An Indian-origin member was allowed by the United States Air Force to wear a ’tilak’ on his forehead in the line of duty.
Darshan Shah, an Air Force One of the US Air Force stationed at FE Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, was trying to get religious exemptions from 2020. He began pursuing it when he was assigned to the 90th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron. Darshan is an aerospace medical technician.
However, reaching this point was not easy for him. He got a lot of support from all over the world through online groups and chats. Finally, on February 22, 2022, he was allowed to wear ‘Tilak Chandlo’ in uniform for the first time.
“My friends from Texas, California, New Jersey and New York are messaging me and my parents that they are very happy that something like this happened in the Air Force,” he said.
He continued, “It’s something new. It’s something they’ve never heard of or even thought of before, but it happened.”
Darshan was born into a Gujarati family in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The reason for his persistence in seeking religious exemption was that his family follows the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottana Swaminarayan Sanstha, or BAPS, and his religious symbol is a red dot, or “chandlo”, an orange U-shaped tilak. is surrounded by.
Not only Darshan but various Hindu sages had approached him when he found out what he was trying to do. Even Guruhari Mahant Swami Maharaj, the head of the Darshan sect, spoke to the authorities to discuss the exemption.