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Kirpal Kaur: On The Silky Road

Silk. The mere mention of the word creates a vision of cascading softness and elegance, and entrepreneur Kirpal Kaur knows this natural fabric like the back of her hands.
"It's one of my favourite fabrics, beautiful, luxurious, and yes, it can make you feel like a million dollar person," she beams with pride.

This bespectacled mother of four has the kind of beauty that comes from having lived life to the fullest, of meeting challenges head on, of believing in herself and in the inherent goodness of people around her.

"I feel blessed in so many ways, being surrounded by good hearted people who believe in me and share my vision. That, coupled with hard work and my faith in God, paid off, " she says in a matter-of-fact tone. Being surrounded by bales of exotics laces and silk fabrics from various parts of the world is not unusual for this 66-year-old grandmother of 10.

She is, after all, the founder and the main driving force behind Gulati's Silk House, which is today one of the largest importers and retailers of fine silk fabric in Malaysia.

Starting out as a small retail shop in the heart of Kuala Lumpur about 40 years ago, the group now has 13 outlets throughout the country with more in the pipeline. Kirpal is one two women vying for the 2009 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (women) award.

Never afraid of hard work, the soft-spoken Kirpal who is now the Chair of the family owed business, states quite plainly that she never gave up her dream of starting her own textile business when she married Manjeet Singh Gulati and relocated from Singapore, her birthplace, to Kuala Lumpur to be with her husband.
Kirpal Kaur, the eldest of seven siblings, had a head for the textile business having learnt it first hand from her textile merchant father.

She recalls a time when she and her husband put their textiles in their van, drove north and south, visiting wholesalers to convince them to buy materials on consignment.

"That was our routine one week a month," she says. "It was tedious but it paid off eventually." She opened an outlet in Semua House, and as business grew, eventually bought a shoplot on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the only textile shop along that road.

"It was a challenge juggling my roles as wife, raising my young family, and managing the business." When her husband fell seriously ill about eight years and eventually passed on, her second son, Pavitar, quit law studies to help.

"Of course, I would have preferred that he complete his studies but he was adamant. Since he had set his heart on it I took him on board and taught him the trade."

Kirpal, who often accompanies her managers on a buying sessions overseas, beams with maternal pride when she says that with him on board, the business expanded and an upmarket segment began to take shape. So she opened Euro Moda to cater to this niche. Today it boasts royalty, politicians and the well-heeled among its customers.

Although the day-to-day running of the entire operation is left to her son, Kirpal still oversees the business. "Without my chop and signature, nothing moves!" she says, bursting into laughter.

On a more serious note she adds, "We consult each other on all major decisions and if it's viable, I give the green light. We may be a family concern but it is run professionally."

Her daughter-in law, Jasleen Kaur (Pavitar's wife) is Executive Director and attends to their high-valued clients.

Except for Wednesdays and Sundays which are devoted to the gurdwara, she's in the office everyday from 3pm. "My mornings are reserved for prayers, taking care of the household, spending time with my grandchildren and cooking for the family," she says.

Kirpal takes it upon herself to clear out the family's wardrobe regularly. "I've got this thing about rearranging and clearing wardrobes, including mine. Old and unused are donated, or we would run out of space to put the new outfits that I buy for every member of the family whenever I go overseas," says Kirpal, who enjoys shopping for costume jewellery, shoes and handbags.

She is also active in gurdwara activities, where she's often called to do kirtan. She also plays the harmonium and violin.

Her religious beliefs, she says, play a strong role in how she manages the family business. All her employees are treated as a family. Sometimes, she personally cooks for them. She gives much of her time and makes generous donations to worthy causes.

As a member of the Sikh Welfare Society, she provides financial help to four poor families a year and helps in the annual week-long Sikh Youth Camp taking charge of cooking for close to 1,500 participants.

"Keeping the kids well-fed with five meals a day is not an easy task. Can't serve the same things day in and out. They expect variety. But I enjoy cooking for anyone who appreciates a good meal," says Kirpal, who is in the midst of drawing up the menu.

Every year during Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year, children of all races from several charity homes are invited to Gulati's and treated to high tea and entertainment.

"I have always believed in bringing good cheer to those around me. It may be old school but generosity and kindness will never go out of style. Ever."

