She also made a painting of him in a turban and he didn't object to it. And he ruled over Asia and the Middle East. And his name is Khan Noonien Singh. So Khan was pretty much from India for all intents and purposes.
As a surname, Khan is not used by Sikhs, but Singh is a very common male surname. Khan would also be a very odd first name for a Sikh because there is no cultural attachment to it. As a title, the origin of Khan is Mongolian, and later it was used in Persia and it's used now among the Pashtuns. It is also a very common non-Sikh surname in Indo-Asia.
Since I can't imagine the writers of "Space Seed" being so deliberately ignorant or lazy of cultural differences in their choice of essentially a mixed name for the character, I think the choice of his name was meant to leave Khan's ethnicity open to question.
King Daniel Into Darkness wrote:
Khan was trying to seduce her, nitpicking her painting probably wouldn't have helped. Plus, that he didn't immediately put on a turban once revived is another big hit against him being Sikh.
He may have been Indian, or engineered in India or perhaps just ruled there, but he still can't be Sikh or recognized as one because he breaks too many fundamental rules. IMO the best way to deal with it is to simply say Marla was he worst historian in the Federation.
Plus, I can't imagine Khan (either version) believing in any higher power above himself.
Agreed on all accounts.