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Changing my last name to Kaur...

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Harkiran Kaur, May 15, 2013.

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  1. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I am just wondering what if any are requirements for changing my last name to Kaur? Do I require to do Amrit before I can? After all, those born into the Sikh faith already have that as their last name (or Singh for boys) without needing to do Amrit prior to.

    I have reached the point where I know deep within my heart that this is my path. I do plan to do Amrit but not for a couple of years. I just feel like I should be a 'Kaur'. But how would people perceive me if I did? Would that be seen as pretentious? Would Punjabi Sikhs see Amrit as a requirement before I could change my name (kind of as 'proof' to them that I am serious)?

    I am drawing on a post on here awhile back where it was mentioned that certain things like anand Karaj in a Gurdwara would be barred for someone who was not Punjabi, or didn't have the last name 'Kaur' or 'Singh' ---- I am not trying to reference Anand Karaj specifically but to the attitude to non Punjabi Sikhs in general, but would changing my name make me somehow seen as more Sikh to those who share those viewpoints? Or would it maybe be off-putting to Punjabi Sikhs who might see me as a 'wannabe' or something?

    For the record, I am very serious about Sikhi.... I do naam simran, listen to nitnem every day (and read along... because I don't know Gurmukhi or Punjabi yet). I try to do seva whenever possible, try to give to charities, and see everyone in the world as ONE. I get a feeling when in the Gurdwara that I never got anywhere before. And I have been going regularly for a year now... nearly every week (and sometimes more often if there is samagam, vaisakhi program, diwali etc) And I just feel a longing to be a 'Kaur' instead of a 'McDonald' which doesn't really feel like 'me' anymore. I can't explain it... I actually feel more Kaur than McDonald (which is my real last name btw).

    Just wondering your thoughts on this...

    I hope the subject has not been broached before... I did do a search admin ji... nothing came up so if there is, I apologize wholeheartedly.
     
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  3. Ishna

    Ishna
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    Uhoh, you're a McDonald and I'm a Campbell! *chases you with an axe* :p

    I admire your sensitivity and the thought you're putting into your life choices with relation to Sikhi and those around you.

    However, if my time so far has taught me anything, it's this (and yes I do need to take my own advice more): No matter what you do, you can't please everybody. There will be Sikhs who'll support you with it (I'd like to say the majority), Sikhs who hate you for it, "Sikhs" who believe you'll never qualify as a Sikh, Sikhs who don't care, and Sikhs who feel intimidated by your uptake of the name. There are plenty of non-Sikhs with the last name Singh and Kaur. There are women with the name Singh and men with the name Kaur. There are Sikhs with their caste name appended after Singh or Kaur. There are gorian with their surname prefixing Singh or Kaur. There is so much variety that honestly, bhenji, the only person you need to consult on this is yourself.

    For my personal opinion, I'm saving Kaur for if and when someday I'm blessed to receive amrit sanchar. But that's just my preference.

    I say, do it!!
     
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  4. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Ut Oh the McDonald / Campbell thing LOL.

    Thanks Ishna Ji! I was going to wait until I do Amrit... but I just don't feel like a McDonald anymore. It doesn't even resonate as part of my identity anymore. I just feel like a Kaur...

    Of course I'd like to do both at the same time, and maybe I will hold out and do both when I go to India later this year. But I still need confirmation on whether covering head is necessary 100% of the time for women after taking Amrit. As far as the Rehet goes, it only says that turbans are necessary for men, and optional for women. But it does not address head covering outside the Gurdwara for Amritdhari women. And thats really the only barrier to me doing Amrit now (because of my career a chunni 100% of the time would be not possible for safety reasons etc.)

    I also think that since life is unpredictable, and none of us know how long we each have here... I just don't want to put things off for the future and then regret that they were never realized. It's easy to say that I will do something down the road... in the future, but none of us are even guaranteed that future. So I feel like I should do both now... in the present. But it's really the head covering issue that is my only barrier. If head covering is not required all the time outside of the Gurdwara for Amritdhari women... then I could do both when I go to India in the Fall. Amrit and change my name...
     
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  5. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Akasha ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    My first thought is- Bravo!

    I love your devotion, dedication and love for Sikhi. It must have brought you some good within for you to have this kind of feeling where you want this metamorphosis to be open for all to see and for you to savour.

    In fact your naming yourself Kaur means a lot more to Sikhi that dwells within you than to many of the Kaurs and Singhs who have been handed this on a platter.

