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What to do with an old turban

After a while of wearing and washing a turban, it starts to get older and older. Soaps and friction break down the threads, the hair is oily which means it does need washing. Sometimes people wonder what to do with an older turban.

There are people who choose to burn a turban once it gets too old for it to be very servceable. However, in the interest of preserving the environment, that might not be the best way to “dispose” of one, releasing smoke into the air, especially if the turban maybe came from a place where dyes are not as environmentally friendly as some of GoSikh’s dyes.

While it is to be noted that many Sikhs think that it is important to treat the royal turban with utmost respect, it seems questionable that certain ways of using the cloth (which honestly could be purchased for any other purpose than a turban too, when originally bought!) might be “better” than others. Our bodies, in general, need cloth to cover them. We were born nude, it is our most natural state of being, and yet climate is the very first barrier to remaining nude…before societal norms even evolved to where they are now. In many places it is too cold to be nude, and in other places it is too hot and most people would burn without some clothing over their shoulders. If all body parts require clothing, and the cloth forcibly comes from essentially the same sources (be they cotton, bamboo, hemp…), is one type of cloth more “special” than another only because its original purpose was to cover the head? This is a serious question worth asking of one’s self!

Once a turban becomes very old, has holes and tatters, there are many things people can opt to do with it before maybe ending its life in an inferno. In other words, why can it not be reincarnated somehow, for at least a second or third life perhaps? Some people take the better parts of the cloth, that aren’t yet full of holes or fraying too badly, and turn them into patkas. Some could cut into strips, and make into handbags. In actual fact, it seems that if a turban is frayed or has holes only in SOME parts of it, perhaps turning it into any number of smaller (shorter/narrower) turbans for younger heads could be of benefit to young people.

To be honest, there are also a number of people who do work that tends to get dirty. Car mechanics, for example, would probably not put on their best newest turban for a dirty day in the mechanic’s shop, and yet, no practicing Sikh would generally advise them to “just go without”, as the turban is to protect the hair from outside dirt and grime! In that vein, perhaps they will be using an older, more frayed, dirtier turban for their mechanics, or a farmer in a dusty dirty field would be doing the same. That being said…there are people who get offended at the idea that a turban be turned into a rag for cleaning, and the question should really be asked, what is the difference between a portion of the rattiest looking material left (after removing better parts for bags or patkas) being used as a rag, and having car oil or dirt from the field fall on one’s turban? In the interest of keeping an open mind, it is definitely food for thought.

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