The COOP de LOVE – or Love Cooperative

menofquality.jpg

It was Halloween 2006 and the Irish witch rose up in me. I was bored with reading and participating in all male Sikh egroups, when suddenly my friend and forum moderated Harjinder Singh (husband of Satnam Kaur – the UK politician) up and asked me how to get more Sikh women to participate! Or at least it sounded as if he might well be asking!

So, with the help of his wife, Satnam Kaur, and soon other Sikh women, we SHOWED Harjinder Singh and our other Sikh brothers on three UK egroup forums how to attract Sikh women posters! We were very successful! I called it “The Coop de Love!” (like coup de love, and Love Cooperative combined) and I shared this Reality Play widely, especially among Religious Studies and Women Studies friends.

Did the forums manage to keep the women posting? No, sadly. Despite our clear instructions, we did not have great male participation – or so it seemed to me.

Tips To Help Men Be More Successful With Women
1. Don’t use silence as a weapon. Don’t ignore women posters. Don’t shun us.
2.Don’t talk about women in the third person when we are in the same room with you.
3. Don’t call women by affectionate titles (diminutives) if you aren’t calling fellow men by affectionate titles. If you call every Sikh man “Bhai”, then calling a woman “Bibi”, is appropriate,. Though frankly, I feel being “Bhai Kamalla Rose Kaur” has more clout than being a Bibi.
4. Ask more questions of women. Listen to women. Avoid lecturing women.
5. Take women’s lead.

In May 2007 I reran the Coop de Love on the forums and some good discussion happened, but we still failed to inspire the bulk of our Sikh brothers to practice activism and promote the many projects we Sikh women were wishing to promote.

Still I feel it was a wonderful success that, as well as being an extremely fun and delightful read, “The Coop de Love” proved once again that if we authentically wish something of others, we should first try simply asking nicely!

THE COOP de LOVE!
SIKH WOMEN TAKE OVER UK E-GROUPS
WITH HELP FROM SIKH MEN

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

“How can we have more Sikh women participating on all levels is a question to which I have no answer. There are some good and active Sikh women / girls in the UK, but most just do not feel confident to take part, or maybe are just not interested.” – Harjinder Singh/forum moderator

Hi Harjinder Singh,

Are you simply sharing or are you asking my advice? My advice, when men actually ask it, is to tell you to go ask women for advice on this subject and everything else. But you must sincerely be asking for our advice you understand.

I used to tell the editor at Sikhe.Com that though I understood that Sikhs don’t, as a rule, beg, that Sikh editors stuck with too many male writers should try it anyway. I was joking. Yet expect to have to work to achieve gender equality in these groups. Also multi-racial groups take effort to create. You must go INVITE people to participate. You must truthfully NEED them to participate and let them know you need them. Which you do, otherwise you don’t have gender equality in your forums.

I am blind copying this post to several articulate Sikh women (and some professors who may know interesting Sikh women university students and graduates) who might volunteer to help us fill these UK forums with interesting Sikh women – for a short spell at least? Just to see if Sikh women respond well to sincere invitations from humble Sikh brothers like you.

Again, my best advice to you is try begging…I mean, try sincerely ASKING Sikh women to participate. Then don’t forget to ask their advice on how to get more Sikh women to post.

Kamalla Rose Kaur

HARJINDER SINGH:

Dear Kamalla Rose Kaur,

Vahiguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vahiguru Ji Ki Fateh

There are women members of all three e-groups, but I would very much like to hear more from them. Many men, even those that are not very knowledgeable about Sikhí, do not hesitate to send their contributions.

Sikh women and girls should feel safe on the forums ! Of course people will disagree, and even disagree strongly, and some Sikh men will not contradict a man but will feel no such restraints when women are concerned. Do not let them intimidate you !

There are some excellent role models in Sikh history of women who fully took part in the panth. Sometimes I think that instead of going forward and becoming better followers of Guru’s teachings on equality, we are going backwards.

All Sikhs, male and female, young and old, ‘western’ Sikhs or ‘eastern’ Sikhs have a right and a duty to take part !

Hope to hear from you,

Gurfateh,

Harjinder Singh
Heston UK

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

“Sikh women and girls should feel safe on the forums ! Of course people will disagree, and even disagree strongly, and some Sikh men will not contradict a man but will feel no such restraints when women are concerned. Do not let them intimidate you !” – Harjinder Singh

Dear Harjinder Singh,

Usually and universally this approach is not going to work with women. Almost all men, including my own husband, use this strange approach. It leads women everywhere to conclude that it must be very hard for people with more testosterone and less estrogen to stop assuming you already know the answer, and stop throwing the “should” word at people. Sincerely, why do men do that? Women everywhere want to know!

