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Hard Talk Male Domination, Gender Discrimination In Sikhism

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Hard Talk Male Domination, Gender Discrimination In Sikhism

Harkiran Kaur

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could be ! Considering there's so much struggle and we're so disadvantaged , it might be a sort of punishment .
At least you are a male. As a female I could say the same thing, that being a female is a punishment for some past karma or something. At least you can walk into a Gurdwara and everyone will see you as a male, and not try to place limitations on you. Try being female in a religion of all male Gurus, nearly all the historical role models are male (and the ones that are female are recognized as being Mother to... wife of... etc so their fame is more related to the males they are related to - Mai Bhago aisde, all the women historical role models are meek and valued for being Mother of, or wife of...) Nearly ALL Granthis, Gurdwara Management Committees, Raagis, scholars etc are male, the first Panj Pyaras are male (and now its used to keep women from doing this seva), some sampardas tell wives they must be obedient to their husband and see and serve him as a God over her, Man leads in anand karaj, woman follows, some sampardas keep women from seva because of menstruation, darbar sahib doesn't allow women to do most seva... no kirtan, no palki sahib seva, no female granthis, no female allowed to participate in akhand paaths, no female can wash sanctum sanctorum etc. Women are always shown only in langar kitchen, as if to make a statement and stereotype that women are only good for cooking. Then we have Dasam Granth and over 600 pages of stories with the central moral message that women are evil, immoral and deceivers that men should never trust (very very few similar stories of males). I think I'd almost rather be a gay male than a female in Sikhi (or any other religion) IF any of this were correct views! I know they are not. They are just about people trying to control other people. Nobody wants to admit that everyone is equal and nobody is following Gurbani saying to TREAT everyone equally!

"As Gurmukh, look upon ALL with a single eye of equality for in each and every heart the divine light is contained" - Seems majority have forgotten this! It's not a punishment... you have divine light in you same as everyone else. It's just who you are. Maybe its just a challenge, maybe last time you felt empathy for those in your current situation and you wanted to experience it to really understand (on a soul level). In reality gender is part of the illusion. We are all formless consciousness... and you also deserve happiness.

Having said that, I don't think you will ever be able to do anand karaj. But you can marry by civil ceremony. Try Thailand etc... Maybe Russia or Ukraine?
 

Rajwinder

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At least you are a male. As a female I could say the same thing, that being a female is a punishment for some past karma or something. At least you can walk into a Gurdwara and everyone will see you as a male, and not try to place limitations on you. Try being female in a religion of all male Gurus, nearly all the historical role models are male (and the ones that are female are recognized as being Mother to... wife of... etc so their fame is more related to the males they are related to - Mai Bhago aisde, all the women historical role models are meek and valued for being Mother of, or wife of...) Nearly ALL Granthis, Gurdwara Management Committees, Raagis, scholars etc are male, the first Panj Pyaras are male (and now its used to keep women from doing this seva), some sampardas tell wives they must be obedient to their husband and see and serve him as a God over her, Man leads in anand karaj, woman follows, some sampardas keep women from seva because of menstruation, darbar sahib doesn't allow women to do most seva... no kirtan, no palki sahib seva, no female granthis, no female allowed to participate in akhand paaths, no female can wash sanctum sanctorum etc. Women are always shown only in langar kitchen, as if to make a statement and stereotype that women are only good for cooking. Then we have Dasam Granth and over 600 pages of stories with the central moral message that women are evil, immoral and deceivers that men should never trust (very very few similar stories of males). I think I'd almost rather be a gay male than a female in Sikhi (or any other religion) IF any of this were correct views! I know they are not. They are just about people trying to control other people. Nobody wants to admit that everyone is equal and nobody is following Gurbani saying to TREAT everyone equally!

"As Gurmukh, look upon ALL with a single eye of equality for in each and every heart the divine light is contained" - Seems majority have forgotten this! It's not a punishment... you have divine light in you same as everyone else. It's just who you are. Maybe its just a challenge, maybe last time you felt empathy for those in your current situation and you wanted to experience it to really understand (on a soul level). In reality gender is part of the illusion. We are all formless consciousness... and you also deserve happiness.

Having said that, I don't think you will ever be able to do anand karaj. But you can marry by civil ceremony. Try Thailand etc... Maybe Russia or Ukraine?
I think no doubt male domination is there even in western cultures may be less then what it is in asian cultures .. and i think it will probably take another century or so before some significant change can happen or some other miracle happen .. so u r probably right it's kind of debatable who is in worse condition ..

The rituals that u mentioned from which females are prohibited to participate .. i think in a way it is good .. reason is that they are any how mostly meaningless .. like putting gold on building .. washing with milk etc.

