Young Sikhs Head for Military Training

Manav Singh Sodhi, on right, with Lt. Col. Kamal Kalsi. (Photo courtesy Lt. Col. Kamal Kalsi via News India Times)

Manav Singh Sodhi, 17, of Long Island, is headed to bootcamp where he will be able to keep his turban and his beard thanks to the efforts of the first Sikh American in a generation to be granted the religious accommodation.

Ela Dutt writes for News India Times:

Sodhi is one of at least 14 Sikhs granted this waiver since it came into being in the last days of the Obama administration, and he represents a “new wave” of young Indian-Americans belonging to various faiths, and other minorities wanting to join the military, Lt. Col. Kamal Kalsi, the first to be granted such a religious waiver in 2010, indicated to News India Times, adding that it was a big change that has taken place over the last ten years.

The other 13 Sikh recruits are from all around the country, Kalsi said.

“It took me a year and a half and a lot of trouble — organizing, getting 50 Congressional signatures, etc. just to get me and Capt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan, the waiver,” Kalsi said about his experience.

Kalsi, a New Jersey resident, has campaign for granting religious waivers in the military to people of all faiths.

How many Sikh men currently serve with turbans and beards? What was a “life-changing moment” for Sodhi? Find out at News India Times.

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