Meanwhile, how many Sikh woman have you emailed or phoned to tell them that you NEED women to post? Have you asked them to post? Have you asked them why women don’t post? Do you KNOW that Sikh men intimidate them? I would be more likely to guess that Sikh men bore them myself, but then, truly, I DON’T KNOW.

However, I have received an email this morning from one professor who tells me s/he will be teaching a class on Sikhi in January and s/he will work to help us out here!

I saw a USA comic once share about being in “a testosterone recovery group”. He joked that the men had to sit around and repeat things like:

1. “I don’t know, what do you think?”
2. “I can’t fix that.”
3. “I am lost, let’s stop and ask for directions!”

No getting around it, my brother(s). If you want to know why Sikh women don’t post, you are going to have to ask them sincerely enough for them to feel deeply ASKED. Then you must listen to what they say, and act on it. No arguing with the sisters about what sisters feel or how we “should” feel.

Again, why do men DO that? All men seemingly! Men “should” stop that right now, it is vastly annoying! 🙂

Love and light to you Harjinder Singh and thanks for asking….or almost asking….you are a truly superior Brother!

Kamalla Rose Kaur

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

Dear Satnam Kaur,

Can we talk about this? May I ask you some questions?

When I scan what I want from a Sikh forum, what I desire is activism.

But I don’t enjoy battling about gender equality. I don’t live in a world where I have to tell men how to treat women as equals. I work hard to be around men who love and support women. Where are the Khalsa men who back the Khalsa Women’s Movement? Harjinder Singh is one such and X-Bhajanite men are devoted to supporting Sikh women. I love the freedom of expression and the love we siblings share at “The Wacko World of Yogi Bhajan” (http://forums.delphiforums.com/KamallaRose/start).

I wrote “Prem Ki Jit!” 7 years ago now, and I have been lobbying for the Sikh Women’s Agenda ever since, Yet I have not met a full Punj Piare of Sikh men of Punjabi descent working on the Sikh Women’s Agenda. Where are they?

Obviously I think the first step is to create a forum that has a team of men and women happily working together. This isn’t magic, it takes activism. We need to all go recruit a bunch of great women to come do some Sikh activism with us. We also need to recruit men who like to do activism with women. The debates over hair, the Dasam Granth, news from the Punjab, and so forth will continue – who can stop it?

That is what I am looking for. What are your thoughts and feelings? Is this the appropriate venue? What do you want from participation in Sikh internet forums?

Kamalla Rose Kaur

SATMAN KAUR:

Vahiguru ji ka Khalsa
Vahiguru ji ki Fateh

Dear Kamalla Rose Kaur

The truth is there are not many active Sikh women. Sikhi is fairly young and has a long way to go before it shines again. Women have to come forward and they will when they a bit more independence. In the UK the scene is changing but slowly.

You are right we have to ask women personally to make contributions on specific subjects.

The main problem is you come across brick walls and the head starts bleeding. We are going to have to keep at it. If you can talk to the women you know in your area and will speak to the women here perhaps we can empower them and talk Sikhi with them. We have applied for funding to run capacity building workshops and we have keep fit class on Fridays this is one of the ways to energergise women.

Lets give our selves target of one month and if we can encourage more women names on the egroups.

What suitable topics could we use? Perhaps some ladies could dig into the lives of the women Guru Amardas had sent out to “preach” and compile a paper. Another lady Bibi “Rope” known as Rope Kaur, the daughter of Guru Harrowing, she was a writer.

And hopefully our Sikh brothers will ask their mothers/sisters/daughters to do this research on behalf of the Sikh Nation, especially living in Panjab where the history was made.

There are many widows from Delhi 1984 riots who are fighting for justice lets see if we can do something for them with the help of Sikh women in India.

What do you think?

There is so much to do beside the gender war as you say!

Satnam Kaur

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

Thanks for the information SatNam Kaur. I think it is a good thing to start easy. I am eager to “prove” that we can attract Sikh women posters into these three UK forums – Sikh News Discussion, The Man In Blue Group, and the British Sikh Women organization forum, simply by WANTING them. Here on-line we can draw from the whole world of Sikh women

Personally I am as interested in who everyone is, where and how we all live, as I am in poltical discussion and debate.

When was the first time you ever made Prasad? Who taught you?
Any genuine humble Sikh Sants in your family? Anyone with the gift of the Naam?

I am hungry for Sikh stories myself. I am also interested in being educated without judgement or competition.