Probably when our guru said "Khalsa mero roop hai khaas, Khaalse meh hau karau nivaas" .. the only thing we took damnnnnn seriously is "Roop" .. we didnt payed attention on what it require to be Khalsa ;-(
 

Harry Haller

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At least you are a male. As a female I could say the same thing, that being a female is a punishment for some past karma or something. At least you can walk into a Gurdwara and everyone will see you as a male, and not try to place limitations on you. Try being female in a religion of all male Gurus, nearly all the historical role models are male (and the ones that are female are recognized as being Mother to... wife of... etc so their fame is more related to the males they are related to - Mai Bhago aisde, all the women historical role models are meek and valued for being Mother of, or wife of...) Nearly ALL Granthis, Gurdwara Management Committees, Raagis, scholars etc are male, the first Panj Pyaras are male (and now its used to keep women from doing this seva), some sampardas tell wives they must be obedient to their husband and see and serve him as a God over her, Man leads in anand karaj, woman follows, some sampardas keep women from seva because of menstruation, darbar sahib doesn't allow women to do most seva... no kirtan, no palki sahib seva, no female granthis, no female allowed to participate in akhand paaths, no female can wash sanctum sanctorum etc. Women are always shown only in langar kitchen, as if to make a statement and stereotype that women are only good for cooking. Then we have Dasam Granth and over 600 pages of stories with the central moral message that women are evil, immoral and deceivers that men should never trust (very very few similar stories of males). I think I'd almost rather be a gay male than a female in Sikhi (or any other religion) IF any of this were correct views! I know they are not. They are just about people trying to control other people. Nobody wants to admit that everyone is equal and nobody is following Gurbani saying to TREAT everyone equally!
this is brilliant stuff, why have you never mentioned it before?
 

Harkiran Kaur

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I think no doubt male domination is there even in western cultures may be less then what it is in asian cultures .. and i think it will probably take another century or so before some significant change can happen or some other miracle happen .. so u r probably right it's kind of debatable who is in worse condition ..

The rituals that u mentioned from which females are prohibited to participate .. i think in a way it is good .. reason is that they are any how mostly meaningless .. like putting gold on building .. washing with milk etc.

Probably when our guru said "Khalsa mero roop hai khaas, Khaalse meh hau karau nivaas" .. the only thing we took damnnnnn seriously is "Roop" .. we didnt payed attention on what it require to be Khalsa ;-(
But Kirtan??? Akhand path?? Panj pyara seva???
 

Rajwinder

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But Kirtan??? Akhand path?? Panj pyara seva???
Frankly if u ask me even those are nothing more then rituals to me ;-) and same thing apply ... i think all these things are visible in our world and we dont see many females doing these and that may be a point to you that females are not allowed .. but i really doubt that to live a simple , honest and logical life u actually need to do any of these just for sake of it .. Like will it make a diff to you that u r doing kirtan in a big crowd etc .. point is i totally agree that in all these activities these people who think they understood sikh religion thing better then other made these rules and so called followers just accepted so something needs to be said about them too ;-) but all this doesn't mean that u cant do {censored}tail of raga's and words from guru granth sahib your self , by ready guru granth sahib continuously without giving break .. not sure what we want to achive with that .. and panj pyara thing .. really ?? i can imagine this situation like this http://www.a2zmenu.com/FunAtWork/images/Software-Development-Life-Cycle.gif .. although this is software world example .. but some how apply here .. our gurus had some intentions > they did and worked accordingly > our ancestors made some meaning out of it > somebody made a religion out of it > then interpretation of the religion and then people who cant see other happy mix stuff in religions to make people fight ..

good example is this thread itself which started from this guys same sex thing and here we totally forget him and talking about women empowerment .. ( this is joke btw )
 

Harkiran Kaur

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I brought it up to show him that even though things seem bad from his point of view, he still has it better than females.

Regards to kirtan, panj pyaras, etc Yes I think it's necessary or else why was Khalsa created? Guru Gobind Singh Ji would not have created Khalsa if he did not think it was necessary. You can't just look at it as being an empty ritual. Same with kirtan. We are supposed to gather in Sangat and do kirtan. Otherwise, why not everyone just stay at home then and forget the Gurdwara altogether?
 

Rajwinder

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I brought it up to show him that even though things seem bad from his point of view, he still has it better than females.

