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Hard Talk Why Are Women Not Allowed To Perform Kirtan In Sanctum Sanctorum Of Golden Temple?

Sikhi 24/7

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Jun 17, 2004
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AMRITSAR: Issue of gender equality in Sikhism has surfaced after Sikh diaspora wondered why women are not allowed to perform kirtan in sanctum sanctorum of Golden Temple.

While a few Sikh scholars have appealed to Jahtedar of Akal Takht to intervene and ensure that women are given equal rights , the others have blamed on prevailing patriarchal social system among Sikhs'. However Jathedar maintains stoic silence on the issue.

While talking to TOI on Wednesday Balvinder Kaur Saundh, Chair of Sikh women alliance, UK, said "I have been saying for past twenty years that Guru Nanak and our religion gave us equality. It is the men who have interpreted it to suit themselves to control our religious scriptures"

She said that women should be allowed to do kirtan in Golden Temple beside other sewa including giving shoulder to palki.

"All women groups should be allowed to do kirtan and take part in all the services" she said .

Saundh said generally it is said that 'women menstruate so they are unclean'. "My challenge has been that if women didn't have their monthly periods, would you men have been born? Adding that women take bath in the morning, put on clean clothes and look after their personal hygiene as men do. We are as capable as men to do kirtan sewa" she said.

UK based Sikh scholor who has done PhD in Sikh Studies, Kamalroop Singh said "Guru Nanak Dev had said why call her bad who gives birth to great people" He appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh to not make women 'bad' by not letting them sing the praises of Waheguru. Singh was of view that Sikh religion was founded on the concept of unity and equality. "Therefore it is totally wrong that women are not allowed to do kirtan or duties as scriptural readers at Golden Temple".

He said there was a long list of female contributors to Sikh religion. "It is against precepts of the Gurus to prevent women singing kirtan in sanctum sanctorum of Golden Temple" he said.

Malaysia based humanitarian aid organizer of United Sikhs Rishiwant Singh said that the Sikh religion was the most modern religion in the world and was based on equality of gender, race, religion, caste and creed. "There is no question whether women should be allowed to do sewa of kirtan or not" he said.

US based prominent Sikh activist Rajwant Singh said Guru Nanak spoke about the rights of the women in society and had advocated their full participation in all aspects of society. "What we have discovered is that Sikh women have played an important and critical role in strengthening the journey of the Sikh faith for the last 500 years. The first Sikh was Bebe Nanki, and she played a key role in organizing the community during its infancy, also supporting her brother, Guru Nanak Dev. Similarly, Mata Khivi, who is the only Sikh woman mentioned in the Sikh scriptures, is the main person who popularized langar, a vegetarian community meal which is still in practice. Her daughter, Bibi Amro, was also installed as a Sikh preacher by Guru Amardas, the third Sikh guru."

Strangely when contacted Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh said "I have no opinion on this issue".

Times of India
 

Harkiran Kaur

Leader

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SPNer
Jul 21, 2012
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How can the Jethedar Akal Takht have no opinion on this issue? It's his duty to have an opinion and uphold tenets of Sikhi including equality.

I remember a friend of mine went to touch Palki Sahib as procession passed (female) and the reaction was hinged between anger and outright disgust by Singhs in the vicinity and one of the sewadars approaches her husband and told him to 'control his Singhni'

There is a huge control over Darbar Sahib by groups like sant samaj and Taksalis and yes they do view menstruation as meaning we are impure / unclean. It's even written in Taksalis own Rehet Maryada. This despite the fact that Sikh Rehet Maryada is supposed to be the only accepted one by Akal Takht. I had a Taksali Singh once tell me that a woman sitting so close to maharaj Ji in Darbar Sahib, with 'stinking blood wafting about' would desecrate or Guru so to prevent that no woman is allowed at all.

Has the panth even moved away from old brahminical thinking at all??


AMRITSAR: Issue of gender equality in Sikhism has surfaced after Sikh diaspora wondered why women are not allowed to perform kirtan in sanctum sanctorum of Golden Temple.

While a few Sikh scholars have appealed to Jahtedar of Akal Takht to intervene and ensure that women are given equal rights , the others have blamed on prevailing patriarchal social system among Sikhs'. However Jathedar maintains stoic silence on the issue.