What a great idea to do research into historic Sikh heroines. Here are some thoughts I have on recruitment. Whacha think/feel?

1. Let’s continue to ask interesting Sikh women we know if they will to join our forums – because we really want them too. They need not stay but we need their advice and imput, please!

sikh_news_discussion-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

themaninbluediscussiongroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk

2. Also it is fun to comb the internet for interesting Sikh women writers and repost their articles to these sites. Let the authors know that we are discussing their writings and invite them to come visit us.

3. We can read books or share book reviews by Sikh women and see if the author will visit, or allow one of us to interview her.

4. Engage with the women university professors who are lurking in these groups. How can Sikh Studies professors help Sikh women and vice versa? Historical research of Sikh women for one thing.

5. Can we greet and welcome every new poster?

I intend to ask every Sikh woman I meet what would be her ideal Sikh forum experience, whether short term or long. What do women WANT to experience in internet community, and also in Gurdwara community?

Kamalla Rose Kaur

HARMANDER SINGH:

Dear Kamalla Rose Kaur,

Even though I may never attain the credentials to be considered for inclusion in the Panj Piare, women (Sikh or not) can count on my unfettered support for equality – it is so easy to tackle the male bigots for other men – if only they stood to be counted.

Harmander Singh
UK

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

Great to meet you Harmander Singh. Where are you from? Are you a Papa? Thanks for volunteering to help us out in our egroup women’s activism. We really appreciate it.

Kamalla Rose Kaur

HARMANDER SINGH:

Dear Kamalla Rose Kaur,

I am proud to be a British Sikh with immediate roots in Singapore but with unfortunate links to a country I try not to name – some people mistakenly think it is because I am against that country but that is not true.

I do not know what a Papa is other than a term of endearment to a father, in which case I am a father of four children – two of each, a grandfather to one (Diya Kaur).
together with another British Sikh (male) am the co-founder of Sikhs In England (SIE) which has a policy of only allowing a woman to be its Chair – until May this year it was Balvinder Kaur Saund JP, but upon her election to political office she was obliged to step down as SIE wishes to retain its apolitical status. The current (Interim) chair is Jasbir Kaur Panesar.

Regards

Harmander Singh

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

Again, great to meet you, Harmander Singh! You first made an impression on me when you noted that support of Sikh women splits the good guys from the bad guys. True Sikhs stand for the full human rights of all beings, including women, where Hindus and Muslims, and fake Sikhs etc. often do not.

Kamalla Rose Kaur

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Hi Harjinder Singh,

Am I threatening your power and upstaging you? (Insert evil cackle) I am the Alpha Dudette now and these forums will never be the same again.You have just lost to a bunch of silly, witchy women (group cackle cackle!!!!).

Which is to say, Happy Halloween! As you know I come from long line of Irish witches – redheads.

Hope we have caught your attention and we are tickling you with the idea that you might write a Man in Blue column about this experience!Obviously we are going to lose Sikh men who do not support the practice of gender equality yet, but with luck we will attract Sikh brothers who enjoy working with women as well as men. Ken claims that he prefers working with women. He thinks women are nicer and more fun.

Of course, as Sikhs, we are all soulbrides.

Even so, there is “chemistry” between the genders. Sikh men greeting women, welcoming us here, asking us questions and soliciting our advice is a breath-taking experience for women. It is an exotic and foreign experience, which tends to light us up and make us feel wonderful.

Women observe that men really enjoy this sort of treatment as well!

Question for men: Why aren’t men nicer to each other? What are men competing FOR? Obviously not for women because women avoid men who are fighting. Women have this big weakness. We almost universally HATE fighting, especially with men. Push come to shove, men can usually beat us up, so women avoid arguing with men and we tend to avoid men who argue.

Thanks for being!

Kamalla Rose Kaur

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

Inderjit Kaur,

I notice that you are copying some of my posts into another forum. You are secretary of women’s affairs there? Can you tell me a little about that and about yourself? Why do you think so few women participate on these forums? What are you personally looking for in your ideal Sikh forum experience?

How can we increase the number of Sikh women participants?

Kamalla Rose Kaur

INDERJIT KAUR

Kamalla Rose Kaur:

Yes, have been forwarding your important messages in our egroup, in which I work as secretary and look after its women affairs, besides other assigned duties, such as, these days, I am Project Co-ordinator of the ‘Clean Budda Nullah’ (a dirty drain passing through Ludhiana).

As a woman activist, I would like to say that we can use, nay, put into service this group for pleading and promoting the cause of women, respective of caste and creed. Now I am 37, doing my law decree (final year) along with Master Diploma in Human Rights, alongside. I am based in Ludhiana, Punjab, India.

