Filed under Sikh Women's Movement, Sikhi, The Khalsa Knighthood
Tagged as feminism, Interfaith, Kaur, Multicultural, Sikh, women, Women of Color
very good. I wish women respected all over the world. one can see daily , what is the status of women. just few womens in good jobs doesnt mean all treated the same.
Hi Livia Kaur,
So great to have you here!
You live in India – is this correct? I am eager to hear about (and from) women in India; women in general and Sikh women specifically.
Here are some of the reactions to this video out on the UK egroups I belong to:
WaheGuru Ji Ka Khalsa WaheGuru Ji Ke Fateh
Good short video. All men and women in the world should watch this, as well as those that falsely moan about equality of women in Sikhism….
Vahiguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vahiguru Ji Ki Fateh
You are absolutely right that Sikh women according to Guru are equal to men. But we most not ignore the fact that Panjabi culture teaches exactly the opposite.
Even young British born Panjabi ‘Sikh’ males divorce women who want to be treated as equals and remarry ‘obedient’ young ladies from Panjab.
Go to any Sikh meeting and count the women present.
How many female Prabandhaks (Pradans), Granthis, Ragis do you know ?
How often does a woman lead the ardas in a gurdwara or Sikh meeting ?
Remember Surjit Kaur and many other daughter-in-laws that get treated by their new families as a piece of property, to be disposed off any-which-way when they make it clear they do not wish to be a slave.
You are right that this is not just a question of ante-deluvian attitudes of Panjabi ‘Sikh’ men, the women are part of the problem.
And of course not all Sikhs follow the Panjabi culture rather than the Guru’s teachings, but we do have a huge problem here, and there is no easy way out, because these attitudes are so rooted in the Panjabi psyche.
Punjab women are different now. I feel Punjab women are great and intelligent.They know thier rights and they know about “men” too. I spend lots of my time speaking to them and they feel the biggest problems
is that “men” fear women’s freedom would make these some “banday” very retarded. It boils down to FEAR. How else can these some men show their “maleness”? Harassing women, make women feel like sex objects, stare at them in the streets, and sit all day drinking cha in gurdwaras or sit in langgar halls giving women the stare , or write and talk about women in a most distasteful manner.
Some points to ponder on and if world Sikh leaders can work on:
Besides the Sikh marriage Act, I am still wondering why some rites are still being practised.
1. Dowry system, still being practised worldwide, make the ladies parents give gold ring, bangle, necklace not only to between bride and bridegroom which is reasanobale, but not with bridegroom uncles, aunties, parents,…….how can teh generation to come be educated on the proper marriage rites?
2. The bridegroom bringing along 50 persons or even hundreds (mostly men) for “jaan” or “jaanja”.
In view of equality, what has the army men coming with the bridegroom got to do with the wedding? why would the bride family fork out thousands of dollars to serve special breakfast and special lunch for them>
The worst is they dont eat guru ka langgar, but have specially prepared food in restaurant or even in langgar hall for the bridegroom very very very important jaan or jaan ja…
What is the logic? Why the bride has to face extra expensens?
What has the army of men in the jaan got to do with the happiness of the couple?
All those invited by the bridegroom in the jaan has no role nor have they made any sacrifices in the growing up years of teh couples, so how come they become so very very important on thier wedding day? Why they have to be given special breakfast, specail lunch?
I am glad some of my friends did away with the “jaan” whn they got married, and i hope many parents on this forum would also put a stop to it, and do justice to their children and the future generation.
I am sure the bridegroom families cant be greater than our Gurujis that they need to be given specail welcome in the gurdwara by the bride family.
There is so much on the Marriage Act, but the above issues need to be addressed too.
sat sri akal ,
I am happy more kaurs are writing.
mens in the world stare at other women but they forget to stare at their own wives, mothers, sisters, daughters. ? maybe they be from anyreligon.
In east europe the communist bloc, when it went down in 1990s, suddenly arabs came marrying our girls, there was no government, Gorbashook sold everyone out. they took the girls with them just to have some white, blue eyed children. most of these girls are back home, mentally destroyed. can you imagine using women like animal breeding farm? which religon says to do this. they specially married muslims girls.no mercy even for their own religon women.?
lot of women from russia with poverty in the streets they went in to night buisness in bars around the globe , just to send home some money to feed their children, husbands. can you imagine the pain, sacrifice, these womens did for their families, yet the mens are drunk with russian vodka, beers, watching football. if their is any noble prize to be given for peace, social works it should be given to women blindly.
making use of this situation lot of companies from advanced europe went and got teen girls in for photo modelling, but they all ended up in photos, in internet or other flesh trade.
not one man politican voiced their concern. how many girls are sold daily in europe between bar owners, night clubs. if the girls refuses , she is given a good beating or her family threatned. now the girls of ukraine are treated like piece of meat.
