"Faked Attack that Exposes an Uncomfortable Truth," a Commentary by Hardeep Singh Kohli

January 4, 2007

Source: Times Online


It’s not easy being Sikh, says Hardeep Kohli, which is why he understands the motives of the boy who falsely claimed white yobs hacked off his hair.

It was 1983. Bucks Fizz were enjoying pop success, Aberdeen won the Cup Winners’ Cup and a slightly overweight 14-year-old Sikh boy contemplates something dreadful.

Alone at home, he turns on the hob of the gas cooker and starts to unwind his long, glossy hair. Transfixed by the dancing flames he realises he has had enough of the abuse, the taunts, the derision — in a few moments the hair will be burned away and with it memories of humiliation .

That was me, contemplating something dreadful. (What gave it away? The slightly overweight bit?) I didn’t burn my hair off in the end. I saw sense. The hob was turned off, my hair rewound and normal transmission resumed. Twenty three years later I couldn’t be more relieved by my fortitude in resisting that easy way out. I wear my turban with pride.

Why am I telling you all this? Because a 15-year-old boy in Edinburgh had the same thought. He too got fed up with wearing a turban, fed up with the onerous life he led, and chopped off his hair. But instead of a quiet kitchen moment with a gas hob, he chose to invent an imaginary and very public racial attack in an Edinburgh park. He told his parents and the police he was attacked by a gang of sportswear-clad white yobs who beat him, kicked him and punched him in a frenzied assault and then proceeded to cut his hair. And we all believed him.