You are right, very few women, especially Sikh, work in these types of groups (except for jobs). I think the problem is with women, not with the work or with the other gender. We need to know this and uplift ourselves to that level, I mean the level of man responsible, so as to advance the cause of humanity or thence of the women folk.

Let us start so that others may follow us should be the theme of our efforts. Number will increase with the grace almighty Waheguru.

Friendly yours,
Inderjit Kaur

SURINDERJIT KAUR:

Satnam Kaur and Kamala Rose Kaur,

Wahiguru ji ka Khalsa,
Wahiguru ji ki Fateh.

That is what I am advocating for. But not much support from sangat
especially males. There are a few hard working women who stand with me, but
don’t say much. Women work so hard (doing seva) at gurudwaras, but when it
comes to decision making, they are hardly ever asked. And if they try to say
something, mostly they are ignored. I will keep on speaking up for the
betterment of our religious places. My heart cries when guru maryada is not
followed. I can’t keep quiet anymore. God will give us courage to move
forward.

Guru Fateh, Surinderjit Kaur

GURPREET KAUR:

Dear Kamalla:

I dont know about Inderjeet but I have been a very silent spectator for long…I am looking for self discovery, I think I dont know enough and hence may seem foolish in the eyes of other more knowledgable sikhs around.

Gurpreet

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

Blessing Gurpreet!

I feel the same way – except I have a big mouth, of course. So what kind of forum would you want to participate in? I understand that it wouldn’t be so competitive and judgemental. What else?

Kamalla Rose Kaur

GURUZ:

It is thought of this one that to be free of gender bias means also to have no focus on gender of one posting. Male or female is fine – why to make a big deal of ones gender? Guru has given kaur and singh to elevate status. We should be confident in this.

guruz

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Gur Ji Ki Fateh

Greetings guruz,

Sure, some women write like men and some men write like women, and who cares anyway. I enjoy people who manage to write in a way that readers can’t tell what gender they are – though I admit that I actually prefer it when folks share more fully about themselves.

I’m not sure why Sikh men (and maybe a couple of Sikh women who are passing as Sikh men) seem to dominate these forums but, soon as balance is established, then gender is no longer a big issue anymore.

Again fighting over gender equality is depressing, annoying and stupid for me. I try to avoid hanging out in places where it is an issue. How about you?

If Sikh women had more confidence of the kind you describe, how would that effect Sikh forum sangat? How about if Sikh men had more of the confidence you speak about? How would that effect them?

What are you personally wanting from participation in Sikh internet forums?

Kamalla Rose Kaur

GURUCHARAN SINGH:

Shabaash, If one will recall, I have said this long long time ago.Women must step into their rightful place themselves.They must assert their rightful demands.
No one is going to offer that on a platter, not even in thsi modern age religion of Sikhism.

-Gurcharan Singh kuliM

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

Hello Gurucharan Singh,

I have much higher faith in True Sikh men. I actually believe that Sikh men will help Sikh women. We have 6 women posters already, in no time, just by asking – and raging men aren’t loudly protesting. No one is saying Sikh women should not participate here. On the contrary, you and Harjinder Singh have come out strongly, advising women to get in here and fight for our rights.

But, so far, no fight is needed!

Rather, we are all witnessing that when Sikh men ASK (or at least communicate that you would like to ask -if only asking for help from women weren’t so strangely difficult for human males on this planet…), then Sikh women are happy to help.

I assume in faith that when Sikh women ask Sikh men for help, Sikh men will do the right thing too.

REALITY CHECK: I am a theater director and when I am producing a show, I make sure we understand our roles in case of emergencies. We imagine various possible situations, and we have a plan, and we define the needed roles, in case of fire, or a sniper, or a heart attack or accident etc.

I ask for volunteers for each role.

But if a 4’11”, 100lb person wants the role of “bouncer” then s/he will have to prove to me that s/he can throw someone twice as big out of the building. However, even if s/he can prove this, a little person might not be intimidating enough to scare a wild-eyed, drug crazed, intruder.The “insurgent” might feel over-confident, attack and win.

Conclusion, we want a BIG HEAVY MAN, as a bouncer. I’ll call the cops, while Mucho Macho Singh asks the armed maniac politely to leave. Teamwork, aka True Sangat, is bliss.

The same applies here..

Many women visiting us, on our invitation, may not wish to hang out with some of the men who post in these places. Men who would attack women’s right to be here are “icky” and “creepzoid” to many of us. I don’t go to bars, or explore alleys downtown at night for the same reasons. I am not afraid. Rather I am picky about the company I keep.

