A conversation about Sikh Identity between a child and his parents.

Parents: You need to have a Sikh Identity.

Child: Why?

Parents: Because we say so.

Child: Well, what do you mean by that?

Parents: We are your parents. You’re just a kid.

If you don’t listen to us, then you’ll get in trouble.

Child: Really?

Parents: Absolutely.

Child: How will I get in trouble?

Parents: If you don’t comply, we’ll threaten you. We’ll make you feel afraid.

Child: You mean like Aurangzeb and Jahangir did that to our Gurus?

Parents: Hey, you’re just a child. You are getting ahead of yourself.

Child: So, what’s wrong with that?

Parents: Like we told you before, you are just a child.

You can’t look after yourself. We take care of you.

Child: If you take care of me, then will you stop taking care of me if I don’t do as you say?

Parents: Well, there are some things that you can get away with. But we will still care for you.

Child: Why can’t I get away by having a Sikh Identity that is without long hair and a turban?

Parents: Well, that is impossible. The Sikh Identity is based upon keeping long hair. You cannot be a Sikh without keeping long hair. When you become a man, you must wear the turban.

Child: Okay but was Guru Nanak a Sikh?

Parents: What do you mean?

Child: I was told that the old pictures show him wearing a seli topi and I am not sure what “seli” means but the other word means a hat.

Parents: No, no, no. You have got the wrong information.  Guru Nanak did not wear a topi. Wearing a topi is against the Sikh religion.

Child: Okay, if he did not wear a topi then how come there are old paintings of him wearing one? I have seen those paintings of him sitting in the middle with Mardana and Bala on either side.

Parents: Well, you are correct. We’re so used to seeing the more recent paintings of him. In the more recent paintings, he is shown wearing a turban.

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