Bana & Saroop

To the Woman Who Asked

by Jasmin Kaur

To the woman who asked me why I tie a turban:

Every morning, I wrap a lineage

of revolution around my head

of women with fists like iron

of humans that laughed in the face

of fear.

Every turn of cloth

sounds like revolt

every fold a vow to rebel.

Once upon a time

kings tied turbans

and if you couldn’t claim

royal heritage a crown upon

your head would mean death

but I come from a lineage of



where there was once fear

arose a sea of rebels that held

a rebellious notion

that human life meant freedom,

that equality was a birthright and

not an earned privilege

and when the Sixth Sikh Guru

told his comrades

to tie crowns

of cloth they angered a system of


shattered political

privilege in Punjab and rose before

a state that wished only to sedate

putting their lives on the line


seven meters of cotton

desiring death before oppression.

I tie a revolution around my

flowing hair every morning

I awake with the notion that your

life means just as much as mine

that all human life deserves respect.

Every morning,

I crown myself with

a vow to speak for the voiceless

every morning, I

honour a thousand rebellions

against injustice

every morning

I rise up for freedom

every morning

I decide that I am free.

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