Why Is Sporting Beard Not Permitted In The Indian Army?


Just lately, the Army has terminated a soldier on the ground of insisting on growing beard. Sounds strange! But it’s true. A jawan of the Indian Army insisted on growing beard by giving the reason of religious ground has been terminated by the Army. Army termed him ‘an undesirable soldier’.

Indian soldier

The Army terminated the soldier from the service and the case was taken to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rejected the petition of jawan of sporting beard by ruling that except Sikhs, no one is allowed to keep the beard.

However, it can be a strange case for all who don’t know this rule of the Army.

Why is clean shave mandatory in the Army?

The Army doesn’t permit its soldiers to grow beards and have longer hairs(longer than normal length) which cover the ears due to maintaining discipline and uniformity. On the other hand, it can be seen that the Dogra regiment compels its soldiers to grow moustache which covers their cheeks and this is because the military has common, prohibited, an integral part of the uniform system even all at the same time.

Why there is an exception for Sikh?

Only Sikhs are allowed to sport a well-maintained beard and untrimmed hair across their service period. As Sikhs imply the basis of their religions with the 5Ks which are Kesh, Kangha, Kara, Kachcha, and Kirpan and among these 5Ks Kesh i.e., uncut hair falls. So they are permitted to keep the hair. This simply means that Sikhs have to keep the hair and beard as long as they are in the service period. No matter they want to have long hair or not, they have to keep it. Also, the Air Force rule states that:

The question is- Why is it not for Muslims?

In Islam, sporting the beard is Sunnah which is at the discretion of men to keep or not. It is not compulsory to anyone. The religion doesn’t forbid shaving off the face of men. Also, the non-Sikh men are permitted to keep moustaches but it should be of a moderate length.

Exception for others-

There is no exception for others unless they belong to a Sikh religion or are in Para SF, Marcos, to have the permission of the respective commanding officer. However, sometimes during the tour, the soldiers are exempt from the regulations of facial hair.

Can the case have the basis?-

In Indian Army, keeping the beard isn’t permitted. However, there are many armies in the world which permit their Jawans to grow beards. In the Middle East, there is a separate regiment for those who want to grow the beard. So, can such type of regiment be in the Indian Army?