Thursday, October 26, 2006

How do Sikh women fair when compared to other faiths?

I was shocked when I read the following news story about some Sheikh making comments about women and blaming them for all the problems. But I do think that with all of the Islamic and Hindu influences in Punjab over time on Sikhs, a similar mentality exists within some members of Sikh community in Punjab as well even though Sikh Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib instructs people to show equal respect, dignity, compassion towards women . This blame game may not be to the extent of majority societies, but it definitely is there. Lets take the case of female foeticide which recently been so much in the news, inspite of Sikh Jethedars are trying to convince people against it, but the system and policies of the Indian government are set up in such a way that when it comes to lower caste people and women, it seems like applying a small bandage to a huge cut. The religious values are pushed aside in the name of secularism and the women are blamed for having abortions, even though it is the problem of dowry custom during marriage, mentality of majority Hindu men towards women that they be treated like husband lords by women in homes, lack of job opportunities even though educational opportunities are there for women and just the general mentality of superiority of men over women. The question I ask is, if Gurus treated them equal and wanted their Sikhs to treat them equal and show respect, compassion and dignity, how can we be superior to them? If we disrespect women and children, we are disrespecting the Guru, it is that plain and simple and are not really following Sikhi. I don’t remember the exact quote, the date or author, but I was reading an article in Tribune India newspaper last month where one of the Punjabi Sikh author wrote that Sikh women are not asserting their Guru given right to them, when it comes to raising kids the Sikh way, education, dowry, marriage and jobs. Now I agree with that 100%. As for this article, it is sad what is happening and I wish women would get up and assert their rights no matter what faith. After all it is a God given right. I like one the lines that a Dhadi Jathas last week said at our local Gurdwara on Bandi Chorr Diwas. He said something like that for “Sikhs, it is a sin to rule by tyranny, but it is equally a sin to live under tyranny”.


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