Therefore I would like to ask you and Harjinder Singh and Harmander Singh, and all the other men here who WANT women to post, to handle any angry men on the attack. Will you debate them for us? Will you do that?

Women here are expressing our dislike of gender debating and we wish to not engage in it. Will you help us as the need arises?

Kamalla Rose Kaur

GURUCHARAN SINGH:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji ki fateh

Neither is there a need to fight.The Guru ji has already fought fought over this issue centuries ago,and issued clear guidelines about womens rights,there is a need for women to claim that rights.Not CREATE A FIGHT.That would make women No better than the macho anti women individuals we have.I dont even believe there is a antii women brigade, it is the ignorance of the faith like many other issues, and the cultural role conflicts that has made these individuals to think like the very macho men you are seeking ! –
Gurcharan Singh Kulim

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Hi Gurcharan Singh Kulim,

Yes, you are correct. We are proving right here that all we need to do is simply ask Sikh women and they are happy to post here and happy to share why they usually don’t post.

And again, it turns out that one reason Sikh women don’t post, seemingly, is that we do not wish to work in environments where we are likely to be attacked. We wish to be welcomed and contribute same as everyone else. We do not wish to CREATE A FIGHT, as you so elegantly put it.

But I don’t understand what you are saying about “the anti women brigade” being like the “macho men you are seeking”. Members of the “anti-women brigade” are not out to impress women nor are they attractive to decent Sikh women. They are not hero figures for women. They wish to impress men.

Meanwhile True Sikhs we are all soulbrides. So next time Khalsa women wish to do Seva at Darbar Sahib, why not have the biggest and strongest soulbrides, as many of them as possible, politely holding the peace for the physically smaller soulbrides? Afterall the “anti-women brigade” do not care about women. They have already shown that they will physically attack women who dare do Seva at Darbar Sahib. They don’t listen to women. They wish to be “macho” so they can impress men, not women.

All activism is best accomplished when men and women work together. Teamwork and all that! I understand, however, that you may personally not wish to debate gender rights either and that is perfectly fine. .

So what role would you like to play in helping Sikh women know they are welcome here? Would you be willing to invite some of your women friends here so we can enjoy their imput and participation too?

Kamalla Rose Kaur

HARJINDER SINGH:

Dear Kamalla Rose Kaur, Dear All,

Vahiguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vahiguru Ji Ki Fateh

I am running behind in this debate, and as I have been quite busy recently, and am going to be even more busy in the next two weeks (and then away for 8 days to Belgium and the Netherlands), I am not even going to try to catch up.

Prem Ki Jit ! Indeed, or as the Beatles sang way-back-when : love is all you need !

So let us not fall into the trap that some of the women activists in the past (understandably) fell into to : Men are the not the enemies. Just like women are my mothers, aunties, sisters, daughters (and one of you is my wife), we are your fathers, uncles, brothers and sons (and I am the husband of one of you).

Men are as much the victim of a society where they only get power when they have already one foot on the grave. We want to ’empower’ all, the youngsters, the young adults, the middle aged, and those with grey hair and wrinkles (like me), to be fully part of the panth.

With us it should not be that one decides for all, and also not that 51% decides for 49%. We should be selected as members of the panj piaré not because we are men or women, because we are young or old, but because we are people who are seriously on Guru’s path.

Last night we were at a small function where people on various stages of the Guru’s path, and of different ethnicity enjoyed doing kirtan together. No paid for ‘jathas’ from a far away country, and full audience participation. Some who took the lead in the kirtan were accomplished kirtanís, and some did kirtan on a more simple level, but all were doing kirtan from the heart.

Women did kirtan, women did the ardas, women read the vaak and men did all these things too. Not a pardhan in sight, and the only Baba-Ji present was the eternal Guru.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and in spite of the fact that London Transport made our journey home twice as long as is normal, we came home in a very relaxed and happy mood. Being a Sikh makes you happy, puts a smile on your face !

Gurfateh,

Harjinder Singh
Old Man in Blue with Grey Beard
Heston UK

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

<<With us it should not be that one decides for all, and also not that 51% decides for 49%. We should be selected as members of the panj piaré not because we are men or women, because we are young or old, but because we are people who are seriously on Guru’s path.-Harjinder Singh>>

Dear Harjinder Singh,

Yes, of course you are right, and I know I agree with you…and actually, you know I agree with you too. I imagine all the women here agree with you, and I imagine that you know that all the women here agree with you too.

You are running behind so you wouldn’t know but everything is going fine. We are attracting women posters, simply by asking them here, which I know pleases you.