While talking to TOI on Wednesday Balvinder Kaur Saundh, Chair of Sikh women alliance, UK, said "I have been saying for past twenty years that Guru Nanak and our religion gave us equality. It is the men who have interpreted it to suit themselves to control our religious scriptures"

She said that women should be allowed to do kirtan in Golden Temple beside other sewa including giving shoulder to palki.

"All women groups should be allowed to do kirtan and take part in all the services" she said .

Saundh said generally it is said that 'women menstruate so they are unclean'. "My challenge has been that if women didn't have their monthly periods, would you men have been born? Adding that women take bath in the morning, put on clean clothes and look after their personal hygiene as men do. We are as capable as men to do kirtan sewa" she said.

UK based Sikh scholor who has done PhD in Sikh Studies, Kamalroop Singh said "Guru Nanak Dev had said why call her bad who gives birth to great people" He appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh to not make women 'bad' by not letting them sing the praises of Waheguru. Singh was of view that Sikh religion was founded on the concept of unity and equality. "Therefore it is totally wrong that women are not allowed to do kirtan or duties as scriptural readers at Golden Temple".

He said there was a long list of female contributors to Sikh religion. "It is against precepts of the Gurus to prevent women singing kirtan in sanctum sanctorum of Golden Temple" he said.

Malaysia based humanitarian aid organizer of United Sikhs Rishiwant Singh said that the Sikh religion was the most modern religion in the world and was based on equality of gender, race, religion, caste and creed. "There is no question whether women should be allowed to do sewa of kirtan or not" he said.

US based prominent Sikh activist Rajwant Singh said Guru Nanak spoke about the rights of the women in society and had advocated their full participation in all aspects of society. "What we have discovered is that Sikh women have played an important and critical role in strengthening the journey of the Sikh faith for the last 500 years. The first Sikh was Bebe Nanki, and she played a key role in organizing the community during its infancy, also supporting her brother, Guru Nanak Dev. Similarly, Mata Khivi, who is the only Sikh woman mentioned in the Sikh scriptures, is the main person who popularized langar, a vegetarian community meal which is still in practice. Her daughter, Bibi Amro, was also installed as a Sikh preacher by Guru Amardas, the third Sikh guru."

Strangely when contacted Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh said "I have no opinion on this issue".

- Times of India
 

RD1

Writer
SPNer
Sep 26, 2016
361
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How can the Jethedar Akal Takht have no opinion on this issue? It's his duty to have an opinion and uphold tenets of Sikhi including equality.
I do not know much about Jathedars, that system, what exactly their role is - something I have to look more in to. However, from my understanding, they are supposed to be like leaders. It makes no sense at all that someone holding such a position would not do their utmost to ensure that these very basic Sikh teachings are being practiced. Equality is such a crucial part of Skhism. How can this guy be a Jathedar?? What exactly are these peoples' intentions??? How is it that Sikhism seems to be most corrupted in the land that it originated??? How can such people call themselves Sikh? Their backwardness portrays a false image of Sikhism to the world. Its spitting in the face of Sikhi.

I remember a friend of mine went to touch Palki Sahib as procession passed (female) and the reaction was hinged between anger and outright disgust by Singhs in the vicinity and one of the sewadars approaches her husband and told him to 'control his Singhni'
Totally patriarchal - a system that our Gurus worked to dismantle.
I understand that patriarchy is complex. A lot has happened in Punjab, a lot of turmoil - from the Mughals, to the British colonizing, to the current Indian government - which has shaped the current circumstances. However, our guide, the SGGSJ has persisted. And we must strive to live by these universal teachings.

There is a huge control over Darbar Sahib by groups like sant samaj and Taksalis and yes they do view menstruation as meaning we are impure / unclean. It's even written in Taksalis own Rehet Maryada. This despite the fact that Sikh Rehet Maryada is supposed to be the only accepted one by Akal Takht. I had a Taksali Singh once tell me that a woman sitting so close to maharaj Ji in Darbar Sahib, with 'stinking blood wafting about' would desecrate or Guru so to prevent that no woman is allowed at all.
Do these people realize that without women with healthy, natural, normally functioning reproductive systems, none of them would exist at all?! How come these Hindu and Islam type of beliefs have crept back into Sikhi? Really, what do these people believe Sikh teachings actually are?

The good thing is that these issues of equality are starting to come out, more awareness is spreading about them, and with more people becoming aware, change can happen.
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Jul 21, 2012
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Why Sikh Women Are Not Allowed To Sing Kirtan At Golden Temple?
By The Canadian Parvasi
Why Sikh women are not allowed to sing kirtan at Golden Temple?