Mr. putin did put tough conditions for young girls to travel outside russia, it has helped a lot. he also has finished the russian mafia in russia with the police power. he also banned adopting russian children by foriegners. even china has banned adopting chinese children by foreigners.
even russian girls from mental hospitals were taken out from russia across the borders.
all this was not enough. then came so many religious groups , cults to enroll girls from east europe but ended up in night clubs.
in my country most of the world religons , salesmens or saleswomens came offering us money, gifts, and to have faith in God(night clubs).
I must say in open that no sikh religon salesman came, i love that about sikhs. no need to go hunt for followers, let them come looking for sikhi.
just yesterday a priest has been arrested for having relation ship with 9 year old girl. he was the religious teacher. whom else to trust?
I pray to Vaheguru ji, to bless the mens in politics to respect the women of the world.
mens here, when the child is smart or does something great, they say “just like father. but when the child does something bad, then they say “stupid like mother”. the fact is the child was in mothers stomach 9 months, the calcium, food all is from the mothers stomach. so if the child is smart or not, all credit goes to the mother, why only bad names.
in my ex-religon orthodox christians, the new born babies are taken to church for blessings by the priest before the baby close 40 days after birth. The baby boy is taken to the holy table but the baby girl is not taken because the female is considered devils friend for she made man far from God(adam and eva). I asked the priest are you son of a devil or your mother, he was going to kill me, he did chase me and my mother out of the church. what to say when the religon is blaming the women.?
thank you all for reading,
Dear Kaur 1,
You will be pleased to learn that I had my wedding done with ‘sava rupiah’ (Rs 1 and 25 Paisa), I do not even wear a wedding ring – not because the one given to me was rubbish but I simply do not like jewellry.
Madam came to my country (from THAT country) on a sponsorship with a view to marrying me after my mother had chosen her and done the mangna a few months earlier. My family paid for all wedding costs – her lot were not even at the wedding (civil or Anand Karj). My father did not want to sell his sons (same happened with my brother).
The only request we made of her was to drop the stupid surname she came with and just retain Kaur – this was to ensure that people did not confuse her with her mother who subserviantly has adopted the stupid surname of her father upon marriage. The last thing I want is for people to think I have married my mother-in-law.
Twenty eight years later, she tells me I am happily married – I am able to retain this blissful existence by erasing any memory of her family’s existence from my mind – but NEVER obstructing her daily contact with them – physical or via telephone.
I believe they have a similar healthy view of me – but it seems to work.
Dear Singh 3,
28 years ago, ur family had kept it so logical, wonder why in 21 century , in a vey educated society ,punjabi men are still “selling” themselves, and women are giiving in so to be married, most of they love their men who are still good but have to obey their parents.
These days many young Sikh men are so educated, yet they cant sit and “vichar” with thier parents to do away with traditions that are unfair and illogical.
Many should take a leaf from you, and some of my male friends who had strongly oppossed to such unreasonable tradition.
Punjabees should not only know the Anand Karaj Act, but together with it the proper wedding traditions that are logic and does not bring hardship to the
bride’s parents /family.
I feel punjabees families with sons are not going to stop “taking” as much as they can from the brides as long as the bride families
are fearful of thier daughters being single at certain age. As long as leaders are do not openly debate on these issues.
That’s why many sikh lady friends of mine are opting to marry men who are not Sikh, and more are heading towards that direction.
I do feel there are some men/families who are not “greedy” , and I do respect them whoever they are.
I congratulate Singh 3 for the courage of his conviction and all his relatives for supporting him in his ideal. Best wishes for his family. I hope more and more young people will follow his example. There is great feeling of self reliance and being self made than such windfalls at marriage at the cost of bride’s parents.
I have noticed that our girls are not treated as grown up developed persons and it mostly due to lack of education and mental development of the females. They are not told their rights and are not consulted what to promise and commit at the time of marriage.
When Diana married Prince Charles of England, it was cleared that she will promise to love and obey her husband, and with Fergi, she agreed to love her husband but she did not agree to obey him and hence this was deleted from the vows. In our weddings the bride is told to remember 4 Bhabas, 1 Bhala ji, 2Bhuli ji 3 Bhana ji and 4th the Garanthi himself forgot. Only sometime later the conflict starts.
There are many more factors, Indian men are not used to share domestic chores and hence the wife has to do the domestic work, job and also look after the children in the western countries without the domestic help, as well has to look after the in-laws and husband’s family i.e.deors and nanans.
