The Punjabi Pagg and the Evolution of the Patiala Shahi Pagg
The association of Pagg (Turban) and Sikhism go back as far as 1469 but it was Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who swore his beloved Khalsa to keep unshorn hair. Sikh men are the only ones in the world who adorn a Pagg.
The turban is seen as a symbol of faith, honor, self-respect, courage, spirituality and piety in Sikh culture. Even the Guru Granth Sahib Ji has outlined the importance of the turban in Sikh life: “Let living in his presence with mind rid if impurities, by your discipline. Keep the God given form intact with a turban donned in your head”, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, P-1084, line-22.
Once you wear a Pagg, it becomes part of you and is no longer a piece of cloth. If you remove someone’s Pagg off his head, it is considered as equal as to taking his pride and respect away from him. The dignity of the Pagg for the Sikh soldiers was so much that they fought the World War I and World War II with their Paggs on because they refused to wear helmets. The Pagg is so dear to the Sikh that if two friends swap their Pagg, they are said to be friends for life.
Though there are many famous and distinctive types of Pagg. One of them is the Patiala Shahi Pagg. Over time with cross migration of Sikh from Punjab, and abroad the Patiala, Pagg has evolved. The style has been affected, but, the Patiala Shahi Pagg is still considered as an art form. The Patiala Paag is known to be capturing the care-free spirit as the larhs (layers), on both sides do not require to be worn neatly or in a distinguished manner. The Patiala Pagg suits better on broad faces and sharp features with ethnic characteristics.
It was during the Reign of Maharaja Rajinder Singh that the Patiala Shahi Pagg took its final shape and light color selection. The state colors of the Patiala Pagg are light Pink and lemon. In fact, at times the color of the Pagg use to let you know which festival is going on. During Dusehra, the tarbuzi (watermelon) color was worn and the dhani (dark green) to mark the muslim mourning at Moharram,. Though the art of how to get the right colors of the Patiala Pagg is fading as very few traditional artists ply the trade now in the region, still there are few neelgars (dyers), who truly know how to get the colors right.
The Pagg has a round look with its rear being flat. The perfect triangular effect with the fifty (a band of cloth worn under the turban, the color usually matches) is given by depressing the cloth by the thumb on the forehead. Other requisites of the turban is a seven-and-a-half meter cloth, usually finlays ‘F-74 mal-mal fabric, which is cut in half and sewn together to get double the width. Little starch and a twist in the last lardh (layer).
That is why the Sikh men proudly say “Pagg nal uchi sadi shaan jag te. Kita Pagg ne hi ucha sada maan jag te” (Pagg has made our pride high in the world. Pagg has given us high respect in the world.