A New Zealand Indian Sikh man broke his faith’s strict custom of wearing a turban at all times to help an injured boy.
Harman Singh, 22, was in his home when he heard the screeching of car wheels outside, followed by a disturbance. He left his residence to see what was happening and found an injured boy.
"I saw a child down on the ground and a lady was holding him," Singh told The New Zealand Herald. "His head was bleeding, so I unveiled my turban and put it under his head."
Singh said he did not think about his faith's strict rules when he removed his turban to help the boy.
"I wasn't thinking about the turban," Singh said. "I was thinking about the accident and I just thought, 'He needs something on his head because he's bleeding.' That's my job — to help … And I think anyone else would have done the same as me."
For members of the Sikhism religion, wearing a turban is mandatory for all adult males and is not to be removed in public, according to the Sikhi Wiki. The turban represents respectability and has a lot of symbolism attached to it, including sovereignty, dedication, self-respect, courage and piety.
Members of the Indian community praised Singh for his actions.
Singh and others stayed with the boy until emergency services arrived. The boy’s mother arrived not long after the accident.
"The little boy, he was talking to us before his mum came," Singh said. "He wasn't crying. But when his mum arrived — when he saw her — he started to cry, because she was crying."
Gagan Dhillon was on his way to work when he saw the accident and stopped to help. The sight of Singh without his turban surprised Dhillon.
"There was enough help as there was, but being a Sikh myself, I know what type of respect the turban has," Dhillon said. "People just don't take it off — people die over it. I saw him [Mr Singh] with no head covering and thought, 'That's strange'. But then I saw one hand was underneath the boy's head supporting it and his siropao [turban] was stopping the bleeding ... He didn't care that his head was uncovered in public. He just wanted to help this little boy."
The boy was walking to school with his sister when he was hit by a car. He reportedly ran through a pedestrian crossing that was no longer manned by school patrol as they had finished for the morning.
It was originally believed that the boy suffered life-threatening injuries, but he is now in stable condition at the hospital.
Photo Credit: The New Zealand Herald