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD

Kirpal Kaur and Datin Freida Pilus are the only nominees for the 2009 Ernst & Young Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award programme was created in the US in 1986 to honour entrepreneurs who have created and sustained successful, growing businesses. The programme is now held in 50 countries with awards presented to over 900 of the world's most successful and innovative entrepreneurs.

In Malaysia, the programme was launched in 2002. The categories are Emerging Entrepreneur, Technology Entrepreneur, Master Entrepreneur and Woman Entrepreneur.

Finalists are assessed are judged on their entrepreneurial spirit, company's financial performance, strategic direction, global impact, innovation, personal integrity and influence.

Winners of the national Entrepreneur Of The Year awards from around the world are invited to the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award celebration which will take place in May 2010 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
 
[Courtesy: New Sunday Times]
 

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Re: Kirpal Kaur: On The Silky Road

This is the kind of person I have never been :}8-: and will always look up to. She is only one thing -- AMAZING. What goodness! :wah:
 

Astroboy

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Re: Kirpal Kaur: On The Silky Road

I have to agree with that because I often see her in sewa, kirtan and very poised whenever I visit Gurdwara Sahib Titiwangsa.:happy:
 

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Re: Kirpal Kaur: On The Silky Road

Yes, NamJap when I read her story I wondered if she was part of your Sangat. You are blessed to know her. She is blessed to know you. :happy:
 

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http://www.{censored}/news.php?news=8351

Royal Award bestowed on highest ranking Sikh policewoman in the West Midlands



The highest ranking West Midlands Sikh policewoman, Shindo Kaur Barquer, has received a prestigious Royal Award.

She has been honoured with the ‘The Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal’ which was instituted under the Royal Warrant by King George VI in 1951 and is awarded as a mark of the Sovereign’s appreciation of long and meritorious service rendered by members of the Police Forces of the United Kingdom.

Chief Inspector Barquer has been Head of Resilience in the Operations Headquarters since April 2009; her responsibility includes ensuring West Midlands Police are able to respond effectively to the threats that face the organisation, along with those of the communities of West Midlands.

Under her supervision as Chief Inspector her leadership has enabled her team to establish close engagement with partner agencies

Joining the West Midlands Police Force at the age of 21, she progressively worked her way up the ranks, a journey that has been challenging but rewarding for this British Sikh born in West Bromwich

Chief Inspector Barquer and has remained in the West Midlands, settling with her husband, Vijith Randeniya Chief Fire Officer of West Midlands Fire Service in 
Birmingham.

Chief Inspector Barquer spoke to us about her award, she said:

“I feel really proud to receive such recognition for my contribution to policing’

“It was a fabulous awards ceremony; I had the chance to meet with some new recruits- it really took me back in time to 1987 when I joined’

“A career with the police service provides a real opportunity to service; to get involved in local community issues and I’m proud to have served all my service with West Midlands Police” said the proud and deserving award winner Chief Inspector Barquer

Chief Inspector Barquer is an active member of the West Midlands Local Resilience Forum; this includes partnership involvement at every phase ‘planning, preparing and responding’ to any major incidents.

This policewoman is passionate about her success and her future and says “the challenge is to keep making a positive contribution to local policing’.

‘I like to aim high but to remain focused and to believe in myself. My career aspiration is to take command of a local policing unit as the Chief Superintendent and to make a real difference to the local community that my family and I am part of’.

The attestation of new recruits and the presentation of Long Service & Good conduct medals took place at WMP Lord Knights Suite police Sports & Conference Centre on Thursday 10th December 2009

Award ceremony attended by Chief Constable Mr Chris Sims and Bishop Derek Webley Chairman of the Police Authority 

 

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Kaur Foundation signs educational partnership with Maryland Public School System | SikhNet
Kaur Foundation signs educational partnership with Maryland Public School System


December 24th, 2009




Ellicott City, MD --- A pioneering partnership with the Kaur Foundation will build understanding and appreciation for the Sikh culture, customs, and perspectives in Howard County Public School classrooms and communities. The partnership was formalized with an official signing at the Waterside Restaurant in the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel on Monday.

