It was an image that inspired humanity around the world: A young Sikh man who broke religious protocol by removing his turban to cradle the bleeding head of a 6-year-old who had been hit by a car.

Takanini boy Daejon Pahia was struck by a car as he crossed the road outside his school in May, near the home of Harman Singh, 22.

Mr Singh found Daejon unconscious and bleeding from the back of his head - and immediately removed his turban to stem the blood.

Passerby and fellow Sikh, Gagan Dhillon, was so moved by seeing Mr Singh's uncovered head and actions - in Sikh culture, a turban must be worn at all times - that he took a photo of the scene.


The photo went viral, with coverage by news media around the world.

Mr Singh has received an award from the New Zealand police, been recognised by his faith and even had his home furnished after TV cameras revealed his sparse flat.

"It changed my whole life," Mr Singh told the Herald. "Now everyone knows me, I have been on TV, every time I go to a place people want to get photos with me, people are sending me messages on Facebook saying what a good thing I did. But I just did what anybody would have done, helping a hurt little boy."

Mr Singh was grieving after his father's death in Punjab a year after he had arrived in New Zealand.

He said helping Daejon had helped him get through that difficult time and he was also happy that he spread awareness about the Sikh culture.

"All the shares on Facebook meant that a lot of people were learning about our religion, people maybe didn't know what wearing a turban meant so there was a lot of positive comments about our religion."

Harman Singh's actions brought wide praise and recognition. Photo / Michael Craig
Harman Singh's actions brought wide praise and recognition. Photo / Michael Craig

The Pahia family have stayed in touch with Mr Singh, inviting him to Daejon's welcome home party, his birthday party and into their home.

Daejon has recovered well after a stay in Starship hospital following surgery for a fractured skull, 12 deep head wounds and a lacerated kidney. His family recently went on a trip to the Gold Coast.


Mr Singh, who has since moved to New Lynn, planned to travel to Cape Reinga with friends for a summer holiday, and hopes to return to India in the New Year to finally see his family.