The turban and the hat are head gears, the former Indian and the latter English. The turban is a symbol of Indian nationality and the hat that of a western nationality. The hat came into vogue with the advent of the Europeans but the turban perhaps came in the wake of the Muslim invaders. Both have their uses and abuses. We cannot praise the one and condemn the other.
In India, the Sikhs have no other option but to put on a turban. The turban is a piece of muslin cloth. It is about five or seven yards in length and about two-thirds, of a metre in width. Tying a turban is in itself an art.
The turban if well tied, gives the wearer a dignified and graceful look. It certainly gives one a look of respectability. How grand, imposing and majestic did Swami Daya Nand, Viveka Nand, Guru Nanak and other great men like Guru Gobind Singh, look with turbans on their heads. It saves one from a lathi blow on the head. Even a bullet may be lost in the folds of a turban.
A man is drawing in a tank or canal. Throw your turban towards the drowning man, holding the other end in your own hand. Turbans serve as excellent first aid during times of emergency.
With a turban on your head, you can carry a load more easily than with a bare head. You can use it as a pillow in case of need. With the help of your turban, you can climb down a burning house.
The Hindus and the Muslims used to wear turbans and without a head-dress, one could not stand before one’s elders. To remain bareheaded was taken to be a mark of disrespect. It has, however, now become a fashion with the young men of today to remain bare-headed. The Indian women wear only a small piece of cloth called Dopatta or Chuni on their heads, or on their shoulders or round their necks. The turban is a scientific head-wear.
It keeps off cold in winter and guards a man against sun stroke in summer. The folds of a turban keep the head air conditioned. We get a turban dyed according to our choice. In spring, we get our turbans dyed yellow in order to be one with Nature. The turban in fact is a part of our national dress.
The Indians who have taken to English dress put on hats. The hat is lighter in weight and provides shade to the eyes and to the neck. The straw in the hat serves like folds of the turban and keeps off undue warmth and chill from the head.
A hat is very handy. It is much easier to wear than a turban. It is cheap too. It has not to be washed every third day like the turban. It needs a wash or a cleaning after several months. It is thus more economical to wear a hat than a turban.