This is a proud and pioneering partnership with an entire County school district. The agreement drawn up has some wonderful new direction for the schools with the objective of exchanging resources and opportunities to spread awareness of the customs, religion, and cultural heritage of the Sikhs in the classrooms... including an understanding of “what teachers should know about the Sikhs...”

Under the terms of the partnership, the Kaur Foundation and the Howard County Public School System will exchange resources and opportunities to spread awareness of the Sikh cultural heritage in the classroom and community. The Kaur Foundation donated copies of their DVD titled Cultural Safari, an engaging introduction to Sikh culture, to each school media center. The Kaur Foundation will provide additional educational resources depicting Sikh customs, religion, geography, and history, for teachers to augment social studies lessons, and to serve as a resource for staff regarding the needs and concerns of students and families of Sikh heritage.

At 8:30am, Mirin Phool, President of the Kaur Foundation joined Ellen Flynn Giles, Vice Chairman Howard County Board of Education; John Krownapple coordinator of Cultural Proficiency for the HCPSS; and Joan Fox of the HCPSS Partnerships office signed the formal partnership agreement.

The Kaur Foundation works to foster an understanding between the Sikh American community and society at large. In projecting a positive Sikh identity, the organization builds community partnerships to promote understanding and acceptance of diversity.​


The July 2007 issue of Forbes magazine lists the Howard County Public School System among the top 10 public education school districts in the nation. The Howard County Public School System (Howard County Public School System) consistently ranks as Maryland’s top school district based on student performance.
 

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Secret Life of Girls: BAVLEEN KAUR SAINI



Secret Life of Girls: BAVLEEN KAUR SAINI - thestar.com

Leadership is important to Bavleen Kaur Saini. The 17-year-old is student council president at West Humber Collegiate, where she's in Grade 12, and the recent recipient of a YMCA Peace Medallion. An aspiring writer who reads her poetry at leadership camps and school assemblies, Saini is the second youngest in a family of five high-achieving daughters (her elder sisters are studying law, dentistry and law). "We have never let our parents feel the absence of a son," says Saini, whose parents work in factories, and who has a job in an after-school program at a community centre. She hopes to get a business degree.


Is there any disadvantage tobeing a girl?
Absolutely. Coming from a family of five sisters, people doubted our abilities and skills. The disadvantage is that people don't take you seriously. In my school community, I see girls who don't think they are worth much. You have to work for respect as a girl.


Are you a feminist? 110 per cent. Without feminism there's nothing to fight for, to lead the way. Otherwise, we just cross our arms and accept what's coming. I don't belong in the kitchen.


If you had a daughter what wouldyou wish for her?
Self-respect, self-love and happiness, having the strength to control what happens to you.



What are you passionate about?
My writing. I started in Grade 6. When I go on stage and read my poems, if I can change one person's life, I know my writing has meaning.



Why do you care about social justice?

Growing up, I heard stories about domestic violence and girls being taken advantage of by their boyfriends, and they didn't sit right. I write about that.



Whom do you look up to?
Definitely my mother, Surinder. Coming here from India, it was hard to adapt. I see her strength and her love.


What's your most valuable possession?
If there was a fire in my house, and all the people were safe, I'd go back for my poems. My life is in them.


Where does your confidence come from?
From other people's faith in me. When I write and people come to me and say thank you, I know I have the power to change the world.


What's your greatest fear?
I think my greatest fear is disappointing my parents. I have made it my responsibility to ensure that my parents never drop their heads in shame. Not that they would, because they are very proud of my sisters and me. My fear is not being my best. Not for myself, but for my mom and dad.


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
One of my problems is when I'm working with a team, not knowing how to step down. A good leader has to be a good follower. I'm working on the following.


How is your girlhood different from your mother's?
At a very young age, my mother lost her father. She was expected to learn all household chores, and still finish school, though many others during her time weren't given the chance. My mother never had a job during her teenage years, whereas I have had numerous jobs.Every day, I am given opportunities to be successful whereas my mother didn't get all of those opportunities when she was my age.
 

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Mai ji

I thought it was great too. But -- there was no pic that I recall. Let me look again.


Yes ------- I was wrong. Let me post it.
 

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Sikh-Aussie Ravneet Kaur: Simply Equal

by KAREN POH





A Heidelberg (Victoria, Australia) resident has beaten hundreds of hopefuls from Victoria to be selected to compete in the Mrs. Australia national finals in July.