    This is a big decision unlike for those ladies who get married and change their last names to their spouses', hyphenated or not. And when they get divorced, they erase that from all the papers. If they happen to get married again, the same continues in the similar fashion.

    This is not your case of changing it to Kaur. You must think it through. How would the rest of the McDonald clan feel about it? By doing this, you are not marrying anyone but divorcing your "roots" perhaps in their mind.

    Would you be shunned, respected, or it matters not to your aunt whom you only see at Christmas when she comes to know that you are a Kaur now and she does not get it why?

    You do not have to worry about the Sikhs in my opinion. Most of the Sikhi dwellers will welcome you and applaud your courage with a tinge of envy. The reason being that many Singhs and Kaurs do not behave the way their name demands from them. They do not live their lives in the manner they should, rather to the contrary and that includes many who are Amritdharis.

    In my opinion, one does not have to be Amrtidhari to have a name Kaur or Singh. An "outsider' who has come to Sikhi because s/he has found something that has made her/him better as a person should have the same right of those who are born in Sikh families and carry the name without taking Khandei di pahul.

    Yes, there are some in our "Sikhidom" who may feel uneasy about that what I personally find nothing wrong with. In another Sikh Forum I used to visit, I used to use my first name and got scolded many times for not using Singh in the forum and via personal messages. I am known as Teji Malik to the world.

    Now, I will give you my 2 cent worth. First, live Sikhi in your mind and heart without worrying about changing your name. If you still feel the inner urge which will not stop, then the day you decide to change it, check out the Hukamnaama of the day from Harmander Sahib. Use the first letter as your first name with Kaur as your last and voila.

    If you ask the Gurdwara management for the same, they will demand you to take Khandei de pahul first which is unfair in my opinion. You may also ask some 'Aunties' you know in the Gurdwara and they may be willing to do the same at their home if they have Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and may love to do it.

    The next step is to change it legally as you yourself mentioned that you feel more a Kaur than a McDonald. But all this is for you to feel free not to get shackled within.

    It may be a small step for the world but a giant one for yourself. For this reason, live your Sikhi life giantly without worrying about the name. Allow the waves of Sikhi ocean mold you enough so this becomes your second nature.

    I apologise for the long post.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  6. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Akasha ji,

    Head covering is not mandatory after taking Khandei di pahul unless you happen to take it under the umbrella of AKJ, Taksal/s or any other cults.
     
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  7. Ishna

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    I never realised this until today when I read the relevant sections of the SRM for the 50 millionth time. That's what my previous deleted post was about. :O
     
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  8. Ajuni

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    Is there anything mentioned in the SGGS about it? Something that you can back yourself up with if anyone does start to argue with you other than unified unconditional love for one another. :)
     
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  9. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Thanks so much Tejwant Singh Ji! Very informative.... yes, I realize it's a huge step but as I said, I just don't feel like the old me anymore. My family would never have an issue with it... they all know I chose to be Sikh and support me. Some have even come to the Gurdwara with me on special occasions!

    If head covering is not required all the time (for women) then I may do Amrit AND change my name when I go to India later this year. Of course if I do Amrit over there, I will need to figure out the logistics of flying back having a kirpan... but that's a whole other issue!
     
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  10. Rory

    Rory
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    Hey Akasha, I want to say you're really an inspiration to me and it's really nice that you regularly post on here, you seem to be really making progression and you should be proud of yourself. You seem so sincere and focused :)

    This shouldn't even come into your mind.
     
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  11. Ishna

    Ishna
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    My friend from South America went to Harmandir Sahib for amrit sanchar and although lovely as it was she has no idea what the Panj Pyare told her during the ceremony as it was entirely in Panjabi. Just something to keep in mind... I assume they say what's in the SRM under the amrit sanchar section but you can never be sure unless you know what's actually being said.
     
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  12. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1. Transportation Security Administration regulations affecting US airlines

    YES - if it conforms to size requirements

    http://sikhism.about.com/b/2013/04/23/are-kirpans-ok-when-flying-new-tsa-regulations.htm

    2. Kirpan Accomodations - Canadian air travel

    NO

    as of 2011 Page 3, Bullet point 3

    http://unitedsikhs.org/docs/BackgrounderKirpaninCanada.docx.pdf

    "In the case of air travel, the Canadian Human Rights Commission decided in 1999 that a demand to wear the kirpan on airplanes did not constitute a reasonable accommodation. Canada remains aligned with international standards that impose a strict prohibition against all sharp objects, including the kirpan, regardless of a person’s religion. In a post 9/11 world where air security is of the utmost concern and individuals are willingly complying with regulations they would no necessarily agree to on a day-to-day basis (i.e.hand pat-downs and body scanners), this is one area where Canadian Sikhs have made a concession."

