I am an Amritdhari Sikh and wear the five Ks and a turban. I do this because the Guru asked me, and because I believe it is a useful part of my spiritual discipline. My turban and beard make me a recognisable Sikh, but that does not mean that I am a Sikh because I look like one.
I am not a Sikh because I took amrit and I am not a Sikh because my parents were Sikhs (they were not). The definition in the Sikh Rehat Maryada is quite clear : the main element of being a Sikh is following the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib and the example set by the Gurus through their Gursikh way of life.
The SGPC is rarely able to do anything that is in line with Guru’s Teachings. But this time they have been caught by their own foolishness. Under pressure of the Badal Dal the union government issued a notification saying that only those who have uncut/unshaven etc hair can vote in the SGPC elections.
The 2011 SGPC elections were held on that basis, but have since been successfully challenged by another un-Sikh outfit : the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation. I do not think that the Supreme Court has ruled on the merits of being Keshdhari or Sehajdhari, but on the grounds that a law should not be changed by a notification.
The Sikh identity is defined by behaving as the Guru taught us. Live in the world, but do not be ruled by it, see God’s presence in all, be ready to serve all, make an honest living, think about God with all you do, recognise that there are people in all traditions who are true Students of the Teacher of Teachers etc, etc.
I know too many ‘Keshdhari’ Sikhs who practice none of the above and a good few moné who do quite well. It is impossible to make a relevant voters list of ‘Sikhs’ based either on the status of their hair or on who their parents were.
Looking the part without living the part is useless. If you call yourself an athlete but do not train and do not have a disciplined way of life you are living a lie.
The Gursikh that we should all try to be, regardless of being amritdhari, keshdhari or mona, is like a spiritual athlete. Some of us might reach to Olympic level, others play in the local league, but all should try to get nearer to God by following Guru’s teachings. Going by the Guru Granth Sahib (our eternal teacher) this way of life is not defined by the length of your hair, the length of your kachhera or by any other outward sign.
Walk in hukam, walk with God, be her/his humble child; if you do not see God in all you will not see God at all; be different and look different, these are the kind of things a Gursikh should practice.
If you wear all or part of the Sikh uniform but have no Sikh behaviour you are like an empty shell. Sikh or Khalsa behaviour without the uniform does has value. Just like good the Muslims and good Yogis that Guru writes about can attain to God, so can good moné. But being ‘pure from outside and dirty inside’ means that you are a hypocrite, and Guru does not like hypocrites at all !