When Mubarak Singh of Munster turned 18, he was in a dilemma.
Should he clip his cascading black hair, flowing down below his waist, or keep it tightly wrapped in his turban? He also had to decide if he would cut his beard.
Singh is a Sikh, and his family comes from India.
"My religion says that God made us perfect and this is why we should keep ourselves the way we are," Singh explains.
Singh's father told him that at 18, certain religious practices are his own choice. When the day finally arrived, a decision Singh thought would be easy -- cutting his hair -- turned out not to be so.
A Purdue student, he continues to be seen throughout campus wearing his turban and facial hair proudly.
"I thought about it, but could not do it," Singh says. "I had it my whole life and it would be weird not to have it. It says in our teachings to 'keep yourself the way you are' and to love and respect yourself and others."
Singh's parents, who are both named Jasbir, are very proud of their son's decision that he was true to the values of his religion.
By Sikh custom, followers are not allowed to eat meat. They speak Punjabi and pray to one God, Waheguru, which translates as "Wonderful Lord."
Contact Idelle Rosenbloom Kerzner at [email protected]