purpose of the Sikh turban. In such a context, this research becomes important in exploring and documenting the historic, spiritual and cultural significance of turban which has become an indispensable part of the identity of a Sikh.