Sikhism – a religion originated in the Punjab region of India, teaches selfless service, Devine justice, equality and lies in the teaching of the Guru Nanak and successors. Among other things, the religion follows strict norms and traditions and philosophies of the Gurus. Wearing a headgear in Sikhism is compulsory- also known as “Pagri”; “Pag” or “Dastar”.
Dastar in Sikhism symbolizes – self-respect, honor, pride, spirituality, morality, courage, responsibility and piousness. There are different styles of wearing a dastar namely – “Nok- Double Patti”; “Chand Tora”; “Amritsar Dhamala”; “Patka”; “Patiala Shahi”; and “General Sikh Dastar”.
Nihang – “Akal Sena”
Nihangs or “Akali” means “the immortals” have a history of Sikh military. They were known as the Sikh warrior and fought many battles and were known for their victories. They were brave and brutal. They carried swords and other arms and the attire included “big conical turbans” – “Pagri”.
The Turban Man – Avtar Singh
Residence of town Patiala, a Nihang wears his faith, courage , honor, and pride every day which now has given him the accolade of the “Heaviest Turban wearing man in the world” – Mr. Avtar Singh Mauni. This 60-year-old Nihang started wearing Pagri from the age of 10 years and used to wear a turban measuring 151 metres. Since last 16 years, he has been adding to it and now the turban measures 645 meters which is equivalent to 2116 feet. This gigantic turban weighs 100 lb or 45 kgs. Though this is still to be validated, if so then he will beat the existing “Guinness World Record” holder – Major Singh.
Mauni takes around six hours to wear the turban and says that when he’s not wearing the Pagri he feels that a part of his body is missing. Hard to believe that, wearing almost 50 kgs on the head and balancing the same throughout the day with ease. Just because of the size he cannot travel on all the public transports except – a bike. The actual weight after he adds on the – arms and ornaments, is almost 85 kgs.
He says by the grace of the “Guru” this weight feels like a “Lotus” on his head. His faith in the “Guru” makes him so strong that he is ready to wear this turban throughout his lifespan. He explains the process of wearing the Pag by saying that it takes a lot of practice and he keeps on wrapping the – yellow, blue and black coloured cloth till he finishes the task.
Mauni is also known as “Babaji” and is an instant celebrity wherever he moves and gets the attention because of the turban and onlookers ask for photographs. To which he sometimes gets annoyed, after all, it takes hours for him to wear, and people just enjoy the last click of it. Mauni is an inspiration for today’s young Sikh children who have started disobeying by not growing their hairs and wear a turban. He is also a live example of faith, in the almighty.
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