March 6, 2008
Is that a dagger in your kaccha or are you here to see the Pope?
American Sikh leaders won’t be able to party with the Pope on his U.S. visit next month because their religion requires them to always carry a dagger, or kirpaan (see photo). The Secret Service, responsible for Pope Benedict’s security, is just not comfortable with Sikh the Knife. Sikhism also mandates a comb, a bracelet, and special underwear, called kaccha.
I can’t tell whether the Sikh rule merely requires underwear in a culture that doesn’t otherwise wear skivvies, or these drawstring boxer shorts are the only type allowed. Readers?
Add to these the requirements for burqas, sheitls, special religious hats (or headscarves), and beards (usually not with headscarves), not to mention side-curls and dreadlocks, and it can get quite involved to be a observant servant of God.
It’s a tough job, I guess, but somebody’s got to do it!