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DualityOptics.com

Each of these women is a Kaur, i.e., a Sikh woman.
Question: Which of them can you identify as a Sikh who
follows Guru Gobind Singh's directive to wear a turban?

What Is Duality Optics?

DUALITY: An instance of contrast or opposition between
two concepts or two aspects of something; a dualism.
           OPTICS:
Aspects of an action, that relate to public perceptions.

"Given the very positive and growing public awareness of Sikhs,
Sikh women manifestly express their parity with Sikh men when
they wear turban, thereby advocating gender equality. Without
the turban the perception persists that Kaurs are not true Sikhs.
Singhs are perceived to be the genuine, even dominant gender.
Women wearing a turban makes gender equality more apparent.

Sikh women make a powerful statement about gender equality
when they tie turban. It is a graceful and effective way of putting Sikhs
and other communities on notice. It says, "We are who we are in support
of everyone's human rights irrespective of gender." -- DualityOptics.com

"Those who wish to remain asleep cannot be awakened. -- Hari Singh Bird

Which of these Sikh men and women could you identify as Sikh?


Which of these Sikh women could you identify as Sikh?

      

   

Which of these Sikh women could you identify as Sikh?

Which of these U.S. military personnel could you identify as Sikh?

 

Which of these young women could you identify as Sikh?

Which of these Sikh women could you identify as Sikh?

Duality Optics Continue


Kaur (Sikh woman) without turban.


Kaurs without turban.


Kaurs without turban.


Kaurs without turban.


Kaur without turban. See 'My Sikh Sense' Regarding Nikki Haley


Kaur without turban.


Kaurs without turban.


Kaurs without turban. Singhs (Sikh men) with turban.


Kaurs without turban. Singhs with turban.

Duality Optics Continue


Gurmehar Kaur

Sat Nam. Gurmehar Kaur is a Sikh woman. An October issue of Time magazine named her one of the Next Generation Leaders. And while congratulations are deserved for this 20-year-old who came into prominence after raising her voice against campus violence at Delhi University, the article raises at least a couple of questions. Given the current and positive ascendency and prominence of public awareness regarding Sikhs, how does anybody know Gurmehar Kaur is a Sikh? Could this duality indicate a gender equality issue?

See The 'Turbanators'. See Harpreet Singh's Comments On Why Sikh Women Don't Tie Turban. 'My Sikh Sense' Regarding Nikki Haley. See Woman Claims Her Right To Tie Turban. See Affirmative Optics. See The Essence of Kaur. See One Is The Answer. See The Turban As A Bigot Detector. Also see SikhTribes.com.

QUESTION: WHY DON'T SIKH WOMEN TIE TURBAN?
Guru Gobind Singh directed Singhs and
Kaurs,
to tie turban. Why do only Singhs tie turban?
See Woman Claims Her Right To Tie Turban.


Kaur without turban. Singh with turban.

Kaurs without turban. Singh with turban.


Kaurs without turban. Singh with turban.


Singhs with turban. Kaurs without turban.


Kaurs without turban. Singhs with turban.


Kaurs without turban. Singhs with turban. Read on.

Recognize any Sikh women in these photos?

Recognize the Sikh women in this photo?


"Given the positive and growing public awareness of Sikhs,
Sikh women manifestly express their parity with Sikh men when
they tie turban, thereby advocating gender equality. Without
the turban the perception persists that Kaurs are not true Sikhs.
Singhs are perceived to be the genuine, even dominant gender.
Women wearing a turban makes gender equality more apparent.

Sikh women make a powerful statement about gender equality
when they tie turban. It is a graceful and effective way of putting Sikhs
and other communities on notice. It says, "We are who we are in support
of everyone's human rights irrespective of their gender." --
Read on.

What message is conveyed when Sikh women do not tie turban? Do the optics make Kaurs appear inferior and Singhs appear superior? See My Take.

*NOTES: These questions apparently strike a sensitive nerve. The Sikh community's silence is deafening! So far only a couple respondents have replied to these questions, with only a couple of replies dealing directly with the question of why Sikh women don't tie turban.

Discourse is not meant to stir up feelings of guilt. Discourse is meant to drive people to action. Question is are we mature enough to sit down and discuss issues to do with gender equality, caste and class, diversity, etc., especially as they relate to Guru Nanak Dev Ji's message? -- Back to beginning.

See The 'Turbanators'. See Dastaar And Sikh Women. See Woman Claims Her Right To Tie Turban. See Women: Wimps or Warriors. See The Turban Is A Crown. See Pindie Dhaliwal, A Revolutionary Feminist. See Naureen Singh. See Why Don't Sikh Women Tie Turban? See What Sikh Women Need To Know. See Mai Bhago Kaur - Sant Sipahi. See The Turban As A Bigot Detector. See Questions For Sikh Ministers.

Read on.

AFFIRMATIVE OPTICS

Muslim women keeping hijab affirms their identity as Muslims.

Sikh women keeping turban affirms their identity as Sikhs.

   

See Woman Claims Her Right To Tie Turban.

The Story of Turban Technology

"Properly tying the turban enables one to command the sixth center, the Agia Chakra. Covering the head stabilizes the cerebral matter and the twenty-six parts of your magnificent brain, which are interlocked with the neurological system and the electromagnetic field. Covering one's head creates a focus of the functional circuit of the hemispheres, and tunes up the neurological system. The whole head should be covered, not just the Crown Chakra. Any head covering that covers the whole head is acceptable; white natural fabric, such as cotton, is ideal." -- See The Turban Is A Crown. Also see Turbanators.com.

Read on.

MySense
By Amrit Kaur

Re: Why don't Sikh women tie turban?