And you know I am praying you will express your welcome to each of our visiting women as soon as you return.

Our only very very minor problem, so far, is that even when asked to refrain, Sikh men posters still seem to want to lecture women instead of actually inviting Sikh women over here and asking our opinions on how to increase Sikh women’s particpation in egroups.

Amused and frustrated by this, I asked Ken, and other non-Sikh men friends, “Why do men appear to need to lecture women instead of asking for our help when you need it?”

“Because men are stupid.”
“Men don’t listen to WOMEN, are you nuts?”
“There, there, Kamalla, don’t worry your little head, next life you might be lucky and reincarnate a man so you can lecture everyone you meet too!”
“Surely you overreact, not ALL men have a problem with lecturing women. Why do women generalize so much? You should….blah blah blah.”

Then I asked various non-Sikh women friends, “Why do men appear to need to lecture women instead of asking for our help?”

“I have no idea! Why do they DO that?”
“They care about power more than being attractive? Or…? Hmm….you know, I really don’t have a clue.”
“They are egotists and psychic rapists. They don’t ask because they don’t wish to know what we think or feel.”

Any ideas here? I know many Sikh men here really WANT gender equality within Sikhi and Sikh institutions. Why do men appear to need to lecture women instead of asking for our help and suggestions?

Is it possible for men to refrain from telling women what you think we should do, and how you believe we should think, long enough for us to attract women posters here?”

I am wondering if posing this issue as a competition might work? First man here to actively show that he is interested in what women think and feel about the issue of women’s participation on Sikh egroups, and resists telling women how we “should” behave, gets a big cyber hug and kiss from Sikh sisters, and fawned over for a week?

What does everyone feel and think about this issue?

Kamalla Rose Kaur

HARJINDER SINGH:

Dear Kamalla Rose Kaur,

Vahiguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vahiguru Ji Ki Fateh

Being from some kind of Presbyterian background I follow the old tradition of lecturing to everyone, including the Jathedar in Amritsar, the pardhans of the Gurdwaré, and so on and so forth. That I am afraid includes lecturing to women. Nasty habit I know …

Gurfateh,

Harjinder Singh

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

<<That I am afraid includes lecturing to women. Nasty habit I know …Harjinder Singh>>

Dear Harjinder Singh,

You are forgiven! Not that you asked to be forgiven, but “apologizing” is WAY advanced and beyond my needs or expectations from men at this time in history. I bet other women feel the same. Easily admitting error and reforming is so very very appreciated. Thank you. You are great, a humble GurSikh.

I also observe that you are a natural born scholar and yes, a good lecturer too. Public speaking and writing are needful skills for Sikhs. That feels like an understatement.

That said, it is good to remember that there have been many studies showing that humans learn better in experiencial and participatory classrooms. Lecturing doesn’t work as well as other approaches. And activism needs teamwork. So team building skills are extremely important too.

I am going to stop posting for a spell and see if women arrive here and if anyone talks to them.

Love and light to you,

Kamalla Rose Kaur

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

Dear Sikh Sisters,

When I was a 13-year-old “flowerchild”, back during the USA 60s Rebellion, protesting the war in Vietnam and the military-industrial-complex, the great guitar player and rock star Eric Clapton came out with the song “Bell Bottom Blues” and my little heart burst open. It was as if all men everywhere were singing to all women everywhere.

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it
Because I don’t want to fade away.
Give me one more day, please.
I don’t want to fade away.
In your heart I want to stay.

Just recently, I am now age 51, Ken played this old old song one evening and I burst into giggles because the song is so OTT (over the top!) and I realized that back when I was 13, I answered, “YES! YES! YES!” to every question!

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you? (YES! O Please! YES!)

Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back? (ABSOLUTELY! YES! YES! Thanks ERIC! Thanks so much for ASKING! YES!)

Now as a grown woman, I notice that Eric Clapton didn’t actually apologize. He just asked if I wanted him to.

“uh…don’t bother, my brother. I don’t NEED you to bloody your knees for me, truly. Or (gasp) actually apologize or act mushy or vulnerable in public. But, hey, Eric. Thanks so much for asking. I really appreciate it.”

Here is what Guruji just told me when I asked, “Guruji talk to women about men” :

Page 161:

The sinner is unfaithful to himself; he is ignorant, with shallow understanding. He does not know the essence of all, the One who gave him body, soul and peace. For the sake of personal profit and Maya, he goes out, searching in the ten directions. He does not enshrine the Generous God, the Great Giver, in his mind, even for an instant. Greed, falsehood, corruption and emotional attachment – these are what he collects within his mind. The worst perverts, thieves and slanderers – he passes his time with them.

