About International Women's Day
When: Tuesday 8 March 2011
What: International Women's Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women's Day is a national holiday.
Why: Suffragettes campaigned for women's right to vote. The word 'Suffragette' is derived from the word "suffrage" meaning the right to vote. International Women's Day honours the work of the Suffragettes, celebrates women's success, and reminds of inequities still to be redressed. The first International Women's Day event was run in 1911. 2011 is the Global Centenary Year.
Women in Sikhism
Quotes from Sri Guru Granth Sahib
In praise of women.
"We are born of woman, we are conceived in the womb of woman, we are engaged and married to woman. We make friendship with woman and the lineage continued because of woman. When one woman dies, we take another one, we are bound with the world through woman. Why should we talk ill of her, who gives birth to kings? The woman is born from woman; there is none without her. Only the One True Lord is without woman" (Guru Nanak Dev, Var Asa, pg. 473)
Marriage is an equal partnership of love and sharing between husband and wife."They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together. Rather they alone are called husband and wife, who have one soul in two bodies." (Guru Amar Das, Pauri, pg. 788)
Women have an equal right to participate in the congregation.
"Come my sisters and dear comrades! Clasp me in thine embrace. Meeting together, let us tell the tales of our Omnipotent Spouse (God). In the True Lord are all merits, in us all demerits." (Guru Nanak Dev, Sri Rag, pg. 17)
God is the husband and we are all his brides.
"The spouse is but One and all others are His brides. The false bride assumes many religious garbs. When the Lord stops her going into another's home, then is she summoned into her Lord's mansion without any let and hindrance. She is adorned with the Name and is dear to her True Lord. She alone is the true bride and the Lord lends her His support." (Guru Nanak Dev, Ramkali, pg. 933)
God is our Mother as well as our Father.
"Thou O Lord, art my Father and Thou my Mother. Thou art the Giver of peace to my soul and very life." (Guru Arjan Dev, Bhairo, pg. 1144)
Faithfulness to ones spouse is stressed.
"The blind-man abandons the wife of his home, and has an affair with another's woman. He is like the parrot, who is pleased to see the simbal tree, but at last dies clinging to it." (Bhagat Nam Dev, Bhairo, pg. 1165)
The rape and brutalities committed against women by the Mughal invader Babar condemned.
"Modesty and righteousness both have vanished and falsehood moves about as the leader, O Lalo. The function of the Qazis and the Brahmins is over and the Satan now reads the marriage rites (rape). The Muslim women read the Quran and in suffering call upon God, O Lalo. The Hindu women of high cast and others of low caste, may also be put in the same account, O Lalo." (Guru Nanak Dev, Tilang, pg. 722)
The practice of women burning themselves on their husband's funeral pyre (sati) condemned.
"They cannot be called satis, who burn themselves with their dead husbands. They can only be called satis, if they bear the shock of separation. They may also be known as satis, who live with character and contentment and always show veneration to their husbands by remembering them." (Guru Amar Das, Var Suhi, pg. 787)
The ritual of dowry so prevalent in Indian society condemned.
"Any other dowry, which the perverse place for show, that is false pride and worthless gilding. O' my Father! give me the Name of Lord God as a gift and dowry." (Guru Ram Das, Sri Rag, pg. 79)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
March 8 is International Women's Day. How are you going to recognize the importance of this day in light of the above 'Teachings', (which should be implemented in daily life)? Are you planning anything special for your mother, sister, wife or friend ?