In my experience, the turban is not the proof of whether you are a Sikh or not. I know too many who wear turban's and yet live cultural lives that are not in alignment with what the turban represents as given to us by Guru Gobind Singh.

You will know a Sikh woman by her heart and her actions - she does not need to prove herself by a turban alone. To respond to a woman's outcry against the men in her life who wear turban's while they allow her to be emotionally abused with questioning her identity as a Sikh woman is not unlike like telling a woman to wear modest clothing to protect her from physical abuse.

The conversation about turbans and identity is a valid one but in this context, diminishes the message and is completely unrelated. I follow the Sikh path, I am a woman and I don't wear a turban. My name is Amrit Kaur.

See Turbanators.com. See Woman Claims Her Right To Wear A Turban. See The Turban Is A Crown.

Read on.

MySense
By Hari Singh Bird

Re: Why don't Sikh women tie turban?

Sat Nam. Thank you, Amrit Kaur, for reaching out.

However, your response does not answer the question: "Did Guru Gobind Singh direct men only to tie turban?"

My take is Guru Gobind Singh directed Sikhs, women and men, to tie turban. Why did he direct Sikhs to tie turban? Answer: As a matter of unique identity; as a fearless declaration of dharmic commitment; as a challenge to fearlessly engage being marginalized, with grace and grit; and to foster gender equality. For example, these Sikh women cannot be identified as Sikhs.

My question to you, Amrit Kaur: What is your real reason for not tying turban? --

The Turban Is A Crown

      

"Given the positive and growing public awareness of Sikhs,
Sikh women manifestly express their parity with Sikh men when
they tie turban, thereby advocating gender equality. Without
the turban the perception persists that Kaurs are not true Sikhs.
Singhs are perceived to be the genuine, even dominant gender.
Women wearing a turban makes gender equality more apparent.

Sikh women make a powerful statement about gender equality
when they tie turban. It is a graceful and effective way of putting Sikhs
and other communities on notice. It says, "We are who we are in support
of everyone's human rights irrespective of gender." -- DualityOptics.com

See Woman Claims Her Right To Wear A Turban.

See Affirmative Optics. See Turbanators. See Negative Optics.

See The Turban As A Bigot Detector. See Unique ID of Muslim Women.

Read on.

MySense
By Partapdev Kaur

I call for unity between communities.

I work as head of translations for the Sikh educational organization, 'Basics of Sikhi'. I have spoken out in condemnation of the Barcelona terror attack, whilst also dispelling the commonly mistaken association between the Sikh identity and terrorism. Watch the video above for my full statement.

Barcelona’s Sikh Gurdwara (Sikh place of education and worship), Gurdarshan Sahib Ji, is adjacent to where the terror attacks took place. The sangat (congregation) of Gurdarshan Sahib Ji also condemns the terror attack, and offers their support to the locals. For anyone who is having a hard time, the Guru’s house is open at all times, offering food, water and shelter.

Note: Partapdev Kaur was born in Spain in a Christian background family. She found out about Sikhi through Kundalini Yoga and soon after she moved to the Sikh philosophy based ashram Quinta do Rajo in Portugal. After two and a half years there she moved to England looking for more Sangat. Soon after she started working for Basics of Sikhi managing all foreign translations of our leaflets in addition to travelling abroad to do street parchar. She studied English and Translation in Spain with a year of scholarship studies at St. Andrews University, Edinburgh. -- Source.

Learn more about Sikh Dharma here in Spanish.

Click here to add your thoughts. Read me first.

MySense
By Pindie Dhaliwal

A Revolutionary Feminist

So I am the least likely person to be writing this. My Panjabi is terrible. I rarely go to the Gurdwara. And worst of all, my rotis are anything but round. I simply am not the idealistic definition of a Sikh. But before we go any further, I want to tell you about a conversation I had a year ago. I was chatting with a good friend of mine and this conversation quickly escalated into an argument. An argument about Sikhi. Although he and I both grew up in Sikh homes. Both children of hard working immigrant parents. Both surrounded by the love of our grandparents, chachas and aunties. We had wholly different experiences with Sikhi.

You see; I am a female.

I know the story of Sikhi is that men and women are equals. And when that ideology is set against the contrasting culture of India’s rampant misogyny, Sikhi is revolutionary. That is simply extraordinary. After all, Guru Nanak Sahib said, “from her, kings are born.” Yet today, we as females are made not only to feel inferior, but filled with doubt about what Sikhi actually stands for. I was frustrated, lost and angry. And vented these emotions to him.

He tried to persuade me about the power of Sikhi. So I shared with him an experience I had. I had not been home to my pind, Madhopur, since I was four years old. Though it was so long ago, I remembered how the wheat fields danced for me and how the sun spread its warm embrace through the sky. A quarter of a century later, my mum, dad, Bea ji and I returned home. I connected with my ancestral home, visited with distant family, knocked back gol guppay and like any good Sikh, made my way to Harmandir Sahib.

We were there for three nights. And during the wee hours of one morning, we went to watch Sri Guru Granth Sahib being ceremoniously moved from Akal Takht. I noticed my Dad was participating in the procession, but my mum and Bea ji stood idly next to me. So I whispered to my Bea ji, “why aren’t you with Dad?” Her hushed response emptied my heart. “Because, Pindie, we are not allowed. We are women.”

After sharing this story, I asked him, if our faith is founded on equality why do we as females face such inequality? He was left speechless. (See Why Don't Sikh Women Tie Turban?)

A few days passed and he somehow managed to persuade me to come to a SikhRI event. I stubbornly attended. And from a place of confliction and confusion, I began to connect.

I connected to the poetic prose of Inni Kaur and the magnetic force of Harinder Singh. I connected to the space they created to ask my stupid, innocent questions. I connected to the Guru’s way of thinking. And so began my journey with Sikhi.

