These Tauranga Sikhs are turning heads

Puran Singh hasn’t had a haircut for 48 years – in fact he’s never had a haircut.

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Sikhs have made turbans their own – from left Balvir Singh, Malkeet Singh, Surinder Kaur, Puran Singh, Inderpreet Kaur and Anoop Singh. Photo: John Borren/SunLive
By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |

Puran Singh hasn’t had a haircut for 48 years – in fact he’s never had a haircut.

“Never, never, never in my life,” insists this elder and president of the Tauranga Sikh community.

This morning, as he does every morning, Puran tucked his waist length locks up into an elegant cream coloured turban. He cuts a dash, he is ready to face the day, ready to satisfy the punters at his novelty Indian food shop in Cameron Road.

Sikhs maintain five articles of faith, referred to as the five ‘Ks’ because they all start with K. The most distinctive one is kesh – keeping hair uncut and maintained in a turban.

But it’s what can’t be seen that fascinates The Weekend Sun – after nearly five decades growing wild, how long is that hair contained in the cream turban?

“It is not much, it is just like this,” says Puran Singh indicating to his middle, lower back. That requires Puran to put a myth to bed. “At a certain point the hair stops growing. Like height, people stop growing.” Which puts paid to the fairy tale about Rapunzel.

Why are blokes sitting around sharing grooming points, intimate behind-the-closed-bathroom-door personal stuff. Because Puran and a couple of other Sikhs are kindly educating an unenlightened, non-turban wearing Pakeha reporter with some insights into arguably the most recognisable cultural accoutrement anywhere in the world – the turban.

All this ahead of Tauranga’s Turban Day on Saturday, August 24, between 11am and 2pm. The Sikh community invites us to “come and try the crown yourself”, instilling The Strand with a faint but exotic flavor of the Sikhs holy city of Amritsar in the northwestern state of Punjab.

“We just want to share our culture,” says 17-year-old music studies student at Otumoetai College Inderpreet Kaur. “We just want to show people who we are and what we stand for, that we are a bit different but are part of your community, and to share our culture.” And a little knowledge, she hopes, will bring understanding and appreciation.

When Puran Singh came to Tauranga in 2002 he was a taxi driver. “People would confuse me for a Muslim.” It was the bushy beard that confused his passengers. “I would have to tell them we were different people, there’s a religious difference.”

Read the full story, ‘They‘re turning heads’ (SunLive, 11 Aug 2019), here.

 

RELATED STORY:

One thing she will not consider is giving up her turban (Asia Samachar,  13 Aug 2019)

 

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