Ravneet Kaur, 30, said she was "over the moon" when she found out she had received the nod.

Ravneet, who runs her own charity, Simply Equal, to support disadvantaged young Sikh and Indian women in India and Australia, said she joined because of the competition's charity focus.

As part of the Mrs. Australia pageant, participants raise money for Women in Need, a charity organisation dedicated to the personal empowerment of women and assisting in the recovery of women who have been the victims of domestic abuse.

"Growing up in an Sikh/ Indian culture in Australia and having to balance values from both cultures created a lot of hardship, and those experiences made me think of helping other women," Ravneet Kaur said. "It's important for women to have that support network, and I'd like to reach out to the women in the Heidelberg community."

The winner will go on to compete in the Mrs. Globe pageant in Greece.

Ravneet is preparing to hold her third fundraising event for Women in Need through a pub trivia night in Richmond, and she is seeking sponsorships, donations and helping hands to make it a success.

More information: http://www.simplyequal.org

April 22, 2010
 

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Sikh Art Therapist Rapinder Kaur

Therapeutic art arrives in Dufferin
Adam Martin-Robbins


Helping through art:. Registered art therapist Rapinder Kaur opened a practice, Art as Therapy, at the Harmony Health Clinic on Highway 9 last fall. Kaur specializes in working with children and teens with a myriad of challenges including ADHD, anxiety, autism, depression and low self-esteem.

Those walking into Rapinder Kaur's office in the Harmony Health Clinic for the first time might think they've accidentally stepped into an artist's studio. After all it's stocked with paintbrushes, paint, markers and playdough. That's because, while she's not an artist, those tools are central to Kaur's work as a registered art therapist.

“It’s essentially psychotherapy but instead of just relying on vocal means, you’re using art as a medium,” she said. “What it doesn’t require is you to be an artist in the traditional sense.”

Kaur opened her local practice — Art as Therapy — at the clinic inside the ACTS fitness centre last September. Her clients use basic art materials such as clay, collage, paint and markers “in a freer, spontaneous way to express inner thoughts and feelings.”

“It works really well with children because it’s non-threatening,” Kaur said. “It’s a much more friendly way of working with children. … (Because) difficult feelings are often hard to express through words.”

In addition to young children, Kaur also works with teens and their families in a broad range of areas including anger issues, low self-esteem, ADHD, autism or Asperger’s.

She also works with families who are going through a divorce, as well as adults looking for a mental tune-up.

“We all have mental health (issues),” Kaur said. “In the way we think of looking at physical health — exercise, eating better foods — this can be seen as health for your mind.”

Kaur studied psychology in England and worked in a few facilities there before moving to Canada with her parents several years ago. When Kaur arrived in Ontario, she decided to specialize in art therapy.

That’s because when she worked with troubled teens in a psychiatric hospital in England, the kids hated almost all of their doctors, except the art therapist.

“It was a much more friendly way of working with them,” the 31-year-old said.

Kaur enrolled in the Toronto Art Therapy Institute, which was established in 1968 by Dr. Martin Fischer, who is one of the founding fathers of the field in Canada.

“It’s still a fairly new profession (in Canada),” she said. “It’s more established in the United Kingdom and the United States.”

Kaur, who also has a practice in Mississauga, set up shop locally — two days a week — after working with different organizations in Dufferin for about five years.

“I heard there was a real need to have a therapist that has a specialty in working with children and teens,” she said. “I’ve been working with youth and children for 10 years in a number of facilities.”

One of the issues Kaur sees cropping up among local youth is anxiety, which affects about 12 per cent of the younger population.

“People often think it’s ADHD or autism but it’s anxiety,” she said.

Among teens, Kaur said she also notices kids are struggling with a sense of identity.

“They’re thinking about the future and that can be really frightening for them,” she said. Sometimes the solution is to open up the lines of communication between parents and children, she added.

“Often there’s not that dialogue between parents and teens ... because of that there’s lots of behaviour, anger, anxiety,” Kaur said. “For teens, their brains are still developing and they need just as much guidance as when they are three, or four or five.”