I know there are others like me. Who are just as lost. Just as puzzled. And just as disheartened.

Yet, we continue to ignore the fact that our youth are being neglected and not taught about what it means to be a Sikh. Our grandmothers and mothers are being treated as if they are second class in the most sacred of spaces. Our leaders are falling silent in speaking up for injustices that face humanity, from the farmers of Panjab to the wars that divide us. And we are becoming less concerned about keeping Sikhi alive and thriving.

We as a community are at a crossroads. And it’s time we meet the challenges that face us and build for the future. After all, if you truly believe in something, and you truly believe in it’s work, you have to be willing in making that work happen.

If we rise up together, we can reclaim the promise and ensure the future of Sikhi.

Much gratitude. Much love. -- Source.

Question: Pindie 'Kaur' Dhaliwal is a Sikh woman, but how would anybody know she is a Sikh? See What Sikh Women Need To Know. See Why Don't Sikh Women Tie Turban?

MySense
By Harpreet Singh


Harpreet Singh

Re: Why don't Sikh women tie turban?

As per Sikh Rehat Maryada, in the case of uniform, for males the turban is compulsory, for females it does not say anything.

The dastaar (turban) is not mandatory to Sikh women, not even for those who are amritdhari, though greater numbers than before have begun to wear one in recent decades.

Increasing numbers of Sikh women are wearing turban
in accordance with directives of Guru Guru Gobind
Singh and the Siri Singh Sahib of Sikh Dharma
.

   

      

      

      

It is a topic of historical research how Sikh women, if they used to wear turbans during the Sikh Guru's time, stopped wearing same. 

One point of view is that during the period from 1708 AD Sikhs were constantly living in jungles and fighting Mughals.

During this period Sikh gurdwaras were being taken care of by Hindu/Semi Hindu Mahants. As a result most of the Hindu practices or Hindu-like practices came into Sikhism. It was during this period probably that Sikh women stopped tying/wearing turban. 

After this, when Sikhs ruled Punjab during the time of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, they got so much engrossed in pleasure that they did not try to revive their historical culture.

Historical inspiration

While it is uncertain who the first turbaned woman was in the Khalsa, all of these women draw inspiration from ‘Mai Bhago’ or Mata Bhag Kaur, a female warrior in Guru Gobind Singh’s army. Some say she was the first female bodyguard. Her example is often used to highlight gender equality as being one of the foundational principles of the Khalsa.

"Given the positive and growing public awareness of Sikhs,
Sikh women manifestly express their parity with Sikh men when
they tie turban, thereby advocating gender equality. Without
the turban the perception persists that Kaurs are not true Sikhs.
Singhs are perceived to be the genuine, even dominant gender.
Women wearing a turban makes gender equality more apparent.

Sikh women make a powerful statement about gender equality
when they tie turban. It is a graceful and effective way of putting Sikhs
and other communities on notice. It says, "We are who we are in support
of everyone's human rights irrespective of their gender." --
Read on.

By placing the wearing of the dumalla within a politico-historical context these women affirm credibility to this practice.

The Mughals forbade anyone except the royals from wearing turbans, riding horses, carrying weapons or keeping eagles. This was precisely why these were the symbols the Sikhs chose to adopt,” said Sarabjeet Kaur who has an insurance and tax services business and also runs a school to impart religious instruction among children, in California.

Dr. Harpreet Kaur, an anaesthetist, points out that in defiance, they wore not just one, but two turbans! She also explains the prohibition on piercing because the Mughals would pierce the nose of the Sikh women they captured, symbolizing their ‘slave status'.” We are not slaves to anyone and women are not the slaves of men”, she asserts.

These women also have unique ways of explaining personal philosophies that govern their religious practices which is reflective of individual volition. Siri Kaur, a management consultant who has been Amritdhari for eleven years says, “The idea is not to become fanatic about the religion. I am more spiritual. My work is my first Karma, and for me it is most important. I have to travel a lot, so I go to Bangla Sahib whenever I’m at home.”

The Science

While speaking of the turban and kesh (hair), Harroop Kaur, a nursing student in California, draws from her knowledge of science to explain her view, “When we comb our hair there is static -- that electricity, that energy -- the simran and paath channels it through the hair, and the dastaar protects it. The dastaar then works as a huge storehouse of energy. So the dastaar is a lot more than just identity — it has a function.”

One may or may not agree with the logic of it, some women also spoke about how it was important not to judge others and that the significance of certain practices could only be understood when one had achieved a certain level of spiritual maturity. Leading an Amritdhari life is actually a matter of kripa (grace), and people can’t be judged for not taking it up, said twins Luvleen Kaur and Gurleen Kaur, both students at DU, pursuing M. Sc. degree. Dr. Harpreet Kaur however had a very different take on the subject, “After a while you realize that there is no point in discussing these things with people who don’t understand. 'Jisne kheer khai hi na ho toh use kya pata ki kheer kaisi hoti hai-ki usme cheeni hai ya mirchi?'” (The proof of the pudding is in the eating.)

Beauty

The older women seemed to have built up more resilience to the pressures of conformity, which are ubiquitous in an urban setting. “I don’t think it is anyone’s business to comment on other people’s faith or their looks,” says Dr. Harpreet Kaur. Young women wearing the dastaar on the contrary are constantly required to defend their choices to family and friends.

Shobha Kaur, a professor at DU, says, when she took to wearing the dastaar her friends rued her lost beauty. Despite coming from Amritdhari families, many girls are discouraged from taking up the dastaar as it would affect their social lives, particularly their marriage prospects. To this Luvleen Kaur and Gurleen Kaur say, laughing, "We told them, 'bandhne se nahin milega toh nahin bandhne se bhi nahin milega!' Marriage is either destined or it isn’t."

