The recruiters come knocking at the door with promises of signing bonuses and advocating, "Join the Army see the World," and receive a GI loan for college and buying a home. Hopes on both sides turn to disappointment for all US armed forces reject the Sikh identity of uncut hair and beard.
Sikhs have a long military history. Many Sikhs from the Punjab have blood lines tracing back to the warriors who resisted Alexander the Great ultimately putting an end to his conquest. Guru Hargobind, the 6th spiritual master of Sikhism mustered the first Sikh army after his father Guru Arjan Dev became the first Sikh martyr. In April of 1699 (Nankshahi Calendar), known in present times as Vaisakhi Day, Guru Gobind Singh formalized the Sikh religion and established the order of Khalsa, creating the concept of the Sant- Sipahi, meaning saint- soldier, putting into action a spiritual warrior who physically defends the oppressed while practicing self mastery. Sikhs have maintained their spiritual identity of uncut hair through the centuries, fearlessly serving in the military units of many armed forces around the world.
In 1948, on July 26th, Harry Truman, the US President, promised equality of opportunity for everyone serving in the US armed forces when he signed Executive Order 9981, stating,
"It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin."
The promise has not been kept in the past several decades. The Sikh Coalition is taking up the cause and launching a campaign on Vaisakhi Day, April 14th, 2009, to end the ban on Sikhs joining the US military.
Please show your support for equal opportunity in US Armed Forces and sign a petition on behalf of two US Army recruits, Captain Kamaljit Singh Kalsi and Second Lieutenant Tejdeep Singh Rattan, who are being forced to choose between their religious identity and service to their country. Both have maintained their Sikh identity while enrolled in an Army program which exchanges medical scholarships for military service and are discovering, only after four years, that they have been given unreliable information. Assurances made by recruiters that keeping their hair intact would be no problem are turning out to be false.