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Kit for teaching about the traditional Sikh patka turban

One mother in northern New Jersey is taking measures to make her second-grader’s life simpler as the state’s students prepare to return to the classroom.
Sheena Pasricha, a teacher from Glen Ridge, New Jersey, has bought the first Patka Box in the tri-state area.

Like she did for her elder son Jayraj, Sheena helps her younger son Shaan get ready for school each morning by tying his Patka.

My parents used to tie my shoes for me in the mornings when I was too little to do it on my own. It would come loose, and the professors wouldn’t know how to repair it,” Jayraj explains.

After eight years of wearing a Patka, Jayraj decided he was ready to start wearing a traditional Turban like his father in ninth grade. In his North Jersey school, he was the lone Sikh, yet he still remembers wearing the little square-shaped cloth.

“They’d always be like, ‘What’s on your head?’ Jayraj recalls that people would ask, “Is that a rock on your head?” before he could explain that it was religiously significant.

Uncut hair of a Sikh kid is hidden by the Patka. On top of their head, it is neatly bunched and fastened.

The Patka Box is now available to assist educators learn how to tie the garment and answer any questions their students may have. Rosey Kaur, a teacher, is responsible for making it. After a non-Sikh teacher saw that one of her pupils’ Patkas had come undone at school, he or she went to see her.

“I couldn’t leave that child feeling hopeless or helpless, and that teacher feeling helpless because she didn’t know how to tie the Patka,” Kaur explains.

The instructor had to contact Jayraj’s mom once when his Patka came undone in class.

“She just said, ‘His Patka is pretty loose and I’m not sure what to do with it.’ So I had to provide verbal instructions, such as how to knot it, over the phone. According to Sheena Pasricha, at least his head wasn’t left exposed and she did her best to knot it.

Because tying the religious symbol might be difficult for young children, instructions on how to do so are included in the Patka Box. More than three thousand Patka Boxes have been sent to different educational systems throughout the world. Adoption is a topic of discussion among school administrators in the tri-state area.

News Desk

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