The pressures of beauty extend beyond keeping the hair on the head unshorn. In a recent incident, Balpreet Kaur from the U.S. replied to malicious comments about her facial hair on the popular content-sharing website, Reddit, saying "When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are."

When asked about their own appearance, the young women attribute their beauty to the natural form that the Guru gave them and to bearing his ‘crown’, the dastaar. Damanjeet Kaur, an ex-model who is now a practicing Amritdhari woman said, “The dastaar is like our crown and our Guru wanted us to look beautiful wearing it.” While they reject hair removal entirely, and for the most part makeup as well, the girls take pains with their dastaars, tying them in different styles, with different cloths, and even decorating them.

“I have heard that there are four prescribed colours, but if boys can match, why can’t we?” says Jalnidh Kaur, who is doing an M. Ph. in Economics at Oxford University. However, the significance of the dastaar is far more religious than sartorial, whether as a storehouse of spiritual energy, as a constant reminder of the Guru’s presence in their life, or as a form of seva, inspiring others to take on the dastaar. One does not ‘wear’ a dastaar, one adorns oneself with it.

The Unsafe City

The turban isn’t just a symbol of identity, according to Shobha Kaur. Together with the kirpan, it also acts as a ‘visual shield’ (a filter?) in a city like Delhi, generally considered unsafe for women.

Harroop Kaur says, “The kirpan is a last resort, but one should make sure that it is actually sharpened. Look at my kirpan, it’s not a puny three inch thing. I don’t just have it for show. I sharpen it regularly, and I can use it!” She also believes that learning Gatka, the Sikh martial art, empowers women. “Even at my Gatka class there are very few girls. A lot of them assume that not much is expected of them. I tell them you will not have it easy, I’m going to be just as hard on you as I am on the guys.” She instructs girls in Gatka. (See Women Wimps Or Warriors.)

These practices provide a sense of safety and security to these women, also giving them the confidence and strength to help others, and thereby to do seva, an essential principle of the Khalsa. Gursimran Kaur, who rides a ‘scooty’ to college, as she is not allowed to travel on the Metro with her kirpan, recounted an incident where she helped a woman chase a thief. She then went with her late at night to register the police complaint. As Damanjeet Kaur puts it, “People ask ‘don’t you feel scared, going out by yourself at night?’ I tell them, 'I didn’t wear the kirpan to be scared!' The dastaar seems to act in a similar way in the lives of these women; it suggests strength and courage.

Becoming an Amritdhari involves not just adopting the symbols of Sikhism but also internalizing the philosophy. The symbols are important reminders of responsibilities not just towards fellow believers but to all human beings. The Kaurs consider themselves to be better equipped to handle the challenges posed by an urban space, both by wearing the symbols as well as internalizing the philosophy.

Urban Turban

Close to 250 people participate in the Amrit Sanchar ceremony every week at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib in Delhi.

Of these about 30-40 per cent are women, says the head Granthi. More and more urban, young Amritdhari women are choosing to wear large, prominent dastaars.

Cosmopolitan Kaurs are using religious idiom to assert themselves as equals in the Khalsa by wearing the religious symbols traditionally worn by the men.

NOTE: This article is based on a research conducted by a group of students of the Delhi School of Economics. (With inputs from Pawanjeet Singh Judge, Arif Hayat, Sophia Abbas, and Karandeep Mehra.) -- Source.

See Definitions.

See Sikh Definitions.

See Glossary of Sikh Terms.

See Greetings, Names and Titles.

MySense
By Anonymous Singh

Re: Why don't Sikh women tie turban?

Punjabi Kaurs don't tie turban (see previous article) because they are afraid of all kinds of discrimination (marginalization) from the outside community as well as from inside the Sikh community. Tying turban, they think, will never end the discrimination. At least, within the Punjabi community they are okay, as long as they behave. Discrimination is hard to deal with unless you have true grace and grit, and the determination and fearless spirit of a warrior. Sikhs really need to adhere to core principals, not just culture.

Tying turban juxtaposes grace and grit.

 
    

BTW: I come from a small town Gurdwara that has a very loyal following of Punjabi Sikhs. And for good reason. Unlike larger Punjabi Gurdwaras the women recite Ardas; read from the Guru during Gurdwara; read the Hukum; serve Prasaad; serve Langar; and they even play and lead Kirtan. Our Punjabi families support their women. We truly live the plurality message of Guru Nanak. We not only host Gurdwara, but we conduct Yoga classes, Banghara classes, and spiritual concerts as well.

Our Sangat members love to attend these events, unlike Sangats at larger Punjabi Gurdwaras where women can only cook and watch the kids, and stay in the background for everything else. Our Kaurs are all strong Khalsa Warrior Women who speak their mind. They can do anything our Singhs do. That's the way it should be. --

Maybe next time Anonymous Singh will share his identity.

Read on.

