When faced with an ethical dilemma, it’s often difficult to decide the right course of action. When noticing that onlookers were letting a dog drown before their eyes, one man had no hesitation in deciding what to do.
Sarwan Singh used his unwrapped turban to lift a helpless dog out of a canal in India’s Punjab region this week, The Independent reports. He noticed a crowd gathering around the irrigation area and investigated.
“I was shocked to see that there was a dog drowning but no one was actually helping,” Singh told the news outlet.
He took a bold step and unwrapped his turban, the holy garment of the Sikh. Also known as a dastaar, it is meant to signify love and obedience to the founders of their faith. The Sikh Coalition describes the dastaar as having “an immense spiritual as well as temporal significance,” according to The Independent.
This caused consternation among onlookers. Singh, however, didn’t let it deter him.
“The moment I started taking off my turban, people watching around were shocked,” he told The Independent. “They thought I was disrespecting my faith but what was important at that point was to save the animal’s life.”
A video posted online shows the rescue. As Singh describes the events:
“The dog wasn’t comfortable. He was not coming to me at all. We had to follow him for around 200 metres before I was able to wrap my turban around his neck and pull him to safety.”
When his story became more widely spread, the reaction of the general public was less shocked than grateful. Singh acted quickly and saved a life, without succumbing to pressure to do otherwise.