A typical session begins with a warm-up activity to set the tone and then, depending on what the client is feeling, Kaur will provide some kind of art-based directive.

“After about 20 odd minutes, we will look at the art together and discuss it,” she explained. “What we’re really doing is trying to help the individual come to understand what it means for them. … There’s no judgment here. This isn’t an art class in the traditional sense.”

In addition to working with clients at her office, Kaur also conducts sessions at a number of local agencies including Family Transition Place (FTP) and Dufferin Child and Family Services.

Stephanie Robinson, a community counsellor at FTP, has been working with Kaur for about three years in the shelter’s Peaceful Families program. She says Kaur has been able to connect with some of the children in the program because of her methods and her approach.

“A lot of what she does is with kids who’ve experienced a lot of conflict in their homes,” Robinson said. “(Art therapy) gives them another way of letting out what’s going on and helps to open up some of the barriers.

“It’s Rapinder’s personality. … She’s got a very level-headed approach and she’s very direct. She has a way of asking questions non-judgmentally that opens up so much more. She works really well with kids with difficult issues.”
 

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Edmonton Police Officer Overcomes Abuse

Maple Leaf Sikh: Edmonton Police Officer Overcomes Abuse


Before Namrata “Mona” Gill became a city police officer she endured beatings and belittling from her husband, eventually seeking refuge in a women’s shelter with her young daughter.

But as a Sikh woman from India, where divorce is frowned upon, it was far from easy to escape her arranged marriage.

“It takes a lot of courage,” said Gill, 39, Thursday.

Language barriers, a lack of family support and cultural differences make it especially difficult for immigrant females to leave abusive relationships, Gill said.

The first shelter for immigrant women in Canada opened its doors in Edmonton Monday. The five-bedroom shelter – WIN House III - is staffed with multi-lingual workers 24 hours a day.

Gill said she is amazed to see the centre open but says more are needed. Already the shelter’s 10 beds are full, said Sandra Danco, executive director of Edmonton Women’s Shelters.

The $500,000 project was funded through Alberta Children and Youth Services, Ministry of Culture and Community Spirit and private donations.

As a police officer, Gill said she speaks with women experiencing abuse daily just as she did.

Gill spent six years in a marriage where she worked unpaid up to 15 hours a day in her husband’s convenience store. He beat her, leaving bruises everywhere on her body – except her face, and was nearly raped.

Her dream of a career in law enforcement was squashed by her partner. But Gill says she was one of the lucky ones - as she had parental support.

With the help of her parents, Gill left and took refuge in a women’s shelter. For more than a month, a WIN House shelter was home with her four-year-old daughter Anmol Gill Sandhu.

Gill speaks openly about her abuse with the hope she can help others in similar situations.

Last month, Namrata - a National Film Board of Canada documentary about Mona’s struggle - was released.

“I know it will help a lot of women, but even if I can help one,” said Gill, a 911 dispatcher.

One of the first things Gill did after leaving her husband was apply to become a police officer. Nearly 10 years ago her dream came true.

“It’s your life. You can do what you want instead of someone controlling it. If I can do it anybody can do it.”
 

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Tejwant Singh

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Domestic violence from any gender in marriage is wrong, cruel and criminal, not only in the eyes of the law in most of the western world but also from the humanity point of view. We, as humans evolve and that evolution from the within is to " feel no enmity, to see no one as stranger".

No one has the right to beat the spouse or the kids to teach/prove the point. It is inhumane.

Even the Bible, the religion adopted by the majority, condones child abuse and ill treatment of women and women always took back stage in the world's religions including Islam till the vision that Guru Nanak shared with us.

Domestic violence which also goes along with child abuse is not uncommon in India or any other patriarchal society where men have the upper hand literally and metaphorically speaking in this case. Female infanticide is the ends to the means of domestic abuse when women are abused by their husbands and their in-laws.

This tribal mentality is abhorrent to say the least no matter how many nitnems, sehaj paaths, akhand paaths we do.

There are many Namratas in India and outside India hiding in the closets too afraid and ashamed to share this daily torture along with their children when the spouse/father shows up, most of the time drunk. Many who do not drink also practice this same barbarity.

Local Gurdwaras in the diaspora rather than spending money on golden domes and other futile stuff should open shelters for this kind of abuse.