Pages And Points To Ponder

See Turban Is Bana. See Duality Optics. See The Essence of Kaur. See The Turban Is A Bigot Detector. See Broad Points. See But Where Are The Women? See The Role And Status of Sikh Women. See U.S. Sikhs Want Women To Sing At Golden Temple. See Bibi Kiranjot Kaur On Women's Rights. See A Muslim Woman Teaches Kirtan. See Women Are Not Allowed To Play Kirtan. See Sikhism And Homosexuality. See Why Do You Not See Any Sikh Women? See Sikh Identity Is For Men Only. See When Will Sikh Men Stand Up. See Sikh Women's Issues. See Women And The Sikh Religion. See My Response To The Sikh Minister Survey. See How To Make Yoga Classes LGBT Friendly. See Punjabi Sikh Optics Do Matter. See What's With Sikhs And Gender Equality? See Circumstance. See The Woman Pope. See Women Are Much More Than This. See The Question of Authority Within Sikhism. See Should Mixed Faith Marriage In Sikh Temples Be Banned? See Balvinder Kaur Saund. See Maharani Jind Kaur: Saint Soldier. See Sudha Kaur Chopra On Gurdwara Security. See Why Don't Sikh Women Tie Turban? See Life According To Hari Nam Kaur. See I Fight Like A Girl. See Dastaar For Sikh Women. See The Turban Is A Crown. See The Essence of Kaur. See Life According To Joan Baez. See Menstruation From A Woman's Perspective. See Granny Stops Burglar. See Life According To Andrea Mitchell. See 'Sikh' And Ye Shall Find. See The Story Behind My Turban. See We Are We, We Are One. See Sikhs Shine. See Women Wimps Or Warriors. See Women Warriors. See Jai Jagdeesh Kaur's Ad Guray Nameh. See Refuse To Be A Victim Seminar. See Amazon Women. See How The Marines Transform Me Into We. See Memories of Khalsa Women's Rifle Drill Team. See Definitions. See Sikh Definitions. See Glossary of Sikh Terms. See Greetings, Names and Titles.

Click here to add your thoughts. Read me first.

MySense
By Hari Singh Bird

Sat Nam. What follows is a long overdue missive for which, I commend Anonymous Kaur.

Question: When will we see more Sikh women step up and speak out about their gender inequality grievances?

By God's grace the day will come when many more Kaurs, especially female ministers, will openly address gender issues. Perhaps many more Kaurs will use their personal byline rather than 'anonymous' posts. And perhaps many more Kaurs will step up and stand out in full bana, openly expressing their Sikh identity by tying turban just like their male counterparts. BTW: How do YOU know a Sikh woman is a Sikh woman? (See previous article.)

Anonymous Kaur's commentary as seen on KaurLife.org begins with this statement.

Anonymous Kaur is sick of the expectations that an “ideal wife” should look and act a certain way to be deemed a worthy woman. She is sick of men claiming to support women’s rights and then when push comes to shove, hide away. She is sick of sexism creeping into relationships.

See Woman Claims Her Right To Wear A Turban. See The Turban Is A Crown.

Read on.

MySense
By Anonymous Kaur

When Will Sikh Men Actually Stand Up?

We all know about the poisonous, misogynistic Punjabi culture that is difficult for Sikh women to deal with. It seems like everything, from the way we act, to what we wear, how we look, the type of work we do, is all examined with extra scrutiny as opposed to the way Sikh men behave. But I think the worst part of the double standards is when it is only young Sikh women who stand up for themselves, with their male counterparts nowhere to be seen.

While I recognize this is not the case for all Sikh men, it has happened too often in my life where I am pressed to ask the questions: Where are my Sikh brothers when I am battling sexist issues? Who will stand up with me? When will they actually put their words of equality and social justice into action?

Do not get me wrong. There are plethora of Sikh men who are helping to pave the way for Sikh women, in a gurmat inspired way. And there are plenty of Sikh fathers encouraging their daughters to follow their dreams and not be held down by societal pressure (my dad being one!). But where my frustration lies is within identity and what an “acceptable girl” should be in order to “bring home to the folks”.

It has been challenging as a bold, independent woman to find a partner. I have had my fair share of being called too “activisty” or told “she is never going to settle and be a good wife” or judged for being “too tall.” I took these criticisms as indicators of our incompatibility, because at the end of the day respect and connection are important and I never want to be with someone who thinks these things right off the bat.

Random aunties always will say such things without considering the emotional impact they are have on a young woman – I get that (while I wish it wasn’t the case). However, such comments are especially hurtful and  painful when they come from the parents of a person I have a deep and meaningful connection with. It’s even worse when they criticize my body and my age (things I cannot control)!

In this specific situation I’m referring to, I was attacked by the father of a person I was seriously involved with. His father said I did not “look good” standing next to his son (we’re the same height and I am physically bigger than him ), and that because I am a year older than him, psychologically we were not going to work. (He didn’t realize he just called his son short and stupid but no, the faults are with me.) His words stung. From what the son told me, his dad was very religious, was a sevadaar at gurdwara, and a “true” follower of Guru Ji’s teachings. However, I felt a disconnect between his words and actions.

Personally, I have a long way to go before being Guru’s Sikh. I have my faults and I know I am nowhere near perfect. But I also know as Sikhs, our true judge is only our Guru. So, when someone else condemns me and my appearance without knowing anything else about me, it was the biggest slap in my face. As much as I wanted to (and need to) pick myself up and keep my chardi kala, those words were crippling because it meant everything I did in my life from going to college, going to grad school, becoming self-sufficient, being active in the community were all diminished to my appearance from a “Sikh” father.

But probably the worst thing about it all was that the son just went along with his father’s comments. As much as he told me that he “…will always stand up to Punjabi culture nonsense,” and that he respects “…women and they are an important part of Sikh society,” and that he supports and practices “the equality in everyone including women as a Sikh and human rights issue,” he did not live up to it. He didn’t stand up to his father’s comments. He did not defend me. His words are meaningless.

It reminded me of a shabad revealed to Guru Angad Sahib on Ang 474 of Guru Granth Sahib.

In summary, talk is cheap.

Obviously there was no way I could continue a relationship with this guy since he so easily gave into the sexist culture the second it became challenging. It is fine to  respect your parents, but he lied to me about his commitment to women’s empowerment, and he lied to me about partnership. You can also respect your parents while disagreeing with them (i.e. Guru Nanak Sahib). You can respect them while politely challenging their antiquated thinking. Ultimately, I felt like he should have been careful about the words he used when talking about women.

