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Bingham Sikh Shows his Faith

Adam Watanabe, Staff Writer

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Faith is not just a Sunday observance to Bingham Senior Navdeep Singh, it’s an everyday observance. Religion is a way of life for him. Navdeep is a member of the Sikh faith, a religion popular in western India. Sikhism has existed since the 1500s and is the sixth largest religion in the world with 25 million members. Men of the faith are most commonly known by the turbans they wear-something that Navdeep embraces.

“I just wear it at school,” said Navdeep. “When I go home I take it off. Whenever I go out I wear it.”

Navdeep shows his faith the way Catholics do through the cross: outwardly. The Bingham senior wears his turban or pagg each school day as a sign of his faith in God.

The pagg is mandatory for male followers of Sikhism. The Sikhs wear the pagg to cover the head and are forbidden from cutting their hair. It is a way to express belief and conviction.

“My hair is a gift from God,” said Bhai Gurmeet Singh Garib, Head Priest of the Sikh Temple of Utah. “God tells us not to cut our hair.”

Head Priest Garib explained that the pagg is worn for the safety of the head. It is a sign of respect. Mr. Garib always wears his pagg. He also has different paggs for multiple occasions.

Although Navdeep does not cut his hair, his face remains clean-shaven. He said that people might be afraid to speak to him if it wasn’t.

In spite of the size of the Sikh religion, many people still remain unaware of it. There are misconceptions surrounding the pagg and its resemblance to head garbs worn in Middle Eastern cultures. Navdeep has faced this himself in his daily life.

“I felt different,” said Navdeep. ”The first week of school people looked at me differently. They would ask me what the turban was. They thought it was a sign of a terrorist.”

Navdeep’s father faced similar misconceptions when he first arrived from India. As a restaurant worker his father was not allowed to wear his pagg because the owner thought it looked bad to the customers. Navdeep has taken it upon himself to actively wear his turban as a way of introducing others to Sikhism.

Navdeep continues his conviction in his faith. When asked, he politely educates people that he is not a terrorist, but just practicing his religion.

“Before you talk, think,” Navdeep says to those who don’t know of his religion. “Other people have feelings.”

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The student news site of Bingham High School
Bingham Sikh Shows his Faith