WASHINGTON: A Sikh youth gurmat camp here has demanded why women are not allowed to perform kirtan at the Golden Temple.

The week-long Camp Gurmat organized by the Washington-based Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (GGSF) discussed why Sikhs have ignored gender equality so forcefully espoused by Guru Nanak.

Over 120 Sikh children from ages 7-17 from the US and Canada took part in the annual camp last week.
Highlighting the historical role of women in Sikhism, Dr. Rajwant Singh said, “Women have played a critical role in strengthening the Sikh faith for the last 500 years. The first Sikh was Bebe Nanki who played a key role in organizing the community during its infancy and supporting her brother Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Similarly, Mata Khivi, the only Sikh woman mentioned in the Sikh scriptures, is the main person who popularized langar, a vegetarian community meal which is still in practice. Her daughter, Bibi Amro, was also installed as a Sikh preacher by Guru Amar Das, the third Sikh guru.’’

Dr Singh added, “It is clear from the many other historical references that Sikh women were crucial to the success of th

e world’s fifth largest religion and it is extremely important that we give them their deserving role in Sikh affairs, especially being able to sing shabads or hymns at the very heart of Sikhism in Darbar Sahib or the Golden Temple.’’

Gagan Kaur Narang, an IT professional, said, “Being a Sikh woman, this year’s theme was very close to my heart. It gave us an opportunity to explore the most important Sikh value – equality for all! It was amazing to see our young Singhs and Kaurs get excited about learning more and more about our brave and courageous historical and contemporary Kaurs.’’

She told the Sikh community to “get ready to be challenged by Guru Gobind Singh’s sons and daughters who will question the status quo and help us all grow closer to the vision of our Gurus – equality for all. We request all parents to continue to foster the Sikh value of equality in your children. They are watching you and learning so please be watchful of your actions.’’

Priya Kaur Narang, an aspiring health professional, said, “We should recognize the brave Kaurs in our history for their contributions, and not for their relationship (mother, sister, daughter, etc.) to someone else. As Sikhs, we need to not only preach the Gurus’ message and equality, but also practice it to the best of our ability. And this includes speaking up when we see inequality in our houses, gurdwaras, and communities so we can be better represent the Sikh faith.”

Sehejneet Kaur, one of the counsellors who is pursuing health field, said, “Sikh women in our history carry such power and strength, yet the majority of the population doesn’t know the role they played in shaping the Panth. Sikhism is feminist at its very core, and if you believe in the Sikh principles and Guru Nanak’s values, you are inherently a feminist. However, we are afraid because of the stigma that comes with the word `feminist’. But being a feminist just means you believe that every being on this earth is equal and should be treated as such, and this is what our gurus believed. Sikhism is gender less, so why do some Sikhs think it is okay to go against what our Gurus preached and practice Sikhism with a sexist mind?”

Tejpaul Singh of Stockton who taught Gatka to the campers, said, “Punjabi culture has polluted the minds of Sikhs everywhere to a point where dowry, female infanticide and the objectification of women have become normal in everyday thoughts and language. We need to stop treating women like they are slaves, property, or burdens on our families and treat them like queens and warriors; just as our gurus continuously remind us to.”

During the entire week, Sikh youth recited the theme shabad “So Kion Munda Aakhiye, Jit Jamey Raajaan” written by Guru Nanak and discussed it in detail.
 

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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Jul 4, 2004
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KUALA LUMPUR MALAYSIA
There is widespread notion that Guru nanak ji bestows "Equality" on women via his often quoted Gurbani..So Kion manda Kahyeeah..Jit jammeh Raajaan !!!

My opinion is that Guru ji has not bestowed "equality"........BUT in Fact RAISED WOMAN even ABOVE MAN !! How can a Woman who gives birth to Raajaan ( not just Kings or Emperors..but Rajjeh Hoyeh,,meaning Contented ) be simply EQUAL to her offspring...MOTHER is way above her offspring !!!

Throughout the SGGS...all 35 composers of GURBANI..including Guru Nanak Ji sahib write in the FEMALE GENDER...making Guru Nanak ji the First FEMINIST...all Gurbani is in the form of WIFE....

So Sardarni Jios..STOP admitting that you are EQUAL: to the Sardar Jis..Guru Ji raises YOU HIGHER !!! Celebrate
 

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