A dastaar is a type of turban, or wrapped head covering. Dastaars are worn by Sikhs. Sikhs are members of a religion (Sikhism) that developed in South Asia in the 1600s. Today, Sikhism is practiced by more than 25 million people all over the world.
 
All Sikh men are required to wear dastaars. Some Sikh women choose to wear a dastaar, but it isn’t required.
 
Sikhs are not allowed to cut their hair. Dastaars are worn as a sign of respect, and represent a commitment to equality and justice. Sikh children will often wear a smaller square piece of cloth, called a patka, to cover the topknot on their heads.
 
Hats or helmets are not permitted to cover dastaars. This can create conflict when the law or custom requires a Sikh man to wear another type of headwear, such as a bicycle helmet or the cap of a military uniform. Read the “Fast Facts” for examples of how five nations have allowed (or not allowed) Sikhs to wear dastaars in different situations.
complex
Adjective

complicated.

controversial
Noun

questionable or leading to argument.

dastaar
Noun

type of turban, or wrapped head covering, worn by all practicing Sikh men and some Sikh women.

discipline
Verb

to train or control.

economic
Adjective

having to do with money.

forbid
Verb

to disallow or prohibit.

fundamental
Adjective

basic or primary.

heritage
Noun

cultural or family background.

Indian subcontinent
Noun

landmass in south-central Asia carried by the Indian tectonic plate, including the peninsula of India.

mandatory
Adjective

required.

prior
Adjective

before or ahead of.

Sikh
adjective, noun

people and culture that believe in one God, equality, freedom of religion, and community service 

symbol
Noun

something used to represent something else.

turban
Noun

man's head covering consisting of a long piece of cloth wrapped around a cap or around the head.