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Mistaken identity – Idiots guide to recognize a Sikh

With so many reports of mistaken identity cases we have put together a few  images to educate anyone that is confused as to who a Sikh is and what they look like.

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”  Malcom X. Its on the this basis that this article is written and in response to many recent cases of mistaken identity.

A Sikh (not to be confused with Islam or Arab)  is a man or woman of the Sikh faith – originally from Punjab in India but now for over 150 years many Sikhs have their roots abroad in many countries such as America , England and really in all the 7 continents of the world.

This article is against any form of anti race or anti faith attacks by anyone or any group of people against others not just Sikhs. Also its been pointed out that recent attacks against Sikhs are NOT mistaken identity but plain simple RACISM.   

A Modern Sikh man is Easily identified as shown in the image below

Waris Ahluwalia is an Indian American designer and actor based in New York City.

Waris Ahluwalia is a Sikh American designer and actor based in New York City.

You will see Sikhs as smart well dressed men wearing turbans of various vibrant colors with many preferring to wear  just a black or white turban. They will have long flowing beards or maybe tied up neatly in a net or some may have their beards trimmed. On their wrist to you will see a steel bracelet known as a “Kara” which is one of the five articles of the Sikh faith

A elderly baptized Sikh man is Easily identified as shown in the image below

Harbhagan Singh - Temple Volunteer image by
Harbhagan Singh – Temple Volunteer image by

The five articles of faith or 5 Ks that all Sikhs will have are;

  1. Kesh: uncut hair – kept covered by the turban
  2. Kangha: a wooden comb – to keep the long hair nice & tidy
  3. Kara: a metal bracelet  – and is a constant reminder to always remember that whatever a person does with their hands has to be in keeping with the advice given by the Guru.
  4. Kachera: a specific style of cotton undergarments and symbolizes self-respect, and always reminds the wearer of mental control over lust, one of the Five Evils in Sikh philosophy.
  5. Kirpan: a strapped curved sword which symbolizes a Sikh’s duty to come to the defense of those in peril.

For a Sikh their turbans represent

  • a figure of majesty
  • a promise of integrity
  • a crown of dignity
  • the force of equality,
  • a way to stand out,
  • a symbol of  their faith

Sikhs are also not supposed to smoke, take drugs or drink alcohol. Although over the recent years there has been a huge increase of Sikhs drinking heavily especially at weddings.

The Panj Pyare  at The Houses of Parliament, London

A Modern Sikh woman is Easily identified as shown in the image below

Sikh Women

Sikh Women

Sikh women will typically wear a colorful Punjabi suit with scarf on their heads and you will clearly see their faces . On their wrists they will have the steel bracelet known as a “Kara” which is one of the five articles of the Sikh faith.

Baptized Sikh women  are also easily identified as shown in the image below


So next time when you see a foreign looking person dressed as above recognize them as Sikhs and remember they have will have every right to be there just as you do.

Looking back one could say that Sikhism came about as a reaction to the horrible persecution of non-muslims by the Muslim rulers of medieval India.