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France stokes a turban revolution
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The turban controversy in France has virtually triggered a wave of awakening about its importance in this part of the country.

Schools are being set up to train Sikh youths in turban tying. Competitions are being held by various Sikh organisations to honour the youths who have perfected the art of tying turban.

After 1990 Sikh youths, in big numbers, had started becoming clean-shaven and these were mainly from colleges and universities. But, now, it appears, the turban is staging a comeback in a big way in this region.

The most interesting development is turban has become theme of Punjabi folklore, especially Punjabi folk songs in recent past. A large number of folk songs have been dedicated to turban by Punjabi singers in recent months. Ravinder Grewal’s folk song “pag banani na bhul jayo, o Punjabio” has been a hit for several weeks. Babbu Mann’s recently released song “pehlan main sardar han” is topping the popularity charts in the region. It is the first time Babbu has worn the turban while singing the song in the video. A few weeks ago Hardip Gill came out with Punjabi hit on turban theme “pagan cho pag sardaran di.

Earlier, Shamsher Sandhu’s song “geet hove Punjabian di pag varga” had become a hit. Pammi Bhai’s latest song “pagan cho pag Patiala shahi e” has become a hot song. Another song by Bitta from Batala topping the popularity charts is “tohar sadi jag to niari mitro, sadi pag sanu jan ton piari mitro”. A duet “har pase teri pagri the gal ve” sung by Nikku and Jaspinder Narula has also become immensely popular.

Earlier, also turban used to be part of the Punjabi songs but in a different contest. “Pagri sambhal jatta” had become a theme song of the freedom movement in the farmer community all over the country.

All Punjabi folk singers such as Yamla Jat, Karamjit Dhuri, Chandi Ram, Harcharan Grewal, Didar Sandhu used to tie turban in a peculiar style while singing on stage. Gurdas Mann was perhaps the first artiste who did not wear turban but became a famed Punjabi folk singer. Abroad it was Malkiat Singh of “tutak tutak tutian” fame, who made the turban popular. Daler Mehndi also played vital role in making turban popular. “Whenever any minority community faces adverse situation with regard to its identity, it obviously reacts strongly. Apart from resorting to agitations and other modes of protest, it uses its folklore to inspire its constituents to defend the identity,” says a social scientist.



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