Yasvender Singh Rehill, a Sikh police officer from Bradford, received the British Empire Medal by Sirdar Ranbir Singh Rai, President of the Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara, on Sunday. The Royal presentation will take place at Buckingham Palace in 2015.
Writer Dave Dufton said “Yasvender-ji is a devout Sikh” and whilst in conversation with him he learned about the struggles of trying to adhere to ones faith whilst still continuing to do well at your job.
He states that he asked Yasvender-ji about the conflict between the customs Sikhs follow, such as the appearance of an adult male – a full beard and long, uncut hair covered by a dastar, as Yasvender-ji has close-cropped hair and is clean-shaven. He then explained to Dave that “To maintain the long hair and beard of his faith would increase his chances of injury should his duty as a police officer require him to be in a violent situation.”
Dave also acknowledged another issue which needs to be looked at in the health and safety factor within policing is that “No ‘riot gear’ has been made which may be worn over a dastar; therefore, Yasvender-ji would not be able to support his colleagues in crowd control duties.”
Yasvender-ji made the decision to change his appearance in order for the safety of carrying out his job and “Out came scissors and razor and the physical appearance became the man we know today” Says Dave.
Dave believes that “With all faiths how one conducts oneself, both at worship and towards
humanity in general, is much more important than outward appearances.
Changes in physical appearance do not change one’s beliefs, or relations with other people, or how one worships the supreme, unimaginable being, that we, each in our own mother tongue, call God.”