Childish, immature, superficial, and shallow don’t come close to describing how I feel about this situation.

What I learned after this incident was even worse. I learned that many Sikh women have gone through similar things. So many sisters ended relationships because of what their partner’s parents’ backwards thinking about what an “ideal wife” should look like. No matter how many words these Sikh boys fed these women of respect, acceptance, and support, they did NOT act.

I believe this is for two reasons: (1) because they actually agree with their parents about the toxic, unattainable, constructed image of an “ideal  wife” or (2) they are weak and scared to stand up for the Sikh women in their lives. Which one is worse? Who knows?

It is great to see and experience Sikh men who actually do stand up for the partners regardless of what parents are saying about identity, image, and other really petty issues. But the weak boys are far more prevalent.

In Guru’s eyes, the most beautiful woman is not fair, thin, acquiescing, and short but one who does seva, who fights for the rights of others, and is (or wants to be) in love with Wahe Guru. “She is the most beautiful among women; upon her forehead she wears the Jewel of the Divine’s Love.,” Guru Nanak Sahib, Ang 54. But, the father and son in my story failed to internalize this message. (I’m not saying I wear such a metaphorical jewel, but I’m working at becoming a better human, and I do not define my self-worth on my looks).

I challenge Sikh camps and Sikh conferences to have strong dialogues of how respecting women and their identity must go beyond lip service. We have already addressed how Sikh women are faced with extra scrutiny in our Punjabi culture, but how does that move to the next step? How does the conversation stop being something just Sikh women have to do and move towards action by both Singhs and Kaurs? When will Sikh men start putting their money where their mouth is when they praise women but then struggle to stand up forthem? -- Source.

NOTE: Next time maybe 'Anonymous Kaur' will share her identity.

See Sikh And Ye Shall Find.

See The Turban Is A Crown.

See Women Wimps or Warriors.

See Women Are More Than This.

See Sikhism And Homosexuality.

See When Will Sikh Men Stand Up?

See How To Be More LGBT Friendly.

See I Claim My Right To Wear A Turban.

See Balvinder Kaur On Gender Equality.

See Why Don't Sikh Women Tie Turban?

See Bibi Kiranjot Kaur On Women's Rights.

See A Distinguishing Abundance of Male Titles.

See We Need To Talk About Domestic Violence.

All-Male Forum... For Change?


Members of the International Punjabi Forum in New Delhi. Where are the women?

Click here to add your thoughts. Read me first.

MySense
By Molu Govinda Ballah

Why are Sikh women not allowed to do kirtan in Sri Harmandir Sahib? Why were Sikh women not part of the Panj Pyare?

Guru Nanak Dev Ji recognized women as independent social entities; laid the foundation for their educational, social, and spiritual development; insisted women are not to be condemned on the grounds of their gender; insisted women are equal to men; Guru Sahib Ji advocated for the religious rights of women; insisted women be encouraged to study Sri Guru Granth Sahib; and insisted women are to participate on equal terms with men in all temporal and secular observances.

One such ceremony is the Sikh baptism or Amrit, which is was established for both men and women; both men and women are encouraged to participate in prayer in Holy Gurdwara; women are encouraged to become participants with the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and musicians who lead the congregation singing shabads (hymns).

From these teachings have evolved the freedom of worship for both genders.

MySense
By Dr. Jashpal Kaur Bhatt

We need to talk about domestic violence.

A recent conversation with a friend has prompted me to consider the importance of creating gender awareness on issues that impact on Sikh women in Malaysia, particularly domestic violence.

Many people consider domestic violence to be a sensitive issue. Domestic violence affects people, primarily women, across the board whatever their religion, race and social status. It is a sensitive matter because its impact is catastrophic to the persons affected by it and the community they live in.

Yet, it is precisely because of its insidious nature that we need to talk about it. Hiding it under the “carpet” so to speak will not get rid of the problem. If we don’t talk about difficult matters, then who will? Talking about it to women creates gender awareness about this issue, particularly its impact on women, the children and the family members.

This gender awareness will in turn create gender empowerment. How? Information or knowledge about domestic violence will help women to understand why it happens, how to get help and how to deal with the perpetrator(s). There is nothing especially sensitive about domestic violence when we see it for what it is – power and control. Not talking about domestic violence simply reinforces victimization, making the victim feel helpless and hopeless.

It is amazing that, in this day and age, we are still struggling to talk about women’s issues. Women’s issues are at the core of society and so women and men need to be made aware of the issues that impact on them and what they can, as ordinary people, do about them. The concern that talking about domestic violence will upset some women or men, or that women will take action against their husbands or family members and so break up the family, is unwarranted.

Is it better for the children to see what is happening, to feel helpless and in turn, create an inter-generational cycle of domestic violence? Is it better to allow the women victims to continue to suffer the trauma of domestic violence? The writer has attached the following chart of the wheel of violence that explains domestic violence, as an example of one way to create awareness about it. Click on image for enlarged print.

I think it’s time for us to take a serious look at the need to address women’s issues by providing the space and opportunity for discussion. Domestic violence is only one such issue. There are many others. (How about tribalism, gender inequality, and racism?)

In this respect, EKTA, the Sikh women’s group’s initiative to publish a book on the rights of Sikh women in respect of various matters that affect them, including domestic violence, is surely a step in the right direction. Gender awareness creates gender empowerment!

Note: Dr Jashpal Kaur a/p Kulwant Singh (Bhatt) is a Senior Lecturer of the Faculty of Law at University Technology MARA, Shah Alam. Source.

Click here to add your thoughts. Read me first.

MySense
By Hari Singh Bird

Sat Nam. Here's a missive I found recently that's worth reading.

GOD’S PLAY
By Sardar Rabinder Singh Bhamra

Dear Members, Gur Fateh!

