Saturday, 21 June 2008

Sikh models

A reader suggested we feature nice guys from India. And who in India could be more Chirayliq than the Sikhs?

Sikhs can be easily recognised by the five articles of faith that all baptized Sikh men and women (Khalsa) wear at all times, "for identification and representation of the ideals of Sikhism, such as honesty, equality, fidelity, meditating on God, and never bowing to tyranny": a strapped sword or knife (kirpan), a wooden comb, a steel bracelet, specially designed underwear, and uncut hair.

As Wikipedia tells us, "the concept of saint-soldier is a unique feature of Sikhism. Every Sikh is required to aspire to sainthood by his devotion to God and service to mankind, but also, according to the situation, to adopt the role of the soldier. A Sikh is also commanded, if necessary and circumstances allow, to lay his or her life down to protect the poor and weak, regardless of race, religion, sex or creed."

I still remember clearly reading this BBC news article about the first ever agency with Sikh models finally being launched in Delhi back in 2003 by Gurmeet Singh (in the photo to the left), breaking the tradition of sleek-faced, boyish Indian models and actors. The article quotes one of the models, Jaskirat Singh Rekhi, 19:

"Sikh models are very macho, very masculine and very passionate. They are not like those hanky-panky guys, you know those girl-like guys," he says.

Here is another article about the agency.

What has happened in the Sikh fashion world since then? Well, for certain, Sikh models continue to conquer the world.

(c) Andrew Kelly

For example, in 2007, Australian photographer Andrew Kelly did a fashion shoot with Sikh models, and socially aware fashion line Kenneth Cole had an ad campaign in early 2008 with the concept "We All Walk In Different Shoes", with the quite stunning Sonny Caberwal, aka Sandeep Singh. (The latter is discussed at SikhNet and SikhChic.)


ainur said...

Inspired by your effort, I started reading some basic things about Sikhism. Maybe this is just a superficial impression, but - wow. Finally a religion where the principles are noble and positive, not based on shame and fear.

Of course, there are many religions that can be interpreted in positive ways, in spite of containing negative principles. But Sikhism seems very inspiring, even at the very first glance.

mehnaz said...

To me Sikhism is synonymous wtih Sufism!
The language spoken by Sikhs-Punjabi is also very sweet and is the base of most sufi poetry-which tends to be based on the metaphor that our love for God and our seeking contact with him is like seeking a departed lover!