Regards to kirtan, panj pyaras, etc Yes I think it's necessary or else why was Khalsa created? Guru Gobind Singh Ji would not have created Khalsa if he did not think it was necessary. You can't just look at it as being an empty ritual. Same with kirtan. We are supposed to gather in Sangat and do kirtan. Otherwise, why not everyone just stay at home then and forget the Gurdwara altogether?
I think that is what i tried to convey previously .. Guru made all these things for khalsa .. but just by wearing turban or having beard or wearing five things on your body u dont become khalsa .. so we are putting all the emphasis on roop but the qualities that we need that probably what guru thought of khalsa are missing so i think lets have the qualities first before having this roop and then may be these things may make some sense ..
 

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I thinks it's important to differentiate Sikhi from Punjabi culture. Sikhi doesn't promote the disenfranchisement of women, therefore one has to look at the culture in which this is happening. The same culture that promotes female fetocide cannot be realistically expected to allow women equality in all matters in the gurdwara.
 

Harkiran Kaur

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I thinks it's important to differentiate Sikhi from Punjabi culture. Sikhi doesn't promote the disenfranchisement of women, therefore one has to look at the culture in which this is happening. The same culture that promotes female fetocide cannot be realistically expected to allow women equality in all matters in the gurdwara.
But is it really up to them to ALLOW or DISALLOW women at all??? Can the women decide to DISALLOW men to do these things??
 

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But is it really up to them to ALLOW or DISALLOW women at all??? Can the women decide to DISALLOW men to do these things??
As you said in your previous post, it is the men who are currently in charge. Therefore, the onus is on them to allow women a greater role in gurdwara affairs. From my observation, this is a Punjabi cultural problem. I see less of it in the diaspora.
 

namritanevaeh

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I know for sure in Khalsa schools in bc girls and women are encouraged to do kirtan, chor sewa, many other things that you see more men do in gurdwarey. And while I haven't seen a lot of women doing chor sewa in my local gurdwara I have seen a handful. Haven't seen much kirtan tho. :(

But I saw it in Montreal gurdwara! :) a whole group of women doing kirtan one day. :)
 

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But is it really up to them to ALLOW or DISALLOW women at all???
This raises a point that I've had trouble reconciling on my own. I came to this issue over voting "rights" once. Men do not have the power to grant to women something that should have been theirs all along; so saying women "won" the right to vote, or were "given" the right to vote, etc. isn't accurate and is a little condescending. Maybe I'm splitting hairs a bit, but I would rather have some appropriate terminology. Do you have a preferred term, Harkiran Kaur Ji?
 

Tejwant Singh

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This raises a point that I've had trouble reconciling on my own. I came to this issue over voting "rights" once. Men do not have the power to grant to women something that should have been theirs all along; so saying women "won" the right to vote, or were "given" the right to vote, etc. isn't accurate and is a little condescending. Maybe I'm splitting hairs a bit, but I would rather have some appropriate terminology. Do you have a preferred term, Harkiran Kaur Ji?
Seekingsikhiji,

Guru fateh,

I am sorry to say that your response has confused me more than it has clarified what you may have intended to express. Would you be kind enough to elaborate it in a lay man's term for me? Thanks.

Meanwhile, here is something for you to look at.



Amandeep Madra
Follow · February 6 ·

#100years since some women were given the vote in the UK and a good time to look at Sophia Duleep Singh's defiant census return for 1911. She writes "No Vote, No Census. As women do not count, they refuse to be counted. I have a conscientious objection to filling up this form"

Sophia Duleep Singh, the granddaughter of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, like many suffragettes, was arrested, imprisoned, beaten and vilified as she fought for the right of women to vote. #votes100#suffragette100
 

seekingsikhi

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I am sorry to say that your response has confused me more than it has clarified what you may have intended to express.
Tejwant Singh Ji,
Let me rephrase. Save for obvious things like sperm-production, God did not deny women the ability to do anything a man can do. Anything that a man can do that a woman cannot do must therefore have been mandated by God; explicitly or implicitly. When a man says "You cannot vote," what he is doing is denying a woman something given her by God. Therefore, a man cannot GIVE her the right to vote so much as RETURN the right that he stole from her in the first place. To say women were GIVEN the right to vote, implies that men had the right to confer it; as opposed to it being something given to women by God. Not to mention that saying "women were given the right to vote" makes it sound like it was a generous and benevolent move on the part of men; which it was not.

Consider it this way. God gives you an orange. I take your orange and say "you don't get to have oranges." Then later I give it back to you. You wouldn't say that I'm so nice for giving you the orange, as though I were being benevolent. You would say "God gave me that orange and you had no right to take it."

So rather than saying "women were given the right to vote in (insert year)"; I'm wondering what the more accurate phrasing would be.

My apologies if I sounded condescending. I tried to avoid doing so.
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Exactly it’s men thinking they have a God given right to dictate the rights of women just because they are men is wrong and always was.

