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Sikh abandons religious rule, removes turban to save boy’s life

A photo posted to social media, showing the moment Harman Singh, 22, cradled the little boy’s head with his turban, has gone viral online.

Singh did something Sikh tradition ordinarily forbids — he removed his turban in public and exposed his head because he wanted to use the turban to help support the bleeding head of a five-year-old boy who was hit by a car while walking to school with his older sister in Takanini, Auckland.

Singh’s abandonment of religious rule in favor of humanity has left a positive impression on thousands worldwide and he is being hailed by people from all over the world as a hero.

His Facebook page has received a flood of messages from people around the world commending him for his action.

A Facebook user wrote, “Good on you, Harman!! You are a credit to your religion and just a damn fine human being! Thank you from Canada.”

Another exclaimed, “Just wish there were more people in the world like you.”

“I am so glad you were driven by your humanity first… Love and respect,” wrote a third user.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Singh heard a noise outside his home on Manuroa Road at about 9 a.m. on Friday and went out to see what caused the noise.

Residents said they heard a skidding noise and a loud bang.

An eyewitness said the boy was “thrown like a rag doll” by the impact of the collision.

Singh told the NZ Herald, “I saw a child down on the ground and a lady was holding him. His head was bleeding, so I unveiled my turban and put it under his head.”

“I wasn’t thinking about the turban. 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.”

The boy’s mother arrived soon after emergency services came to the scene.

“The little boy, he was talking to us before his mum came. He wasn’t crying. But when his mum arrived – when he saw her – he started to cry, because she was crying,” Singh said.

According to New Zealand’s, the boy was feared to have suffered life-threatening injuries but doctors said on Friday afternoon that he was in a stable condition.

A resident at Manuroa Road, Charmaine Tuhaka, also heard the noise of the accident but thought at first that a car had hit another. When she went out and saw what had happened, she offered assistance.

She said she and others held the boy to prevent him from moving and hurting himself while Singh placed his turban under the boy’s head.

“He was conscious. His eyes were open, he wasn’t moving – he wasn’t even groaning in pain. His sister was there … She was crying. Then her mum came. She didn’t say a word. She just ran to her son. She was freaking out,” Tuhaka said.

Another Sikh who came to the scene, Gagan Dhillon, said he was going to work when he saw Singh and some other people trying to help an injured child lying on the road.

Dhillon, who also stopped to help, said, “There was enough help as there was, but being a Sikh myself, I know what type of respect the turban has. People just don’t take it off – people die over it. [But] I saw him [Singh] with no head covering… I saw one hand was underneath the boy’s head supporting it and his [turban] was stopping the bleeding… he didn’t care that his head was uncovered in public. He just wanted to help this little boy.” reports that it was Dhillon who posted the photo of the scene of the accident to Facebook with a caption, “So proud of this young Sikh man who helped at a crash this morning where a child was hit by a car.”

The photo went viral immediately.

Harman Singh removes turban to save boy s life

Harman Singh removes turban to save boy’s life
Twitter/Gagan Dhillon

The Sikh religion requires adherents to wear a turban and never expose their hair and head in public as a sign of respect for the individual’s Dasam Duwar, the “divine” or “higher” self, believed to reside in the head.

Sikhs remove their turban only in privacy, such as when they are about to wash their hair. A Sikh who knowingly removes his turban in public is considered to have committed a serious breach of religious protocol.

The Daily Mail reports that a few years ago, an employment tribunal in the U.K. awarded a Sikh £12,600 in compensation after he complained of suffering “panic attacks” and high blood pressure because his Greater Manchester Police superiors and colleagues demanded that he remove his turban during training sessions.

Singh has responded to messages of praise from around the world saying that he only “did his job” and that the rules of his religion does not prevent him from helping someone in an emergency situation.

“Thousands of people have said ‘well done.’ I was only doing what I had to and trying to be a decent member of the community. Thanks to all the worldwide Facebook members who messaged me. I think I just did my job nothing else.”

Sikhism is a monotheistic faith that emerged in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan in South Asia in the 16th century. A Sikh, according to the official Sikh code of conduct, is “any human being who faithfully believes in One Immortal Being; ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak (founder of the religion) to Guru Gobind… teachings of the ten Gurus and the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru.”

However, the term “Sikh” is often used in some Western countries as an ethnic identity rather than only a religious faith.

The global population of Sikhs is estimated at about 21 million, with more than 19 million in India alone, about 400,000 in the U.K. and 250,000 in the U.S.

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