Sikh Doctor in Canada Shaves off Beard to Serve COVID Patients

For Dr Sanjeev, duty comes above everything else.

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Dr Sanjeev Singh-Saluja went out of his way to shave off his beard so he could treat patients

Doctors across the world are going out of their way to step up during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent example being a Canada-based Sikh man, Dr Sanjeev Singh-Saluja who went out of his way to shave off his beard so he could treat patients who have contracted COVID-19. Sanjeev is a physician at the McGill University Health Centre’s (MUHC) Montreal General.

According to media reports, Sanjeev was unable to wear protective gear due to his beard and this meant that he could not work closely with patients of coronavirus. However, he decided to choose his duty over his religion for the greater good of society.

“We never shave, my brother and I. It’s a part of our religion. We’ve always kept a beard. Before this happened, we spoke with people in our religion and our family, our friends. We discussed it. It was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made.”
Dr Sanjeev Singh-Saluja

He further added that he made this decision after consultation with his religious leaders who supported him.

He said, “One of the big arms is ‘seva’ which is the service to humankind and the ‘kesh’ which is the keeping of the hair. In this case the seva, the service outweighed the identity. Many people disagree but that’s how I interpreted it and that’s how my religious leaders interpreted it.”

Sanjeev’s brother has also shaved off his beard for the same purpose. His brother Rajeet is a neurosurgeon who was unable to operate on patients due to the same reason. He too shaved off his beard so he could contribute efficiently.

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