But if it pleases You, then You forgive the counterfeit along with the genuine. O Nanak, if it pleases the Supreme God, then even a stone will float on water.

But if it pleases You, then You forgive the counterfeit along with the genuine. O Nanak, if it pleases the Supreme God, then even a stone will float on water. (YES! O Please, YES!)

Keep the Faith!
Kamalla Rose Kaur

HARMANDER SINGH:

I do not want a cyber or any other kiss/hug etc, from anyone – man or woman. I do not have problem being led by a woman , seeing the men who think they have led Sikhs (in my lifetime ) have made such a mess of it.

KAMALLA ROSE KAUR:

<<I do not want a cyber or any other kiss/hug etc, from anyone – man or woman – Harmander Singh.>>

Dear Harmander Singh,

I am SO sorry. It is too late. These things happen so spontaneously…forgive us if we overstepped.But, you DID win.

Admit it, healthy hugs are gooooood.

However, my dearest brother, PLEASE, can you refrain from telling women how we should feel? We Can Fawn Over Anyone We Want Thank You Very Much!

I mean it. Thank you very much.

<<I do not have problem being led by a woman , seeing the men who think they have led Sikhs (in my lifetime ) have made such a mess of it.- Harmander Singh>>

How about we all just be the most creative humble artists and scientists we can be? All at once! We will deal with conflicts as they arise; if they arise.

However, here is a review of requests:

1. Ask Sikh women to come post here, and ask Sikh women to tell us what women want from cyber and also Gurdwara Sangat.

2. Please men, ask questions and listen to women for a spell. Please do not lecture or presume you know what women think or feel, or how we should behave.

Personally, I am not worried about men who actively attack women arriving here. It is absurd to me that I would have to ASK Sikh men to defend women (or children) against attack and oppression. What is the Khalsa Knighthood FOR? Hello?Beyond that Harjinder Singh moderates against personal attack, slander and libel.

That said, I DO ask True Sikh men here to teach other men how to work with women. If male-bashing is needful, that is men’s department. Sikh women here are requesting this, I perceive

Bloody knees and romantic gallantry are not required, nor are public apologies. And PLEASE, forget about any grand displays where GurSikh men beg GurSikh women for forgiveness for how you have embarrassed us in public. Many may feel Sikh women deserve this, but we would like to drop this whole matter and move on. Lets us put Sikhi first!

HARMANDER SINGH:

Dear Kamalla Rose Kaur,

Please don’t stop posting, it will mean the anti-women brigade will come out from under the rocks again and start posting their rubbish.

up the (women’s) revolution

Harmander Singh
UK

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6 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Kamalla Rose Kaur's Writings, Multicultural, Sikh Women's Movement, Sikhi

6 responses to “The COOP de LOVE – or Love Cooperative

  1. Doris Jakobsh

    Dear Kamalla.

    Though this doesn’t really fit into this present thread, I wanted to share an experience I had recently. A week ago I was in Delhi and heard of a family that had been hosting kirtan in their home for 28 years or so on a weekly basis. I was put in touch with the group and asked if I could join them. The majority of the people there were older, but there were some youngish folks too. Though an absolute outsider, I was welcomed with open arms, arms that I most gratefully accepted.

    After kirtan, some readings from Bhai Vir Singh’s writings, Ardas, prashad shared, the group sat down to a simple, delicious langar. The high point for me was when, out of the blue, a woman began leading the singing – hauntingly beautiful, her voice captivated and moved me to tears.

    What I loved most about all of this is that it has been taking place for nearly 3 decades – sometimes led by women, sometimes by men. The movement between them was flawless. Beautiful.

    So, perhaps it was this, after reading your posts, that made me think of this story. You’re right – women’s equality h’ain’t going to happen without men. We know this as feminists within our own families and personal lives. Its the guys that don’t see washing the dishes, or cleaning the bathroom, as a ‘favour’ to their wives and partner, but simply as a job that needs doing that ‘get’ what all of this is about. Its the men that need to realize that for Sikhi to shine, women need to be supported as leaders, as mentors to young people, as giving voice to their own needs, not simply listening to the male perspective of what women need. It is the same within all traditions, not just Sikhism (in case your readers want to know, I’m from a Christian background and have been fighting the same battle for years within my own tradition).

    I’m guessing you’re stepping on a lot of toes here – bravo to the men and women joining in. I wish you loads of success.

    There’s a website I have recently come across that is doing some interesting work – check it out.

    http://www.projectnaad.com/

    They have a new ‘get involved’ scheme that you might be able to collaborate/work with.

