TURBANOLOGY LARGE PRINT LABELS
1. Introductory Panel Imagine living in a world where, whenever they wanted, every man and woman could wear a crown. What would your crown be like? There is a real community that wears a crown or ‘Dastaar’ in not just our society but every climate and country in the world – the Sikhs. For thirty million Sikhs, fashion has followed faith down through the centuries and now many styles of turbans can be seen. The Turbanology exhibition artfully catalogues the different types of Dastaar that Sikhs wear. We also explore why the right to wear a turban is central to the Sikh faith. Today there are many growing misunderstandings and misrepresentations of this aspect of Sikh identity. Turbanology dispels the myths and unravels the real culture and heritage making up the Sikh Dastaar.
We want you to be a part of the show – send in your pictures, have your say and suggest more turban styles and stories for us to feature via www.turbanology.info The Turbanology Team Director – Jay Singh-Sohal Curator – Scholars and Warriors Designer – Mandeep Malhi Graphics – Amit Patel Photography – Jaskirt Dhaliwal Online – Forward Slash Designs Publicist – Sukhmani Vig Archive Pictures Courtesy of: GNNSJ, Birmingham National Army Museum
Peter Bance, Coronet House Sandhurst Collection UK MoD/Crown Copyright 2011 © Dot Hyphen Productions 2011 The “Turbanology” name brand and concept are solely the intellectual property of Jagjeet Singh Sohal.
2. The Head and the Heart (Banner ONE) The long piece of cloth that makes up a Sikh’s turban has a sacred purpose, since to preserve and keep hair clean and uncut is a religious duty. But “turban” is only the English name for any kind of Eastern headdress. It’s a word that’s interwoven with three hundred years of European myths and stories: it’s not the word that Sikhs use themselves. For a Sikh, a turban is never a hat but always a crown or “Dastaar”. A European crown is traditionally made of valuable metal and precious stones, to be carefully preserved, inherited; coveted. A linen dastaar is simple, clean and practical. It requires pride and a sense of purpose to tie and must be freshly folded each day. This is why a Sikh’s turban always represents spiritual wisdom as much as worldly power. Following Sikh principles of equality, women may also wear the dastaar. Every Sikh will tie one individually, with many practical variations for worship, work and sport. With the dastaar around the head, a Sikh cannot hide his faith or his identity as a Saint-Soldier. The turban is a visible and constant reminder to be truthful, honourable, courageous and help those in need.
3. Twists and Turns (Banner TWO) Turbans are worn in many world cultures as practical or symbolic headdresses. But for the Sikhs, the turban is an article of faith central to their spiritual ethos and code of conduct. Their reasons are rooted in the 300 year history of the founders of Sikhism – the Gurus. The first Guru – Nanak Dev – traveled across India and the Middle East in the 15th century, debating with many Hindu sadhus and Muslim fakirs. For these diverse communities, the turban was a shared symbol of saintly wisdom connecting man to God. The Gurus saw the turban as much more, the sixth Guru, Hargobind, adapted the turban to the martial tradition of the Warrior-Saints by making it larger, stronger and suited for the battlefield. In 1699, the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, created the Khalsa – an order of initiated Sikh men and women – at Anandpur in the Punjab. The turban was from then on to be worn as a constant reminder of the sovereign and independent nature of the Sikhs, and that each Sikh is a distinct and constant representative of the Guru. Every Sikh will aspire to wear a turban whether devout or practicing.
