By Promod Puri
The man is more than his round turban and drawn beard. He is also the most well-dressed politician among his peers in the Canadian parliament.
Federal New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh is an identity reflecting the spirit and reality of the contemporary Canadian society. In the multi-religious, multi-language, and multi-cultural environment of the nation, he stands out in his physical appearance with conviction.
The dynamics of his visible presentation is not only to represent himself with his Sikh heritage. But he wants to see the same pride among the peoples of Canada in their own cultural medley.
“I’m not like the others,” he tells Quebecers during his recent trip to the province. “Like you, I’m proud of my identity.”
The statement, “like you…”, while recognizing the French-Canadian linguistic and cultural identity, seeks the same importance for the rest of the Canadian identities. His words are portrayed in his being the way he grooms himself with his colorful turban and a long beard.
In his three-piece suit and matching tie, Jagmeet Singh does not look like a politician of the Left or socialist mold. In that dressed up outlook, he is a typical Canadian out to do his political business.
Jagmeet Singh is indeed a man with guts. His appearance and dressing are guided by his self-confidence. He does not want to efface his faith-based symbolism for easy acceptance and political gains.
He entered the federal political arena to lead the socialist agenda of the NDP. Besides that, Jagmeet Singh has an added message, symbolized by his turban, that Canada is a land of multiple identities. And each of these identities seeks acceptance and space in its multicultural landscape.