After all isn't this the meaning of the tall Nishan Sahib at every Gurdwara to invite those in who are in need?

This need is more urgent now than ever.

Narayanjot ji, thanks for bringing this in light by posting the news. We at SPN should open a section which should be only accessed by the mentors, leaders and the administrators where the abused can share their stories without the fear of repercussions and we can help them in some way or form with the help of SALDEF, Sikh Coalition and United Sikhs.

I am sure it can be done. Let's spread the world out and take this step to stop this domestic abuse because Sikhi demands this from us.

Tejwant Singh
 

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Gursharan Kaur: India's First Lady's Autobiography

India's First Lady's Autobiography

ECONOMIC TIMES





Behind every successful man, there is a woman, goes the cliché.

At the first press conference on the first anniversary of his second term as PM, Dr Manmohan Singh was asked about the role played by not one but two women in his life: his wife Gursharan Kaur and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. "I have the benefit of being advised by the Congress president and my wife. Both of them deal with different subjects," he added, much to the amusement of the journalists present.

The advice being offered by Sonia Gandhi is, of course, constantly being written about by the media.

The advice offered by Gursharan Kaur - India's First Lady and the first spouse to hold such a position who has fulfilled her role with competence, grace and aplomb - could be revealed in the autobiography she is reportedly working on. Journalists could even glean insights from the book that she is reportedly writing in consultation with editor-turned-columnist-cum-historian-cum-novelist, Khushwant Singh.

The PM's daughter, Upinder Kaur, a scholar in her own right, has authored books titled Ancient Delhi and A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India. Another daughter, Daman Kaur, has written a book titled The Last Frontier: People and Forests in Mizoram and a novel titled Nine by Nine.

When Tony Blair was the prime minister of the UK, his wife Cherie - a leading lawyer in her own right - came out with a book that was fairly critical of not just his political opponents but his eventual successor. When both the Bushes (father and son) were presidents of the U.S., their wives (Barbara and Laura) wrotebooks about how cute their pet dogs were! When Bill Clinton was the president of the U.S., his wife Hillary wrote a rather profound book titled It Takes a Village, which, some said, was meant to advance her own political career.

While Gursharan Kaur can be counted on to not spill the beans a la Cherie or to further any independent political agenda a la Hillary, any book with which Khushwant is reportedly involved should hopefully be more than just cute!



May 28, 2010
 

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Re: Gursharan Kaur: India's First Lady's Autobiography

Aman ji

After the White House dinner and state visit, covered extensively by US press, Gursharan Kaur started to become a person of fascination to many Americans. We have another story about her here in the forum. She is apparently known for her personal humility and modesty, always shying from the limelight.

The story I recall is of her attendance at a state reception in India. She helped herself to some appetizer and tea and sat off away from the noisy crowd by herself. She was approached by a very sophisticated and talkative lady who introduced herself and began bragging about her husband, his achievements and exploits. Gursharan Kaur listened with apparent interest. Finally when the "society matron" was finished, she asked Gursharan ji about her husband. "What does he do?" was the question. Gursharan said, "He works for the government." Not satisfied, the elegant woman asked more. "But where does he work?" Answer from Gursharan, "He has an office in the federal facilities." (I can't remember exactly the location, apologies from me.) The woman persisted. "But what is his position?" Only then did Gursharan ji reply, "He is the prime minister." Obviously this story left an impression on me. So much for status seekers. LOL
 

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Kiran Bedi

Kiran Bedi is truly an icon of heroism. She was the first Indian woman to join the Indian Police Services. She was born on June 9, 1949 at Amritsar in Punjab. She is one of the most renowned police officers, who have put in their whole hearted effort in serving the society. Well, in this article, we will present you with the biography of Kiran Bedi, who is the pride of our Indian police force.

In the recent times, she has been appointed as the Director General of India's Bureau of Police Research and Development. Earlier, she served as the Police Advisor in the United Nations peacekeeping department. For her noteworthy performance, she was awarded with the UN medal. In the year 2005, she received the honorary degree of Doctor of Law. To know the complete life history of Kiran Bedi, read on…

Education
She did her schooling from the Sacred Heart Convent School in Amritsar. She completed her graduation in the English language from the Government College for Women in Amritsar. She received her Masters degree in Political Science from Punjab University, Chandigarh. She continued her studies, even when she joined the Indian Police force. In the year 1988, she obtained a degree in Law (LLB) from Delhi University.

