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A Sikh with Turban
The Turban Victory

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: The Turban Victory:


Forward from Rev. Michael Hollings

I welcome this booklet written by Mr. Sydney Bidwell M.P.

Here is recorded the process by which his bill to exempt turbanned Sikhs from wearing motor-cycle crash helmets went stage by stage through the British Parliament.

We live at a time when there is much anxiety about the situation of different ethnic groups in the British Isles. It will be good for the study of race or community relations to be able to see how this bill went through both Houses, the Commons and the Lords, finally to emerge as part of the Law of this land.

It is not easy for people of different backgrounds and persuasions to understand what exactly is important for people who have another culture and another religion from their own. This calls for listening, patience, understanding and openness. Such is the essence of community work which strives to work within a society pledged to freedom, justice and peace.

The right to wear the turban is very dear to members of the Sikh nation. It has been challenged in other areas of our society, and the success of this bill will hearten Sikhs throughout the world.

The victory of the bill's passage through Parliament is a victory for toleration, and especially for religious toleration among all peoples.

Rev. Michael Hollings.

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Message from S. Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, Chandigarh, India.

I followed with interest, the struggle of the Sikhs in the United Kingdom, against the Law, insisting that they wear helmets, when riding motor-cycles. Since the turban is an article of faith with the Sikh people, the insistence on a crash helmet, was an intrusion on their religious belief. In keeping with their tradition, the Sikhs settled in the U.K., launched a peaceful struggle to have this wrong righted. In this struggle, they had the full support of the Punjab people. I am, therefore, pleased that this effort has borne fruit, and the laws have been suitably amended to the satisfaction of the Sikh Citizens of the United Kingdom.

I am conscious of the important role played by leaders of public opinion in the U.K., particularly, Mr. Sydney Bidwell M.P., in helping the Sikh Community resolve this vital issue. On behalf of all Punjabis I wish to express very grateful thanks to Mr. Bidwell and all those, who helped in this just cause.

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Message from Mr. Gurcharan Singh Tohra, M.P., President, Shiromani G.P. Committee, Amritsar, Punjab, India.

My dear Sydney Bidwell,

We very much appreciate your efforts in compiling this booklet, "The Turban Victory". The continuous struggle, waged against wearing of crash helmets by Sikhs of U.K. and your championing their just cause which compelled the British Government to see reason to the demand for exempting the Sikh Community from these obligations.

In this back-ground a small book of yours is surely an historic one that will display your significant role played in this hard-won victory.

Please accept hearty greetings at this remarkable occasion.

With best wishes and kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

(Gurcharan Singh Tohra)

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Message from Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, Sikh Dharma Brotherhood, Guru Ram Das Ashram, King Edward's Gardens, Acton, London.

'The Turban Victory' is truly a victory in many ways. it is a victory for the cause of individual and religious freedom; it is a victory for the Sikh community in confirming its identity; ie., the 'bana' or outward form of the Sikh; it is a simple victory of 'right' over reason and logic.

It is another victory to see this work, the documentation of a part of the struggle and growth of a universal, and international religious community. Representing the Sikhs of Western birth, I offer my congratulations upon the publication of this work, and my prayers that all of the sacrifice of five centuries, all of the history of service and tolerance which the turban presents, all of the glory and royalty instilled within its fibers, may serve to unite the Sikh community towards the highest service of all humankind.'

February, 1978.
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