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Two Sikh doctor brothers in Canada went against their religious practice to shave their beards in order to safely treat those affected by COVID-19.
Physician Sanjeet Singh-Saluja, 44, and neurosurgeon Rajeet, of McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, were having difficulties wearing the standard N95 mask because of their beards.
That led the brothers to ultimately remove them despite it being against one of the pillars of their religious practice, Upworthy noted.
“We could choose not to work, but in a time when healthcare workers are falling sick, we would be adding stress to an already taxed system,” Singh-Saluja, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at the hospital, said. “We could decide to simply refuse to see COVID-19 patients until viable protection is available to us, but that goes against our oath as physicians and against the principles of sewa.”
Facing a choice between their duty as doctors in the time of the #coronavirus pandemic and a visible symbol of their faith, a pair of Sikh physician brothers in #Canada have chosen to shave off their beardshttps://t.co/vkWInunZj4#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/sNCk6mSNRm
— IndSamachar News (@Indsamachar) May 6, 2020
The brothers were members of the Sikh religion where one of the pillars of their belief system, called sewa or “selfless service,” teaches them to help others without expecting any reward or personal gain.
The other pillar is called kesh where practitioners allow their “hair to grow naturally out of respect for the perfection of God’s creation.”
Sanjeet and his brother were put in a position to choose between the two pillars of their religion. But they ultimately decided their commitment to saving others was more important.
“It’s a decision that has left me with much sadness,” Singh-Saluja told Montreal Gazette. “This was something that had been so much part of my identity. I look at myself in the mirror very differently now. Every morning when I see myself, it’s a bit of a shock.”
“Originally when my brother and I did this, my brother wanted to keep it very quiet and didn’t want any publicity,” he added. “We still have a really hard time with it. But when I saw what the Impact had done with everyone having shaved, I wanted to get across a team message, so I read my explanation for the video.”
Feature Image Screenshot via Montreal Gazette