Who Are Sikhs?

Sikhs are an ethno-religious community founded over five hundred years ago by Guru Nanak, the first of the ten Sikh gurus, in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent.

Sikhs have lived in Australia in small numbers since the 1830s. We fought for the allied forces in both world wars, and even as Anzacs in Gallipoli. While Sikhs make up only 0.5 percent of the Australian population today, they are the nation’s fastest growing and fifth largest religion.

Sikhs are perhaps most recognisable by our turbans, one of the five articles of faith a baptised Sikh should wear on their body.

Baptised Sikhs don’t cut their hair, letting it grow naturally as a sign of respect to God. Wrapping a turban around our long hair is not only practical, but forms a spiritual crown that centres the energy stored within the hair. We also wear a steel bracelet to symbolise the oneness of God, a wooden comb to keep our hair clean, special undergarments for modesty and a ceremonial sword that shows our willingness to fight against injustice.

The Sikh faith has always had a strong focus on social justice and equality. Selfless service to the community, or seva, is one of the core tenets of Sikhism. Sikhs are called to help people of all faiths and backgrounds. And since the very beginning, the Sikh gurus taught that men and women are equal. Both women and men are deserving of full rights, and can participate equally in all aspects of worship.

We have a strong tradition of langar, or running community kitchens in our temples. People from all walks of life, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion or social status, are welcome to enjoy a free vegetarian meal with us as equals in our places of worship.

These are the values that drive Turbans 4 Australia to pursue a more just, equal and tolerant society.