Defenders of the Patka (Sikh head covering)


Written by Paul Fumei.  

I was recently pointed to Mother of God School, Ardeer, where Principal Gerard Broadfoot and his Learning and Teaching Leader Michelle Buckley were highlighted in an article in the Times of India newspaper.

Defenders of the Patka_story2A five-year-old Sikh student by the name Mansage had his patka (Sikh head covering) accidentally removed by another student. The incident was brought to the attention of Gerard and Michelle who, in their intentional engagement with their community and in their regard for Mansage and for diversity more specifically, knew immediately how they ought to respond. They searched YouTube and found there instructions on how to retie the patka. They managed a reasonable retying of the patka and contacted Mansage’s father who came up to the school and applied the finishing touches. On a Sunday soon after, the Sikh body Sikhs United awarded Gerard and Michelle the title Defender of the Sikh Dastar.

Defenders of the Patka_story1I gave Gerard a call and spoke to him about this remarkable moment, Gerard’s response was, ‘this is how we do things around here’. Still, it was exceptional, a moment of great significance for Mansage, his family, the Sikh community and no doubt the community of Mother of God School, too.

Our Christian tradition calls us to openness of mind, openness to relationships and difference, openness to encounter and openness to God ever-present in our midst.