Turban, among Sikhs; is becoming an attire worn during special occasions only. The Sikh community fears that the art of tying a turban will soon die out.
Three hundred years ago, devout Sikh men and women were urged to demonstrate their commitment by not cutting their hair and by carrying a sword, comb and bracelet. They were given the name “Singh,” which means lion in Hindi, as a mark of common brotherhood that eliminates caste distinctions.
With the decline in turban wearers, the community is thinking up ways to draw young people back to the tradition.
A group called Akal Purakh Ki Fauj, or the Army of the Timeless Being, organizes the annual Turban Pride Day in April, sends volunteers to schools to teach turban-tying and has introduced a software program called the Smart Turban that helps people pick a style that suits them.
Since 2005, the group has held the Mr. Singh International pageant for turbaned Sikhs. Among other talents, contestants must demonstrate their turban-tying skills.
A good no. of turban training centers has opened up in various cities in Punjab and Delhi. These centers have become popular among youth who visit these centers to get their turbans tied neatly for special occasions like marriage and some other festivities where they are required to look good.
Also, a lot of them feel that nobody in their family has time and patience to teach them how to tie a turban. Few states that their parents themselves cannot tie a good turban hence they are compelled to go to turban training centers to learn it.
Quite a few Gurudwara committees both in Punjab and outside India have been trying to promote Gursikhi-focused events - one of them being turban tying competition, especially during the time of Vaisakhi Mela. This becomes a light-hearted take on the judging criteria with the intention to inspire Sikhs to wear their turbans with pride.
Recently, an App with the name Turbanizer was launched for iPhones and iPad. It allows one to try on over 50 different styles of turbans in photos taken from the camera or from Facebook. The output of which can be shared via email, Twitter or Facebook.
Mr. Ash Singh, creator of the App wanted non-Turban wearers to visualize themselves in a Turban so as to help break the stigma associated with it. He terms it as an initiative to make the turban a mainstream fashion wear.
Apart from this, there have been several Feature Films, Documentaries and exhibitions to promote the Sikh culture of wearing Turbans.