Who is Darshan Shah, fought to wear Tilak on Army Uniform in US?

Ground Report | New Delhi: Darshan Shah Tilak; A man of Indian origin, a member of the US Air Force, was authorized to wear a Tilak while on duty. A US Air Force airman stationed at FE Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, Darshan Shah, was allowed to wear a Tilak Chandlo while on duty as part of a religious waiver.

Darshan joined the service two years ago as an aerospace medical technician and was assigned to the 90th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, had applied for a waiver early in his service. Darshan, an aerospace medical technician assigned to the 90th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, had been seeking a waiver since he joined the Army two years ago.

“We live in a country where we’re allowed to practice and have faith in what we want. That’s what makes this a great country. We’re not persecuted for what we follow or believe in. If it wasn’t for the first amendment, I couldn’t do This at all. I couldn’t be who I am as long as I’m a member of the military or even a citizen,” Shah said in official communication from the 90th Missile Wing Chaplain Corps.

Shah grew up in Eden Prairie, Minnesota in a Gujarati household who are followers of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottan Swaminarayan Sanstha or BAPS. The religious symbol of this sect is a red dot or Chandlo surrounded by an orange U-shaped tilak.

In order to strengthen his case, Shah hadair force news gathered support from around the world as news of his request for a religious exemption spread through online group chats. He said his friends from Texas, California, New Jersey and New York are sending messages to him and his parents saying they are so happy something like this has happened in the Air Force.

“For some airmen, displaying aspects of their religious faith is a matter of sincere personal responsibility, even if it can sometimes conflict with the Uniform Rules and Regulations. For a Mighty Ninety Airman, this means requesting a religious exemption to wear a tilak chandlo on the uniform,” reads the statement issued by the 90th Missile Wing Chaplain Corps.

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