This universe is God’s stage for His play. He created planets, stars, suns, galaxies, black holes, physical creation in His infinite universe, the things He likes. One is baffled to see these creations through space travel and Hubble telescopes. Nobody knows whether there is life on these heavenly bodies, and if yes, what kind of life. Nobody has been able to guess what is in God’s mind and what He wants to do. It seems no place is permanent in His Universe. Things keep changing with time, some slowly and some fast. His game is beyond our understanding. After all who are we to understand somebody Who is infinite.

But one thing is sure, He Loves His Creation, who is His baby, loves it and does not hurt anybody. We are curious about His creation, study it and want to travel in it, and plan to settle on other planets. But are those planets fit for human life? Can we breathe there? We do not know.

But all it tells us is we are more interested in His creation than He. We are His creation through our father and mother and we grow up thinking of just learning how to earn money, and grow rich and popular. But richness and popularity does not bring joy in life, and we do not know what to do.

But He takes mercy on us, sends divine messengers to us who explain to us His Play. We do not believe them and sometimes kill them as if they are telling us lies. But some persons because of God’s Grace are convinced and carry on the message to the people. It takes time to know the Truth.

One such person He sent to us was Guru Nanak who told the Truth about God and His play on Earth. People benefitted by his visit, which changed their thinking. But it took 300 years before Punjab got freedom.

The whole game of God was written in Guru Granth Sahib. The followers of Guru Nanak are called Sikhs (learners) and the game was explained to them in Gurbani, the writing of the Gurus and His saints in Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

. He Himself created and beholds His own Play. He winds up His drama, and then He is the One, by Himself... “Apnaa khel Aap kar dekhay. Khel sankochay tau Nanak Ekay.’’ p-272

. All living beings are Your play-things... “Jee jant sabh Tera khel.” p-11

. The world is a dream. In a moment the play is staged again... “Jag supna baajee khin meh khel khilaa-ay.” p-18

. The day and night are two nurses in whose lap all the world is at play (day time nurse is Kaal and night nurse is the soul)... “Divas raat doay daa-i daaya khelay sagal jagat.” p-11

. Three qualities (of Maya) holds the body in bondage; whosoever comes to the world Is subject to this play... “Trai gun badhee dehuri jo aaia so jug khel.” p-21

. O servant Nanak it is such a difficult game; only a few Gumukhs (God oriented persons) can understand it... “Jan Nanak eh khel kathan hai kinhoo Gurmukh jaanaa.” p-219

. The One has played the game of coming and going (of beings)... “Avan jaavan ik khel banaya.” p-218

. Some are deluded by doubts, some are involved in devotional worship; Your play is infinite and endless... “Ik bharam bhulae ik bhagtee laayay Tera keel akhaaraa.”p-633

. He stages the game of breath everywhere; withholding His Power He lets everybody crumble... “Pavney khel keea sabh thaee kalaa khinch dhaainda." p-1023

. Wealth is the play of the Creator, sometimes it comes and sometimes it goes... “Eh dhan Kartay kaa khel hai kad aavay kad jaavay." p-1282

Our life on Earth is a play of God, arranged by God. We play for Him as He wants. Life is like a dream and can end up whenever he feels like it. We are all His playmates. It is His play in His dream. We are like puppets in His dream playing the role He wants us to play. He is the player, observer and director of the play. Life looks real to us as we are all under His Maya, which creates doubts and duality in our minds, and takes us away from reality.

Our life is controlled by the breaths He gives us for living. Whenever He wants to end life, He takes away the breathing. The only way to be in peace and bliss is to love our Creator, and be one with Him, remembering Him in devotional worship and getting His Grace. In this case one becomes a Gurmukh by having His Naam with him.

Rabinder Singh Bhamra --

“It is incumbent on those who know to teach those who do not know." Hari Singh Bird

See Glossary of Sikh Terms. See Historical Documents. See A Comprehensive Sikh History Quiz. See Sikh Minister's Vows. See Find The Meaning of Sikh Names. See Core Issues For Sikhs. See Why Are White Tantra Yoga Classes So 'White'? See Why Don't Sikh Women Tie Turban? See Life According To Native America.

MySense
By SatHanuman Singh Khalsa

Sat Nam. I watched this well done presentation by Guwinder Singh and his awesome son, Jiwan Jot Singh Kapur. While I am proud of their effort to outreach and share the Sikh way of life with non-Sikhs there are some critical points given by both father and son in this video that are out of order, e.g., that Yogi Bhajan, is the leader of a sect of Sikhism in California, who many years ago had his Sikh women wear white turbans!

While I can see the humor shared with the audience, important questions were asked by audience members about several important issues. Kindly permit me to present the following corrections in the interest of accuracy and clarity.

Reality - Siri Guru Granth Sahib is NOT a holy book.

Reality - Many practicing Sikhs are vegetarian. Many cultural Sikhs from India however love to eat meat, visa viz "fillet mignon".

Reality - While Amrithari Sikhs don't use tobacco and don't eat meat, fish or eggs, drink alcohol or use hallucinogenic drugs, many cultural Punjabi Sikhs enjoy Scotch and/or beer.

Reality - Women do share in religious roles in Gurdwara. (See contrary answers given by Jiwan Jot Singh and Guwinder Singh.)

Reality - Women are recognized as equals to men by Guru Nanak Dev and all Siri Guru's of Sikh Path.

Reality - Sikh women are not permitted (as least not yet) to carry Siri Guru Granth Sahib at Prakash from Siri Akal Takhat to Darbar Sahib each morning in Amritsar at the Golden Temple.

Reality - How many Gurdwaras in the world are there where women are President or Secretary of the Gurdwara?

