Turban’s role in Canadian life examined in Sikh Heritage Museum show opening Sunday

Published: January 18, 2013

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Turbans at Sikh Heritage Museum

Satwinder Bains, Director of the Sikh Heritage Museum in Abbotsford, with UFV student Anmol Boparai, set up some of the displays for the new exhibit: ‘Canadian Sikh Identity: The Turban Challenge and the Evolution of the Turban or Pagri.’ Larissa Cahute/PNG

Satwinder Bains doesn’t want the Sikh history to disappear.

“We don’t record our history,” the Director of Abbotsford’s Sikh Heritage Museum told Vancouver Desi. “So we need to engage more.”

The museum’s third historical exhibit — premiering Sunday — takes a look at the “turban challenge” Sikhs faced as they settled into Canada and the evolution of it.

“Since 1904 from when they arrived there’s been consistent public as well as government attention paid to the turban,” said Bains. “The turban also is part of our history in Canada and we want to make sure that our history is recorded correctly and the history includes us.

“Sometimes students don’t read that history in their school system.”

The exhibit takes a look at a pioneer family’s settlement in Canada, displays turbans from around the world and examines challenges the RCMP and army have faced with the turban.

“Although we have a 100-year history, I think there are still questions in the Canadian mind about the turban and what it signifies,” said Bains. “There’s always this conversation going on around the city that I think we need to … maybe expose it a bit more and find a venue for people to have that discussion about it.”

She hopes the Sikh Heritage Museum will be one of those venues and help explain the important religious symbolism of the turban, which is that all baptized Sikhs must wear it because it’s part of the five symbols to identify Sikhs given by the last prophet.

RELATED STORIES:

“This is why the RCMP had to understand that we couldn’t just take off the turban at will … it’s something you wear in the morning and remove at night,” said Bains.

And although the turban has “come a long way,” it’s still “static at some level.”

“There’s still history that’s old and ancient that continues to carry over into the diaspora,” said Bains. “We haven’t lost that — it hasn’t become part of an ancient folklore history or religion.”

But with that, it still suffers discrimination.

“It’s very poignant for us that even today kids are discriminated against in the school system,” said Bains.“The worst thing is fear of the unknown … we’re trying to break that down.”

The exhibit isn’t just a learning place for non-Sikhs, though — Bains wants the younger generation of Sikhs to understand its importance, because many young Sikh boys aren’t wearing the turban.

“Is there going to be a time when the younger generation doesn’t have a connection to the turban?” asked Bains.

“We want to acknowledge that the turban has a role in Canadian life. The turban has so much meaning to us and we want to make sure you understand that meaning.”

The exhibit officially opens Sunday at 2p.m. and is expected to run until September. Sunday’s opening will include a keynote address from Baltej Singh Dhillon, the first turbaned Sikh member of the RCMP, a turban-tying demonstration, a documentary and food and refreshments.

The Sikh Heritage Museum is located at 33094 South Fraser Way in Abbotsford, directly across from the Khalsa Diwan Society.

Tags: , ,





Featured

India pachydermal love story

Indian elephant heartbroken after partner’s death

VANCOUVER DESI An elephant in India has been diagnosed with a broken heart after its partner died on Tuesday, according to the Hindustan Times. The…
Continue Reading »

Police tape

Woman found dead in Abbotsford park identified as Mission resident

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police have identified a woman found dead in Mill Lake Park on Wednesday morning as a 36-year-old Mission resident. The…
Continue Reading »

monkey man

India employs men dressed in ape suits to scare away monkeys from parliament

VANCOUVER DESI The Indian government has hired ape-men or men dressed as langurs to scare off monkeys from the parliament and government buildings, according to…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Police tape

Woman found dead in Abbotsford park identified as Mission resident

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police have identified a woman found dead in Mill Lake Park on Wednesday morning as a 36-year-old Mission resident. The…
Continue Reading »

medical distress

RCMP seek public’s help to identify woman found in medical distress in Burnaby

VANCOUVER DESI The Burnaby RCMP are seeking public’s help in identifying an unknown woman who was found “in medical distress” on Wednesday. Police said she…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-politics-desi

Surrey councillor Barinder Rasode set to launch next phase of “summer engagement series”

VANCOUVER DESI As she gears up for the upcoming Surrey election this fall, city councillor Barinder Rasode is launching the next phase of her “summer…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

India-rape-protest

Minor allegedly raped by temple priest in southern India

HINDUSTAN TIMES An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a temple priest in Bangalore on Tuesday, less than a month after a seven-year-old was raped…
Continue Reading »

10448541_801823293184201_5325323972611294529_desi

Miss Diva 2014 gears up for auditions

IANS New Delhi – Miss Diva, that was launched last year as an official franchise from India for Miss Universe, is set to start auditions…
Continue Reading »

Scene from Airtel's latest commercial. YouTube/Screengrab.

Indian telecom company’s not so progressive ad featuring a “boss wife” causes Twitter reaction

IANS New Delhi  – Is a woman who calls the shots in the office then goes home to cook for her husband – who’s also…
Continue Reading »

child death

Toddler falls into pot of boiling syrup, dies

  IANS New Delhi – A three-year-old boy died after he fell into a pot of boiling sugar syrup, police said here Wednesday. The child,…
Continue Reading »

Merritt music festival

Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds. “Bass Coast Festival…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

SALMAN KHAN

Kick: Salman Khan, Sajid Nadiadwala kick up a storm

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Kick”; Cast: Salman Khan, Randeep Hooda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Jacqueline Fernandez; Director: Sajid Nadiadwala; Rating: **** “Kick toh banta hai,…
Continue Reading »

Anish_Paris_2_small

Indian author pens sequel to Jeffrey Archer’s ‘First Among Equals’ for Bollywood film

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Mumbai – In what must qualify as a first in the field of literary adaptations, author-columnist Anish Trivedi has written a…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan joins hands with Indian TV channel to host Indian version of “Got Talent”

IANS Mumbai – Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has joined hands with Hindi general entertainment channel Colors for his return to the small screen. He will…
Continue Reading »