The Sikh woman who won’t remove her facial hair for religious reasons
- Dignified student says: ‘My face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are’
- Aspiring neurosurgeon says as part of her religion, she cannot cut her hair
Cheap dig: The man took a photo of Balpreet Kaur without her consent, then uploaded it to Reddit in the funny category
A Sikh woman has defied an internet troll to eloquently explain why her religion means she will not remove her facial hair.
Balpreet Kaur, an aspiring neurosurgeon, said that she does not bend to society’s whims about beauty – and has no regrets about how she looks.
She explained that as part of the Five Ks that Sikhs follow, one of the tenets is Kesh, which asks that she allows her hair to grow naturally and does not cut it.
Ms Kaur, a student at Ohio State University Student, explained her beliefs on the website Reddit after a user posted a picture of her in a queue at the airport.
The man, who taken the image without her consent, placed it in the ‘funny’ category with the tagline ‘im (sic) not sure what to conclude from this’.
Ms Kaur became aware of the picture and pointed out that she is perfectly happy with her appearance as character is more important than looks.
Ms Kaur said: ‘I’m not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it’s who I am.
‘Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women.
‘However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will.’
The student, who is president of the Sikh Student Association, refused to attack the person who had posted the photo, which many viewers accused of being mean and deliberately trying to draw laughs at Ms Kaur’s expense.
Instead she took to Reddit to say that she was trying to ignore society’s view of beauty, and hoped she could concentrate on more important things.
She said she was more focused on her actions, rather than her image: ‘My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it?
People came out in their droves to support her and congratulate Ms Kaur on her confidence
Reddit users praised her for her dignified approach to the cruel act, which used a photo to poke fun at her
She was called an ‘inspiration’ for her attitude to social beliefs around beauty and her focus on her actions
‘When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away.
‘My impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can.
‘So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are.’
Ms Kaur said to the original poster that if he had wanted a picture he should have just asked and she would have smiled, and invited people to say hello if they saw her on the OSU campus.
Aspiring neurosurgeon Balpreet Kaur handled the situation with dignity
Her eloquent response to the person behind the picture drew her an army of fans, who called her an ‘inspiration’ and ‘awesome’.
Many thanked her for teaching them a little about Sikhism and giving them the confidence to accept their bodies.
Some wrote to her to express their concern that her body hair might be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome, which can prompt excessive body hair in the patient.
But, again, the student replied to their responses, assuring them her doctor had said it was just her hormones.
‘I’ve been to the doctor regarding this and its just a side effect of my hormone levels during my teenage years.
‘The hormones have returned to normal but the hair is still there. That’s fine 🙂 I don’t regret anything nor do i view it as an unfortunate thing.’
The Reddit user who posted the picture was branded ‘shallow’ and ‘rude’ for posting her picture.
He then responded apologising for his behaviour: ‘It was a fairly a******-ish thing to post this.
‘After apologizing and talking with Balpreet I’ve seen how stupid this post was in the first place isn’t funny at all.
‘Yeah it’s not something you see everyday but that doesn’t make it funny.
‘Hopefully you guys won’t remember me as “that d*****bag that posted the picture of the Sikh girl!”‘
The five Ks are physical symbols worn by Sikhs are Kesh, Kara, which is a steel bracelet, Kanga which is a wooden comb, Kaccha which is cotton underwear, and a Kirpan which is a steel sword.
She responded to people asking her why she sported a turban, saying that her faith encouraged equality.
She said: ‘Wearing turbans for women is a sign of inner strength and empowerment because we too are equal to Sikh men.
‘Sikhism advocates total equality for both genders [the only difference between them are the last names] and therefore, it is okay, however rare the occurrence, for a woman to adorn herself with the turban just like her male counterparts.
‘I encourage everyone to go and google and expand their knowledge of the sheer diversity in this nation – as will I; and gain a better understanding of each other.’