Reality - How many Panj Piaris marching in Nagar Kirtans around the world (including NYC) with Amritdari (Baptized Khalsa) ever be carrying Siri Sahibs (Guru's Sword).

Reality - How many women do you see serving Langar in Langar halls in Gurdwaras in the U.S., Canada, Britain, India, UNLESS you come to Gurdwaras in Sterling, Virginia, Millis, Massachusetts, Eugene, Oregon, Los Angeles, or Espanola, New Mexico?

Reality - Sikhs, consisting of whites, browns, blacks, Asians, etc., all do SEVA. These women and men from Punjab, Indian and American lineage are integrated into these Gurdwaras.

Reality - 99.9% of the people wearing Daastars (turbans) in the U.S., Great Britain, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Africa are SIKHS? Can women wear turbans? Of course! Going back to the time of the 10th Master, Siri Guru Gobind Singh, when he initiated the first Sikhs into the Khalsa, women serving the Guru often wore Damala (turbans).

Reality - Mai Bhago Kaur led 40 Sikh deserters into battle. These 40 men are to this day remembered in Ardas all over the world by 30 million Sikhs! Mai Bhago Kaur Ji survived the battle and Siri Guru Gobind Singh built a Gurdwara to honor her heroic life of seva and devotion.

Reality - Yogi Bhajan, was declared Path Rattan, as well as Siri Singh Sahib, Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Ph.D.

Reality - Yogiji arrived in North American from New Delhi in 1968. He began Teaching Kundalini Yoga in 1969 in Los Angeles.

Reality - Yogiji succeeded in having Sikh Dharma legally recognized by U.S. laws.

Reality - Yogiji was responsible for influencing young women in U.S., Canada, G.B., Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, i.e., Sweden, Denmark, Germany, G.B., France, Italy, the African nations, China, Russia, Australia and INDIA to don Daastars years before Bhindrinwali and others preached Guru's Katta!

Reality - Young women of the Sikh faith in British Columbia and around the world have taken to donning Daastar after being initiated into the Khalsa Panth!

Reality - The reason some Sikh women do NOT wear turbans is cultural, not religious! Chuni are a traditional Punjabi head covering for Indian Sikh women, and other Sikh women.

Reality - There are currently 40 Sikh men wearing Daastars who are serving in the U.S. Army and 12 Sikh women, according to Colonel Kamal Singh Kalsi, who are spread throughout the U.S. Armed Forces. One day in the near future, one or another of those who are inspired to serve will don a Daastar and this will become a game changer.

Reality - The Sikh Path (Dharma) or Sikhi is a most beautiful path of Truth. I have lived and practiced the path since 1971 when I first bowed my head to Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. (I am a former Christian raised in the United Church of Christ - also known as the Congregational Church.)

I met the Siri SIngh Sahib, then known as Yogiji, in 1971 in Cocoa, Florida, U.S. I was 21, and I thought the word Sikh was pronounced Shikh, which is Sheikh, and pronounced Shake.

I was NOT looking for a "Guru" or a religion. Everything was fine until I met Yogiji. His words awakened me and I continued to grow. I adopted the Sikh path (one does not convert to Sikhi) in 1972. Two years later I was initiated by Sardar Gurcharan Singh Tora ji and other leaders from SGPC in New Mexico, U.S.

I am a grandfather of 4 Sikh youths residing in Oregon. I am married, worked 2006-2012 as the first Sikh security officer for TSA (DHS) in the U.S. I was appointed to the National Security Council at Transportation Security Administration Headquarters in Arlington, VA from 2008-2010.

Currently I am active in Oregon Sikh Seva Foundation and engaged with State and Federal leadership to benefit Sikh youth, women, Sikh Americans and Muslim Americans. I am the Pacific Northwest Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense Fund, SALDEF, the oldest Sikh Civil Rights organization, which is based in Washington, DC. I also currently serve as a member of Akal Committee13 (ACT) see AkalCommittee13.com to see our Mission statement.? --

Click here to add your thoughts. Read me first.

See Definitions.

See Sikh Definitions.

See Glossary of Sikh Terms.

See Greetings, Names and Titles.

See 3HO History by Sat Bachan Kaur.

“It is incumbent on those who know to teach those who do not know." Hari Singh Bird

See Historical Documents. See A Comprehensive Sikh History Quiz. See Sikh Minister's Vows. See Find The Meaning of Sikh Names. See Core Issues For Sikhs. See Why Are White Tantra Yoga Classes So 'White'? See My Response To A Sikh Minister Survey. See Why Don't Sikh Women Tie Turban? See Life According To Native America.





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Pages And Points To Ponder

                                          

                                 

Why Don't Sikh Women Tie Turban? Desmond Tutu's Plea To Israel.
See The Homeless Banned And Jailed In 'Christian' America.
See Let's Have 'The Race Conversation' For Real, This Time.
See More Diversity Dialogues. See Institutionalized Racism.

See Required Reading. See Recommended Reading.
See Why Are White Tantra Yoga Classes So 'White'?

See Islamic Extremism vs Christian Extremism.

See A Native American's Thanksgiving Rebuke.
See What White People Need To Know.

See Americans Need To Pay Attention.
See What's Wrong With This Picture?
See A Case Of Unjust Enrichment.
See A Classic Case of Tribalism.
See What Tribalism Looks Like.
See Guidelines For Facilitators.
See For The People Of Color.
See What Is White Privilege?
See KRI Needs To Go To Jail.
See Jon Stewart On Racism.
See The Ubuntu Philosophy.
See TheMahanTantric.com.
See Example of Tribalism.

See ACT For Diversity.
See Comments Con.
See Comments Pro.

See Obama 43 To 1.
See My Main Point.
See Definitions.
See Questions.

    

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