The whole culture needs to be debated.
However our Sikh women are on tops compared to other religions.
sat sri akal,
every thing starts at the young age, teach the boys from young age to do house hold things, dont treat them like boss and the girls have to help mother. in our non-sikh country the problem is every house. boys just down or pass time with friends but the girls are busy with the house works. i know of a family where the sons, daughters were taught to do all the house hold works, to share from a young age. start from a young age.
Agree with Sardar Singh 3. There are many Sikh families who have carried out similar marriages, without imposing any burdens on the bride’s family, and have virtually paid all wedding costs. I do not know of any Sikh family that have asked for a dowry/payment, apart from the specific items appearing in some emails or news articles.
It is so demeaning for a woman to adopt her husband’s surname on marriage, as done in most parts of the world. The Sikh way is much better, where the woman keeps her own pre-marriage Kaur name.
Thank you all who have said kind words about my family’s practice – I put it down to my late father’s ideals based on his nderstanding of Gurbani.
For the record, I do my own ironing (and for my children when they go to school), I also do my share of hoovering and enjoy washing the dishes by hand even though we have a dishwasher.
My brother can even cook and operate the washing machine without help – I only know how to operate the microwave oven.
Both my son’s can fend for themselves and both my daughters are marvellous cooks since the age of eleven – they are 26 and 22 now – my son’s are 24 and 18.
PS – Dear Kaur 3:
To answer your question all I can say if we have a JAT who is unclear about Mool Mantar and a SGPC who is made up of non-Sikhs (Radasoamis etc) – all being bankrolled by – well we all know who, what can one expect.
Maybe the children of the above can set a good example when they get married?
Jat is a caste.
Mool Mantra is the fundamental statement of Sikh cosmoslogy – the first line of the Sikh scripture.
SGPC is suppose to be the governing body for Sikhi, located in India – Sikh Central.
Radasoamis – a type of Hindu.
Got a note from a nonSikh friend:
“Thanks, yes. I didn’t know the male Singh vs female Kaur name meanings before. While some are debating higher level details thanks to your site and articles, some of us are getting “101′ teaching;) Thanks”.
I’ve encouraged all three of my children to learn and enjoy doing everything-cooking , ironing, decorating etc. My son is an even better ‘home maker’ than my daughter- all three are educated to MA level and academically bright.The only sad regret I have is that their Punjabi and Sikhi knowledge is not of the same level and I’m not sure on how to encourage that as they are all over 21 now.
Good for you. Being good world citizens is the most important part. Guruji is alive and well. One of the great things about the SGGS is how Guruji teaches Sikhs how to pray. We can pray the same prayers as Guruji. Here is a great one for parents and other people needing to Let Go and Let God:
Guru Ram Das SGGS 736
All that happens, and all that will happen, is by Creator/Creation’s Command.
If we could do something, we would.
By ourselves, we cannot do anything at all.
As it pleases Creator/Creation, we are preserved.
O my Dear One, everything is in Your power.
I have no power to do anything at all.
As it pleases You, You forgive us.
(Pause and reflect)
You Yourself bless us with soul, body;
You Yourself cause us to act.
As You issue Your Commands, so do we act, according to our destiny.
You created the entire Universe out of the five elements;
if anyone can create a sixth, let them.
You unite some with a True Teacher and cause them to understand,
egotists and manmukhs (talking heads),
do their deeds and/or cry in pain.
I cannot describe
the glorious greatness of the Source;
I am foolish, thoughtless, idiotic and lowly.
Please, forgive servant Nanak.
You are my Only Master.
I am ignorant, but I have entered Your Sanctuary
I want to know……….how come white women are considered to be not good enough to have the name Kaur as a last name? My culture is very similar to India culture as far as the traditions and beliefs of the Sikh faith. Im white so I am being told I can never marry a man of the faith of Sikh even though I have changed my last name to Kaur legally. Only if the man were white like me but if hes Punjab, marriage is not allowed. Why? What makes me less worthy to marry? Gobind Singh is who I have pledged as my teacher. His teachings I follow and traditions as well. Im beginning to think that maybe some Sikh men are hypocrites, especially those who carry the name Singh. Some of them dont feel “Everyone and everything under God is created equal” and they prove this by not allowing the heart to decide who they marry but instead the race of a woman or a man.