4. Divine Law, Human Law (Banner THREE) When tales of wartime bravery were told, the Sikhs became known all over the world as warriors. But as manual labourers? As shopkeepers? As bus conductors? Sikh settlers in Britain were rarely shown the respect they had enjoyed as students or soldiers. Discrimination against the Sikh religious identity became a feature of 1960’s Britain. State-run public transport depots banned conductors, guards and drivers from wearing beards and turbans. These bans were fought and overturned by the trade unions, workers’ associations and by fair-minded individuals who remembered the Sikh’s wartime sacrifices. 1969 was the year Wolverhampton and Nottingham scrapped their turban bans, and Daya Singh Nibber became Birmingham’s first turbaned railway guard. Seven years later, turban-wearing Sikhs were gained exception from compulsion to wear safety helmets on motorbikes and building sites. But without full legal protection, wearing a turban could still count against any Sikh applying for a job or school. In 1983 Sewa Singh Mandla fought a ban on turbans at his son’s Birmingham school. The Sikh community organised
protest marches and petitioned politicians across the country. After losing their case at Birmingham’s law courts, the House of Lords ruled on appeal that wearing a turban was each Sikh’s right. 5. Turbanology 001 – ‘The Kenyan’ How to recognise a ‘Kenyan’ Dastaar: A smart, ironed and crisply folded layered turban. Colours: Varied; clean white in the tropics, a sedate black in modern corporate environments. The East African Connection: The so-called ‘Kenyan’ Dastaar is a popular turban with second and third generation British Sikhs. It was first worn in the UK by Sikhs migrating from Kenya and Tanzania, many of whom had filled senior roles in East African society. Judges, politicians, businessmen; their neat, precise turban style reflected their status as professionals. The origin of ‘The Kenyan’ is in the formal, folded and pressed style of turban developed as parade dress by Sikhs serving in the British Indian Army. These uniform turbans were smart but also large, making each soldier’s
silhouette more imposing. ’The Kenyan’ style remains in vogue and has become a signature look for British Sikhs. Help us improve our definition of ‘The Kenyan’ and send in your favourite pictures for inclusion in our show at facebook.com/ Turbanology.Sikhs.Unwrapped.Exhibition
6. Turbanology 002 – ‘The Double-Patti’ How to recognise a ‘Double-Patti’ Dastaar: A ‘double-patti’ can be difficult to positively identify as the wearer may adapt it into many different styles. It is usually larger than other turbans, with fewer folds and wraps. Colours are sometimes worn to complement shirts, ties, or even socks! One is Not Enough This style of turban is commonly seen in the Punjab, India. The ‘double-patti’ is named for the two long pieces of cloth which are sewn together into one wide band. The open cloth is wound around the head and formed into a smooth layer while tieing, giving the turban a thick and defined
outline. This method enables the wearer to create different turban-styles according to their preference; rounded out, taller or angled. Help us improve our definition of ‘The DoublePatti’ and send in your favourite pictures for inclusion in our show at facebook.com/ Turbanology.Sikhs.Unwrapped.Exhibition
7. Turbanology 003: ‘The Damalla’ How to recognise a ‘Damalla’: These round turbans are traditionally seen in blue or orange; white and other colours can sometimes be spotted. A ‘Damalla’ is made from two layers; the outer layer sometimes holding weapons and symbols – and even symbolic weapons! Winding for a Warrior ‘The Damalla’ is the traditional Sikh warrior turban. It cocoons the entire head, offering protection on the battlefield. A ‘Damalla’ is actually two or more pieces of cloth. The first is wrapped around the hair and ties off the
wearer’s hair into a top-knot. A piece of cloth as long as the wearer wishes is then chosen and wrapped around the head without ironing or folding. The ‘Damalla’ is the oldest form of turban, worn by the Sikh Gurus themselves. Over time it has come to represent the Sikh Khalsa and the discipline of these Warrior-Saints. The largest Damallas are often seen crowning the heads of Nihangs, fierce warriors, whose modified ‘Damallas’ are not just turbans but battle standards. Help us improve our definition of ‘The Damalla’ and send in your favourite pictures for inclusion in our show at facebook.com/ Turbanology.Sikhs.Unwrapped.Exhibition
8. About the show The Turbanology exhibition explores why the right to wear a turban is central to the Sikh faith, at a time when there are many growing misunderstandings and misrepresentations about them. Turbanology dispels these myths and unravels the real heritage that is wound into a Sikh's turban.
9. What you can see Crowned Heads - There are three plinths arranged around the gallery space, all with mounted mannequin heads. Each one models an example of a style of Sikh turban. That turban's unique history can be read from the plinth. Being Framed - There are three picture frames mounted on easels and arranged around the gallery. Each is specific to one of the turban styles featured in the show. All hold images of dozens of Sikhs proudly wearing that turban in their daily lives. Material Witnesses - There are three lengths of fabric in the gallery; Each one unravels a fascinating aspect of the story of Sikhs and their turbans. These stories will be added to as the show tours the UK. 10. What you can do Your Pictures - If you have a picture of yourself or someone you know wearing any of our Turbanology styles, please share it with us and we might feature it in the show. You can leave it at the front desk, with a contact number or email on the
reverse, or post it online at www.facebook.com/ Turbanology.Sikhs.Unwrapped.Exhibition (Sorry; we can't return your pictures) Your Ideas - Let us know what turbans you think we should feature next, and cast your vote on the ones we've already selected. Tell us what stories you think we should feature as Material Witnesses in our upcoming shows. www.facebook.com/ Turbanology.Sikhs.Unwrapped.Exhibition