Some justify it by saying men are generally stronger than women. So men are intended to lead. My answer to that... if the physically strongest were meant to lead then every CEO of fortune five companies would be WWE wrestlers. Maybe throw it back at them, maybe the physically strongest were meant to be the pack mules of Society. LOL

Please note I’m not putting down all men who are physically strong just throwing the idea that strength = leadership on its head.


Tejwant Singh Ji,
Let me rephrase. Save for obvious things like sperm-production, God did not deny women the ability to do anything a man can do. Anything that a man can do that a woman cannot do must therefore have been mandated by God; explicitly or implicitly. When a man says "You cannot vote," what he is doing is denying a woman something given her by God. Therefore, a man cannot GIVE her the right to vote so much as RETURN the right that he stole from her in the first place. To say women were GIVEN the right to vote, implies that men had the right to confer it; as opposed to it being something given to women by God. Not to mention that saying "women were given the right to vote" makes it sound like it was a generous and benevolent move on the part of men; which it was not.

Consider it this way. God gives you an orange. I take your orange and say "you don't get to have oranges." Then later I give it back to you. You wouldn't say that I'm so nice for giving you the orange, as though I were being benevolent. You would say "God gave me that orange and you had no right to take it."

So rather than saying "women were given the right to vote in (insert year)"; I'm wondering what the more accurate phrasing would be.

My apologies if I sounded condescending. I tried to avoid doing so.
me
 

Harry Haller

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I do not think this is as black and white as women vs men, when you look at the slave trade, it is easy to say, 'white people enslaved black people', but its not that simple, black people assisted white people to enslave black people, so who is to blame, black or white people?

Men did not give women any rights, and indeed did not take any way, society did, and within that society, I can guarantee there were probably a fair few women who wanted to keep things just as they are, there are still a fair few women that want to keep things just as they are, but society progresses, we stop trading slaves, we stop discriminating on sex, we move forward, but to blame men per se is completely wrong, if you want to have a pop at someone, have a pop at society, which includes men, and women, and black people and white people,
 

seekingsikhi

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Men did not give women any rights, and indeed did not take any way, society did, and within that society,
Fair enough, and I concede the point that women had a hand in this as well; just as they had male allies in the return of said rights. But in order to change society we have to change the way its constituents view the issue. The gurus attempted this; and even still men in the panth believe women should not enter the temple while menstruating, that they can't sing dhadi or be nihangs, and that the only seva they're good for is making langar. If we wish to change the larger portion of society we have to start by being the example. If my friend is complaining that they can't lose weight, I can't say "practice some moderation" while getting up for a fourth round at the pizza buffet. Jesus said it well: Take the plank out of your own eye before helping your friend get the sliver out of his. Let's get our own house in order before we go shrugging our shoulders and blaming society.
 

Harry Haller

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Let's get our own house in order before we go shrugging our shoulders and blaming society.
ah i see, so by getting our own house in order, and forgetting society for the moment, its more convenient to blame men, and men only, rather than society?

Just out of curiosity, do you see most Gurdwaras as full of men stopping women from doing what they want? or full of men and women stopping women from doing what they want? I know quite a lot of Sikh families, and most that I know are deeply matriarchal, and these matriarchal women, they do not take prisoners, they can reduce a grown man to tears in a few minutes, why are they not saying something about this,, because one way or another, it suits them, I am afraid they are the folks you need to be gunning after, rather than the men, most of whom, are pretty much under the thumb.
 

Tejwant Singh

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Tejwant Singh Ji,
Let me rephrase. Save for obvious things like sperm-production, God did not deny women the ability to do anything a man can do. Anything that a man can do that a woman cannot do must therefore have been mandated by God; explicitly or implicitly. When a man says "You cannot vote," what he is doing is denying a woman something given her by God. Therefore, a man cannot GIVE her the right to vote so much as RETURN the right that he stole from her in the first place. To say women were GIVEN the right to vote, implies that men had the right to confer it; as opposed to it being something given to women by God. Not to mention that saying "women were given the right to vote" makes it sound like it was a generous and benevolent move on the part of men; which it was not.

Consider it this way. God gives you an orange. I take your orange and say "you don't get to have oranges." Then later I give it back to you. You wouldn't say that I'm so nice for giving you the orange, as though I were being benevolent. You would say "God gave me that orange and you had no right to take it."

So rather than saying "women were given the right to vote in (insert year)"; I'm wondering what the more accurate phrasing would be.

My apologies if I sounded condescending. I tried to avoid doing so.

I am sorry to say that your own name is misleading to yourself then. You are SeekingSikhi through an Abrahamic lens which is nothing but a fool's paradise that I am glad Sikhi does not indulge in.
 

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