    Blessings,

    Doris Jakobsh

  2. kamallarosekaur

    Thanks so much Dr. Doris!

    Assuming that men make up half the population, and women make up half – then for women’s rights to happen, women must gain male allies to break the tie. Men who support and promote women’s rights are beloveds of the Beloved One.

  3. Gurmit Singh

    I fully agree with both of you.

    In the past, due to insecurity and having no modern like facilities, ladies were tied up with domestic duties whereas gents out of door as earning members but still household life was going on well.

    Now both are educated, one can move freely, can get employment. Hence there is a dire need to change our outlook as well. Husband and wife and grown up children should share household duties depending upon time and nature of duty.

    Of course, exceptions are always there when lady
    being more educated or earning more, she tries to dominate and vice versa. This should also stop and at the same time, Ladies should also take part in
    religious and other social activities. As coming from villages, they don’t play much active part and as such it is of no use to blame anyone though adjustment is call of the day. Thanks,

  4. kamallarosekaur

    Thanks so much, Gurmit Singh, for your kind wisdom and vote of confidence in Sikh sisters, and sisters everywhere.

    I think there are all sorts of wonderful small gatherings of Sikhs where, like Dr. Doris experienced, men and women participate fully and equally together. But they aren’t getting written about. I pray readers will report here other Sikh sangats where women leaders are working side by side with men; in the present times.

    I was raised Unitarian Universalist, with feminist Papa, feminist Mama, feminist Grandma and regionally renowned Greatgrandmother, a women they called simply “Doc”. It is in my Blood. Women’s Rights Activism is a family tradition. My Papa cooked, cleaned, shopped and sewed, and did half or more of the childcare, as well as being a devoted university professor.

    I remember the day my Mom, a teacher, started to wear slacks to school and absolutely refused to wear a skirt, nylons and pumps.

    “I am outside with the children and they keep me active. It is cold and pants are elegant and proper attire. We must be good role models.” She told them and she kept wearing slacks and attractive, but sensible, shoes.

    Other women teachers joined Mom in her activism, her “civil disobedience” – because she was right.

    The women won. The Bellingham School Board changed the dress code.

    Thus I feel very blessed and grateful to all the social justice activists that have gone before us. I am blessed to have wonderful men in my life who like me and like working with me. Wonderful sisters too.

    And I have a deep shared love with every Sikh who loves the Sikh scripture.

  5. Gurmeet Kaur

    Gurfateh to all members here in this forum

    Thanks to Gurmit uncle ji who sent me this e mail and website. I was very impressed by all the comments because many match with my experiences of working with sikh men some who are in favour of women and some against women’s rights.

    I personally have very good experiences of working with sikh men at the sikh youth camps in Sydney. Myself and my husband Gurpreet take active part in the camps. Our kids, son 19 and daughter 15 have been going to these camps since it started in 1998. Sikh men welcome my opinion, disagree to my opinion respectfully with reason, do not take their own decision if I am involved in any project, let me take risk and still support me if I fail, giving genuine reason if I am really wrong and so on. This is all positive about sikh men.

    There are other group of sikh men who do not take into account, their own wives opinion, what to talk of other women. They like lecturing what women should do and should not do, ignore women’s opinion like a child’s opinion, take own decisions even if it is my ( because I am a women ) project, not trusting women because my husband is also involved in the same project. We ( me and my husband’s decision because it was last minute thing ) nominated an old women for some community service award in our area. Till today, we both and that women is hesitant to be awarded in the Gurudwara also so that the sangat knows about it openly. And that everyone can appreciate and congratulate about her efforts in the sikh community.

    Anyway, I think I have said enough. Next time I will write more.

    Thanks to Kamallrose Kaur and Inderjit Kaur and other people fighting for women’s rights.

    Regards

    Gurmeet Kaur

  6. kamallarosekaur

    Dear Gurmeet Kaur,

    Thank you for a good News and also for the bad. It is so great to have you here. Please post everywhere.

    I notice that quiet women are very wise, don’t you? I am not a quiet woman myself. Not my personality this life, but I seek out the counsel and opinions of quiet women and also quiet men. I want them to feel safe to speak out and be counted and heard. Children too need to be listened to and we should act on their best advice to us. “Keep the company of the humble.” as Guruji says.

    I shared “The COOP de Love” in real time (strange concept that…real time…?) with a few nonSikh friends and Religious Studies professors. In response a couple nonSikh brothers (May 06) asked me to post the following video with their thanks and gratitude to women of the Khalsa; past, and present:

    Wind Beneath My Wings

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