Lined up for Nagar Kirtan

Lined up for Nagar Kirtan

I hoped to get a lot of photos, but didn’t get much. A positive event turned sour for me, when a parade volunteer approached me on the public sidewalk, and informed that that I was *required* to wear a head covering, had absolutely no choice, and it was a religious obligation that all must adhere to. I informed her that I would not. I feel strongly that my right to not wear a religious symbol is equal to someone else’s right to wear such a symbol. For example, I think a Sikh man has every right to wear a turban anywhere in public, and nobody can ask them to remove it, even if it violates somebody else religion or culture.

A number of others tried to get me to cover up, but only the first actually tried ordering. Oddly enough, before the parade I had gone the Damesh grounds briefly and wasn’t even offered a covering (when passing security at entrance). Now, I actually would have accepted the right of the Damesh centre to set a condition of entering private property. But, once on public property, I’m free to dress as I please, and exercise my freedom of expression. The only way to keep total control of an event like this is to stay in private space.

This is one of the pictures I took of the annual Nagar Kirtan parade on Saturday, May 12, 2012 in Calgary. This is a religious event of the Sikh community. It started and ended at the Dashmesh Culture Centre.

Photographer: Robert Thivierge

Date Taken2012-05-12 10:11:08
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