Hi Shea Kaur,
Being a Sikh convert at this time in history is very very hard and unfair. Judging by how most/many Sikhs act, not by how they are “suppose to act”, Sikhs do not wish Sikhi to go global. Rather they wish it to remain a Punjabi sect. One form this takes is not marrying “outsiders” and another is not including local languages into Gurdwara services. And even though the SGGS is being celebrated this year, I haven’t heard of anyone gifting Guruji with an accurate, nonChristian sounding, translation in English. Other religions leap to share their Holy Books with all beings, but not Sikhs.
Most Sikhs will not marry over caste and race lines. They should inform converts of this but they do not. It isn’t fair but that is the facts.
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa
Waheguru ji ki Fateh
You don’t say much about your circumstances other than you have changed you name legally. Probably people who have given you information based what they say on knowing you better and have an understanding of Panjabi culture.
If you are under 30 never married, and are morally pure, a marriage might be arranged by a third party with someone you have not yet met, or do not know well, who is seeking to immigrate. If you are widowed or a divorcee you might be able to approach a marriage broker yourself or be in a position to meet someone looking for immigration status. These are the realities. There are some successful cross cultural marriages, but statistically are much more in the US range of 50/50 failure rather than the Panjabi success rate of 2% failed marriage.
You would have to be very well known in the Panjabi community for your devout ways, and knowledge of Panjabi culture to be considered eligible as a spiritual marriage partner. Outside that, material considerations such as your income and citizen status are going to be looked at primarily as what you have to offer a potential marriage partner.
Punjabis have a set criteria when looking for potential matches, it just compounds the matter when cultural differences come into play. It may be nothing personal. Marriages are often arranged for family connections. Personal qualifications come second. For instance families who have contracted marriages have at the last moment substituted a sibling other than the one originally promised, because of age or educational factors.
From GURMIT SINGH:
Waheguru jee ka Khalsa Waheguru jee kee Fateh
Prior to the Birth of Guru Nanak Sahib in 1469, there was no Sikh. Then
majority in India was consisting of Hindus, Muslims, Budhists, Jains.
By virtue of Gurus’ teachings, within 200 years, Sikh Nation came into
existence and now we are at Fifth Place after Christians, Muslims,
Hindus, Budhists and Jews’ population is far less than Sikhs.
Having said so, we should not cry about white or black; Punjabi or
Western culture. In so far as any person obeys Guru Granth Sahib
as their Guru with devotion and humility and practice Sikh Way of
Life as explained in the Sikh Reht Maryada, no one will object to
marriages provided we understand Anand Sanskar (Lit. Joyful
Ceremonial: Sikh Matrimonial Conventions and Ceremony).
Please pass on a copy of The Code of Sikh Conduct and
Conventions, which could also be viewed on Internet.
Let us live in harmony and peace by following the basic tenets
of Sikh religion. thanks,
Gurmit Singh (Australia)
From HARJINDER SINGH:
Dear Kamalla Rose Kaur & Shea Kaur,
Vahiguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vahiguru Ji Ki Fateh
The Panjabi culture wins again ….
I must say that this is an extreme case of Panjabism, but nothing surprises me anymore.
My English Sikh friend Balwant Singh wanted to visit his local Gurdwara. It is one of these Gurdwara in an area where there only few Sikhs, and only one sevadar is on duty in the Gurdwara, so you have to ring the bell to be let in.
He rang the bell, the sevadar came to the door, took one look at Balwant Singh and refused him entry. Balwant Singh is a full Sikh with beard & turban, in bana and openly wearing kirpan ! This completely ignored, all that is noticed is the white face : he is not one of us !
The little ones here in Southall often ask me : are you a Christian ? I wear Guru’s uniform, and am a very visible Sikh, but all they see is the white face.
Gurmit Singh is on the right track : the definition of a Sikh does not mention who your father and mother are, it defines a Sikh by her/his faith, way of life, commitment.
Shea Kaur, I do not know you, but if you are on the path set out by the Guru Granth, you are a Sikh. These people of Sikh background that think in tribal terms are not Sikhs. You should refuse to marry anybody of that type, a Sikh (somebody who follows Guru’s way) should marry a Sikh (somebody who follows Guru’s way).
From LIVIA KAUR:
sat sri akal ji,
some men are always the problem everywhere in the world, some. lets not put all brown skin, lovely black eyes sikhs. what ever they are wonderfull people.
From RAM RAVI SINGH KHALSA
I don’t know where this comes from. But in my experience this is not the
case. I have seen cases where family members may want to stop a marriage as
they feel the person is not good enough for the person. But this is not
limited to only white and Indian and is mostly Indian and Indian.
At least to my knowledge from what I have seen in Australia the couple would
have no problem in getting married.
Ram Ravi Singh Khalsa
13 Oct 2008
Thanks for sikh respect
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