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Turban Day Act

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    World Affairs
  • Published
    14th Jun, 2022


With the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in Canada passing the Turban Day Act, April 13 every year will now be celebrated as Turban Day across the province. 

  • The month of April is celebrated as Sikh Heritage Month across Canada after the Federal Parliament passed the Bill in 2019 and it was given the Royal Assent.

What is the Turban Day Act about?

  • The Act says that each year, April 13 is to be known throughout Manitoba as Turban Day. 
    • The turban is an important symbol for many Sikh Canadians, signifying individual sovereignty, self-respect, courage and human equality.
    • The Act adds that giving an official recognition to the turban will also spread awareness against racism that Sikhs still face in Canada.
  • The Turban Day Act was introduced in the Manitoba House as a private members Bill. 
  • The Bill underwent its first reading on March 24, 2022, the second reading on April 7 and the third on May 26. 
  • It finally got the Royal Assent on June 1.
  • The Bill was passed unanimously and without a single opposition.
  • The Act adds that giving an official recognition to the turban will also spread awareness against racism that Sikhs still face in Canada.

Why April 13?

  • The day of Baisakhi or Vaisakhi, which usually falls on April 13 or 14 each year, is observed as a major festival to celebrate the birth of the Khalsa Panth.
  • It was on this day in 1699 that the tenth Guru Gobind Singh had laid the foundation of Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib among his followers. 
  • The practice of wearing the turban was formalized on April 13, 1699, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji formed the Khalsa Panth and pronounced the turban a pillar of the Sikh faith; and whereas Sikhs have faced violence and persecution throughout the world because of their religious identity,” the Act stated.

Significance of the Act

  • Sikh Canadians, despite contributing immensely to the development of Canada and being an integral part of the society, still face racism and discrimination at various levels and hence, a day that officially recognises turban as a part of Canada’s diversity and multiculturalism was the need of the hour.
  • Some Sikhs face racism and discrimination because of their turban, hair and beard. Sikhs facing discrimination at workplaces, in public spaces such as parks, restaurants etc, and several comments are passed at them for the way they look. Things got worse after 26/11 in the US and its repercussions are still being felt. 
    • The only answer to all this is awareness regarding the turban.

Sikh community IN Canada

  • Sikhs constitute just 1.4 per cent (around 5 lakh in number) of Canada’s total population but hold significant positions in the government and political system. 
  • Not just Sikhs, Canada remains the most preferred destination for Punjabis to immigrate.

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