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A kanga is a small wooden comb that Sikhs usually use twice a day. It is supposed to be kept with the hair at all times. Combs help to clean and remove tangles from the hair, and are a symbol of cleanliness. Combing their hair reminds Sikhs that their lives should be tidy and organized.
The Sikhs were mandated by Guru Gobind Singh at the Baisakhi Amrit Sanchar in 1699 to wear a small comb called a Kanga at all times. Kanga must be kept by all baptised Sikhs (Khalsa), after a mandatory religious commandment given by Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth Guru of Sikhism) in 1699. This was one of five articles of faith, collectively called Kakars that form the external visible symbols to clearly and outwardly display one's commitment and dedication to the order (Hukam) of the tenth master and become a member of Khalsa. The Khalsa is the "Saint-Soldier" of Guru Gobind Singh who stated:
"He does not recognize anyone else except One Lord, not even the bestowal of charities, performance of merciful acts, austerities and restraint on pilgrim-stations; the perfect light of the Lord illuminates his heart, then consider him as the immaculate Khalsa." (Guru Gobind Singh in the Dasam Granth page 1350)
The Kanga is an article that allows the Sikh to care for his or her unshorn long hair, Kesh. The kanga is usually tucked behind the "Rishi Knot" and tied under the turban. It is to be used twice daily to comb and keep the hair in a disentangled and tidy condition. It represents the importance of discipline and cleanliness to a Sikh way of life and is used to keep the hair healthy, clean, shining and tangle-free. The Kanga is tucked under the rishi knot to keep the rishi knot firm and in place.