In the year 1993, the Department of Social Sciences, the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi awarded her with a Ph.D. degree. Her topic of research was Drug Abuse and Domestic Violence. Kiran Bedi has won the championship of all-India and all-Asian tennis competition. When she was 22 years old, she won the Asian Ladies Title.

Career
Her career started in the year 1970, when she took the job of a lecturer at Khalsa College for Women in Amritsar. Two years later, she joined the Indian Police Services. All the way through her career, she has taken up a number of challenging assignments. She has served as the Traffic Commissioner of New Delhi, Deputy Inspector General of Police in the insurgency prone area of Mizoram.

She has also been the Lieutenant Governor of Chandigarh and Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau. An interesting thing about Kiran Bedi is that, sometimes, she is referred to as Crane Bedi. The reason behind calling her by this name is that, she dragged the car of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi due to violation of parking rules.

Kiran Bedi made the Indian Police Service change its decision in matters related to traffic management, control over narcotics and VIP security. During her tenure as the Inspector General of Tihar Jail, she brought about several reforms in the way the prisons are managed. She brought forth a number of measures like yoga, meditation, redressal of complaints made by the prisoners etc.

Kiran Bedi laid the foundation for the establishment of two voluntary organizations, namely, Navajyoti (1988) & India Vision Foundation (1994). These organizations were primarily set up with the aim of improving the living conditions of the drug addicts and the underprivileged people. The effort of Kiran Bedi has paid and brought her worldwide recognition. Her works have always earned appreciation. For drug abuse prevention, her organization was presented with the Serge Soitiroff Memorial Award by the United Nations.

Awards
For her outstanding work, Kiran Bedi has received a number of accolades like:

  • President's Gallantry Award (1979)
  • Women of the Year Award (1980)
  • Asia Region Award for Drug Prevention and Control (1991)
  • Magsaysay Award for Government Service (1994)
  • Mahila Shiromani Award (1995)
  • Father Machismo Humanitarian Award (1995)
  • Lion of the Year (1995)
  • Joseph Beuys Award (1997)
  • Pride of India (1999)
  • Mother Teresa Memorial National Award for Social Justice (2005

Note: Kiran Bedi is from a mixed Hindu-Sikh family. Biography at this link http://www.rmaf.org.ph/Awardees/Biography/BiographyBediKir.htm




http://www.iloveindia.com/indian-heroes/kiran-bedi.html
 

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Dr. Anarkali Kaur Honaryar: Afghanistan's Sikh Heroine



"It is difficult for a woman to be a pilot in Afghanistan. My father said it does not fit in with this country's culture," Dr Anarkali Kaur Honaryar tells me, sitting in her office at the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

In some ways the high flyer has taken on a challenge much tougher than piloting planes.

She fights for women's rights in a society that remains staunchly patriarchal, and where many of her gender still breathe beneath their veils.

In May 2009, the 25-year-old was chosen by Radio Free Europe's Afghan chapter as their "Person of the Year". The award has made her a household name in Kabul.

Anarkali Kaur - a trained dentist - is one of about 3,000 Sikhs and Hindus who remain in Afghanistan.

Their number - and their prosperity - has significantly dwindled since 1991 when civil war broke out.

Before then, there were an estimated 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus in this ethnically diverse country and many ran successful businesses in Kabul, Kandahar and other cities.

But the outbreak of hostilities meant that most - including Anarkali's relatives - moved to safer places in India, Europe and Canada.

She has led campaigns for the civil rights of the embattled communities who stayed on, including one to get crematoriums built for their dead.

"Some people still think we are foreigners. They think we are Indians who are working and living here for a while. But we are Afghans too, and we should have all the rights and opportunities that other Afghans have," says the demure yet outspoken doctor.

She has grown up in turbulent times.

In the early 1990s, Afghanistan was a country at war, with no stable central government.

The provinces - including Anarkali's native Baghlan in the north - were ruled by warlords.

To make matters worse, swathes of the country were falling into Taliban hands.

