Abdul Hakeem, a Muslim man from Gidderbaha, Punjab, wore a turban to his wedding for a heartwarming reason. Showing solidarity with the Sikhs who helped Muslims and gave them food and shelter amid the violence in Delhi, Hakeem and many of the guests wore turbans in support of the message of unity across religions.
Wait, wasn’t his family upset that he didn’t follow the dress code?
We all know how rigid desi families can be when it comes to dressing for weddings, especially when it comes to religious symbolism. “Don’t wear white,” “You must wear red,” “Black kapdon se apshagun hota hai,” and whatnot. So, it’s not easy to de-communalise any South Asian wedding, be it Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, or Christian. Yet, Abdul’s family and in-laws realised the socio-political significance of what he did, and lauded him for it.
According to a report in the Tribune India, Abdul’s sasurji, Saleem Khan, was proud of the decision, and said, “People are still congratulating me, as it was a one-of-a-kind gesture. Abdul had told us in advance that he would sport a turban in the honour of Sikhs who rescued Muslims in Delhi, and give the message of communal harmony. We were happy with his decision.”
The Tribune also reported him saying, “A true Muslim is identified not only by his cap, but also by his honesty. In the same vein, a true Sikh’s identity is not only his turban, but also his Gursikhi.”
Given how weddings are all about community and society, why shouldn’t we use it to talk about social issues?
During the recent Delhi riots, an Amnesty International video of Sikh and Muslim men exchanging skull caps and turbans went viral as a message of solidarity. So, the fact that Hakeem and his baraat incorporated that message into their wedding is beautiful.
In fact, many weddings today involve doing something good for the community, from being eco-friendly, to contributing to charities. Given how we are always told that weddings are not about the bride and groom but all the neighbours, relatives and such, why not flip the script and involve them all in a good cause?
So, weddings are actually the perfect opportunity to spread a good message, and Abdul Hakeem’s is a special one indeed.
Author: Stuti Bhattacharya