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Q: Why Sikhs do not cut their hair but they cut their nails?

A: It is often argued that Sikhs do not cut their hair so why do they cut their nails. For Sikhs, hair is a part of their lifestyle, nails are not.

Hair has a follicle and root, and grows to a certain length, falls out, has a resting period, and then a new hair grows. Every person has a specific hair length according to their body. Hair will not grow beyond that length. For some people hair on their head can grow upto 12 inches while for others it maybe 24 inches or 30 inches. If a person's hair only grows to be 24 inches long and the hair is cut while it is 10 inches, the hair will continue to grow upto 14 more inches and will then fall off, it will not reach 24 inches as the previous 10 inches have been cut. This way hair only grow to a certain length while nails will continue to grow no matter what and to no matter what length if not cut.

Hair is not a hindrance to anyone because hair can be placed in a bun and kept clean and does perform a number of functions, it is only practical to realize that keeping hair is not hard. On the other hand, having long nails is a hindrance to the body. An individual with long nails cannot function and do everyday chores comfortably. In order to ensure that one can perform the tasks of everyday life, only the dead part of nails is trimmed.

Structurally, hair is extremely strong, and resists breaking due to its elasticity and flexibility. Strength of hair can be estimated from the following facts, a human hair laid on a bar of steel and then passed through a cold rolling mill would leave an imprint on the face of the steel. A hair of a man’s beard is about as strong as a copper wire of the same dimensions. If a rope were made out of strands of long hair, it would be strong enough to lift an automobile. Dead part of nails, on the other hand, are very brittle and rigid, breaking off easily. Hair are countless (upto 125,000 on head region alone), thereby increasing the surface area. Hair protects us against the harmful Ultra Violet radiations and skin cancer while nails do not seem to provide a similar functionality.

The body’s response towards the two is totally different. Our body, throughout life, tries to maintain a particular length of hair. Every individual has a specific length for hair. Once the hair reaches its specific length, it stops growing. It clearly indicates the link of the body with the hair all along its length. The body shows no such response to the nails, which grow from birth to death at the same rate, irrespective of whether cut or not.

Sikhs that follow Sikhism gladly keep and love their hair. Hair are a part of Sikh identity which keeps a Sikh focused on his or her objective to be One with God. When a Sikh looks at his unshorn hair he/she is constantly reminded of their beliefs and the desire to be One with God. Hair is a part of Sikh lifestyle which helps Sikhs to be focused and grow in spirituality.



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