Girls' schools were banned in Taliban strongholds and religious minorities felt threatened by their extremist Sunni Muslim ideology - Anarkali Kaur fell into both categories: a female and a non-Muslim.

Fortunately for her, Baghlan did not come under Taliban rule. She carried on her education in relative freedom and graduated from high school four years ahead of her peers.

"I am grateful to my parents for supporting my education. Not all Afghan girls have been so lucky," she says.

Once the Taliban were overthrown in 2001, Anarkali went to Kabul University to study medicine. She was part of the Loya Jirga (grand council) that selected the interim government to replace the Taliban.

"The situation for women has improved since the Taliban days. Now if the Karzai government does not listen to us, at least we can appeal to human rights groups," she says.

And so she joined the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission in 2006.

"They know I am a Sikh but they still trust me with their most personal problems," she says of the hundreds of mostly Muslim women she meets.

"The culture here is loaded against women. We try to solve their problems, but we also need to change the laws."

Awareness of existing laws is also at a premium here - the female literacy rate is less than 20%.

Anarkali recounts how an illiterate woman had travelled a long way to Kabul to meet her. The woman's husband wanted to divorce her when she was expecting their child.

"She didn't know that Afghan laws state a husband cannot divorce his pregnant wife. He has to wait till the child is at least two months old. We helped her secure her rights," she says, with a hint of pride.

While conferences have taken her to different parts of the globe, Dr Anarkali Kaur Honaryar regrets not travelling enough in the land of her ancestors - Punjab and India.

A visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar - Sikhism's holiest shrine - is top of her to-do list. And of course, the Taj Mahal.

http://www.unp.co.in/f16/afghanistans-sikh-heroine-100796/
 

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kds1980

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INDIA
Harsimrat Kaur Badal is current member of the for the Indian parliamentary electorate of Bathinda. Kaur Badal is the wife of Sukhbir Singh Badal, President of Shiromani Akali Dal and daughter-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. She currently represents Bathinda lok sabha constituency in 15th Lok Sabha. In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, she defeated Raninder Singh, son of former Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh in a high profile election contest.[citation needed]
[edit] Campaign against female infanticide

Kaur Badal worked vigorously for gender sensitivity and her campaign against female feticide has highlighted the issue to such great length that almost all NGOs & Govt. authorities have woken of from slumber and trying to enlighten the people to shun female feticide which would go long way in checking the ever decreasing female sex ratio in Punjab & she earned lot of respect for her efforts in her successful campaign known as (NANHI CHAAN). She emphasised on planting trees by equating motherhood with mother nature , she is very assertive in parliament, she has successfully raised the issue of 1984 genocide of sikhs in parliament of India which has culminated in resignation of a Cabinet Minister and prosecution of Sajjan Kumar accused of killing Sikhs in riots of Delhi in the year 1984 after more than 25 years providing some hope of justice to victims and for restoring the faith of posterity in the indian legal system which has been made perfunctory by law enforcing agencies. on 3.12.2009, she addressed the house & she was heard with rapt attention, it was one of the rare occasion when M.P of any regional party spoke from heart and the entire house was at ad idem with her concern about the victims & survivors of genocide of Sikhs in 1984. she highlighted how after 25 years, these victims are still waitnig for any substantial justice , her heartfelt speech evoked response from the opposition members and in unison they said " SHAME SHAME" . She further highlighted the contribution of Sikhs in Freedom Struggle, by indicating out of 70% of the total execution by the Colonial Government.& 80 % of indians sent to exile in Kalapani in Andeman were Sikhs. She invited the attention of the house , how the same Nationalist Sikhs were killed for merely being Sikhs in 1984 Sikh Genocide , her heartrending speech brought the entire House into a gloomy quiet, the leader of House Parnab Mukhreji was forced to acknowledge , it was tragic and he said it should not happen again , but it was too little and too late to mitigate the misery of victims , his subtle response was deafened by the entire opposition exclaiming "IT IS HORRENDOUS" some thing which the leader of the House could not congregate himself.The vicitms still waiting for justice for 26 long years to have yet any single person prosecuted for the gory massacare of Sikhs in 1984, felt some liberation that someone forcefully & considrately took up their cause at the floor of the house.
 

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