    3. Air India effective 2006 & international air travel on Indian airlines in general

    Yes on Domestic Flights NO on International Flights

    Note Indian Airlines conform with the Chicago Convention. As of 2011 this notice was still in effect in accordance with the Bureau of Civil Aviation, Security Government of India, vide Circular 18/2006 dated 29 Sept. 2006.

    http://www.airindia.com/SBCMS/Webpages/International---Hand-Baggage.aspx?MID=27#
    CARRIAGE OF ‘KIRPAN’ BY SIKH PASSENGERS WHILE TRAVELLING BY AIR
    Also http://www.bcasindia.nic.in/link1travel.html

    " A ‘Kirpan’ with a total maximum length of 9 inches (22.86 cms.), but a blade not exceeding 06 (six) inches (15.24 cms.), is permitted for carriage by a Sikh Passenger on his person, within India or on an Indian Registered aircraft on Domestic routes of fully Domestic Flights within India, subject to the requirement of a Public Order. (BCAS Circular 14/2005).
    Carriage of ‘Kirpan’ shall not be permitted in the cabin of an aircraft on an International Flight, either on the domestic or international sector flown by the passenger.
    If the ‘Kirpan’ is more than the length specified above, it shall be carried by the passenger in his registered baggage. "

    Some have reported on other web sites that they tucked the kirpan into a turban and got through the metal detector. This was reported a few years back. Whether that would work today with enhanced screening devices is an open question.

    Always a good idea to check with your airline before traveling to ascertain any changes or updates in regulations.
     
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    #11 spnadmin, May 16, 2013
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  13. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    GO FOR IT. No need to ask anybody....and no need to engage in nay arguments with anybody..its YOUR RIGHT.period. Everything has already been said most eloquently by Tejwant ji, ishna Ji, Spnadmin Ji..and others. Keep in Mind the LEGAL aspects though..ALL your documents will also change..and some are pretty messy...Regards and welcome aboard...:blueturban:
     
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  14. Rory

    Rory
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    I think Gyani-ji is right, this decision is between you and Guruji, if you don't see it that way then maybe you should postpone. I think you should bear in mind when making this decision and others like it, that no Sikh has authority over you whatsoever. From what I know, most people who call themselves "Sikhs" aren't anything close to true Sikhs and are a long ways off from becoming one. And even a true Sikh still has no say over what you do, their opinion shouldn't matter in the slightest because they are still a fallible person.

    But aside from what people will think, if you're asking about any official requirements for changing your name to Kaur, it seems that it is generally something left until taking of Amrit but you can take the name whenever you like. It's not "Amritdhari-only".

    If you feel you are ready to take that step and make that commitment I personally think you should go for it :) Don't let the opinions of others even cross your mind, but again consider if it is something that you would feel prouder about and appreciate more if you left it until Amrit.

    Sat shri Akal
     
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  15. chazSingh

    chazSingh United Kingdom
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    what a great post.
    you know when they say "if something truely comes from the heart, it will pierce the heart of another"... i have to say it's true :)

    what you have grasped is the true meaning of the word Kaur...something which many of the 'singhs' and 'kaurs' fail to understand or comprehend (including myself).
    For that..it doesnt matter whether you label yourself on the outside...in ego existance with it or not...you have already connected its meaning and purpose to you 'inner' existance.

    your efforts in Naam simran, Seva, Charity make you a true kaur...and your inner guru is taking a million steps towards you for these efforts :)

    sometimes when i try to make a decision about something, if my mind is asking or worrying about too many things...i sometimes take that as a 'i'm not quite ready for it yet' ... but i continue with my simran, seva, etc ... and then one day i'll wake up and everything just feels right, and the decision is made for me.

    Then all these thoughts and worries about what others will think, they become prayers of forgiveness to the others for there potential looks or comments, and you bless them that they one day step onto the right path.

    God Bless you...i'm sure you'll make the right decision at exactly the right time.
     
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    #14 chazSingh, May 16, 2013
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  16. linzer

    linzer Mexico
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    Akasha ji,
    Congratulations on your decision. One day I plan to take Amrit as well. I've been keeping kesh for a hair :grinningsingh: over two years now but here in Mexico the don't give Amrit.
    Best of luck.
    Ishna ji ,I had to look up the MacDonald Campbell Feud, BBC should make a mini series out of it. Great stuff.:swordfight-kudiyan:
     
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