Currently Browsing: Sikhi
Raising Kaurs
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Source: Miss Representation (click to enlarge)

Today is International Women’s Day and while our attention often (and rightfully) focuses on ways to improve the lives of women and children living across the globe, it should also be a time to reflect on ways we can positively influence the lives of young girls growing up all around us.

As the Masito an amazing seven-year-old girl, it’s been on my mind how important these formative years are for ensuring that my niece feels confident in who she is. I recently watched a documentary called Miss Representation (click here to see the trailer) which discusses the role the media plays in being both the message and messenger in the portrayal of young girls and women – one that is often negative. Quite honestly, the documentary scared me – how can we control what messages young men and women receive? American teenagers get approximately 10 hours of media consumption a day – that’s an awful lot of messages that they need to digest and make sense of. As one expert notes in the film, “little boys and little girls, when they’re seven years old, in equal number want to be President of the United States when they grow up. But then you ask the same question when they’re fifteen and you see this massive gap emerging.” The film includesfootage from a focus group of teenagers discussing media and the consequences. They speak of their low self-esteem, their anxieties, their sheer anger and frustration. I’m not even a mother and yet i worry.

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March 14th, Sikh Vatavaran Diwas (Environment Day) 2012

Sikhs around the world will come together again to celebrate the Gurdgaddi of Guru Har Rai Ji again SikhVatavaran Diwas (environment day) for a second year in a row. On this day, Gurdwaras worldwide will focus kirtan and katha on the concept of kudrat, and participate in a number of hands on activities to protect our environment.

Ask your Gurdwara to participate by:

  • Focusing kirtan and katha on nature
  • Hosting the Khalsa School Lesson on the Environment, created by the Sikh Research Institute
  • Participating in a cleanup, tree planting, or childrens activity

All resources will be available on the EcoSikh website. Participating Gurdwaras should register to keep a database on worldwide activities, and respond with a Yes on the Facebook invitation.

The purpose of Sikh Vatavaran Diwas is to bring Khalsa Panth together on issues of the environment. With Punjab ranking twenty-seventh out of thirty states in the environmental performance index (EPI), the need for Sikhs to connect Gurbani to the issues around them is real. The contamination of soil, land and water from intensive agricultural production remain high on the list of Punjabs ecological challenges, in addition to industrial pollution and solid waste, low forest cover, and air pollution from thermal plants.

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Sikhi Is Part of the Solution: Ending Gendercide

Gendercide is a well-known problem in India. The BBC and ABC 20/20 have highlighted this issue. The low sex-ratio in Punjab, India shows how the soil, which gave birth to Sikhi is not devoid of this problem. The land on which our Gurus proclaimed the equality of women when others considered her impure has now become the dumping ground for unwanted baby girls. Their pure bodies are thrown onto piles of garbage for dogs to nibble away. Dead fetuses are stuffed into water wells.

A seminal research study conducted by Monica Das Gupta on selective discrimination against female children in Punjab states that Punjabi Sikh women are highly educated and well-treated in Punjab compared to other states. The harsh reality is that a rise in status has not changed the value of women. Women can be loved and cared for, but still under valued. They can be highly educated and treated well, but families want one of these daughters not two. But two sons would be okay. The value of daughters and sons is displayed when couples develop family-building strategies. How many children to have? If we have one daughter or two, will we be content with another daughter? Should we have only one son? Studies show that common answers to these questions are strongly rooted in a distorted value system, which reinforces the secondary status of women and allows for structures to be created to perpetuate this inequity. Thus, value systems and structures produce a circular cycle of mutually reinforcing each other.

The Sikh Gurus gifted us a value system that does not permit this secondary status of women. However, many have chosen not to implement it in their lives. It has even seeped its way into how Sikhi is practiced. Women are not allowed to do all kinds of seva at the Harmandar Sahib and our granthis/ragis kathaa most often highlight how a Sikh woman went to the Guru to request only a son.

If Sikhi is a key element to any solution for gendercide within the Punjabi Sikh community, wouldnt kathaa/sikhyaa in the Gurdwara be the most logical place to start? We do enter the house of our Guru to understand and reinforce our Sikh value system.

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A Glimpse Inside the Darbar Sahib and the Role of Women

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This video, part of a longer version produced for the Discovery Channel, invites viewers inside the Darbar Sahib in Amritsar [via Gurumustuk Singh]. It’s a rare opportunity to see some remarkable moments inside the complex and apparently this is the first time it has been televised. I believe it was recently shown in India and will be shown worldwide soon.

Some thoughts after the jump…

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Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Sahib!

From all of us here at The Langar Hall, wishing you a very happy and inspired Gurpurab.

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Sikhs Occupying Wall Street

In October I wrote a piece about Sikhs and the Occupy Wall Street movement, stating, “I havent seen one other person who was easily identifiable as a Sikh. Im sure other Sikhs have come through at different times, but to be sure, this is no significant Sikh presence.” I am glad to report that this has most definitely changed. I see Singhs and Kaurs at Zuccotti Park aka Liberty Square almost every time I am down there (which is quite often!). In fact, one day last week, there were six turbans in Liberty Square at one time. Needless to say, I was pretty excited, and proud.

"Occupy Yoga" at Liberty Square

In my last post, I made an argument for why Sikhs should be supportive of the Occupy Together movements from a Sikh philosophical perspective, discussing the Khalsa revolution’s “plebian mission,” as Jagjit Singh calls it, and our Gurus’ calls to stand with the poor, the “lowest of the low.”

This time I want to focus less on the ideology and more on the process of Occupy Wall Street, on what is actually happening there.

The primary decision-making body at Occupy Wall Street (and most of the other Occupy movements) is the General Assembly, which is a large gathering run by consensus process (technically modified consensus where a 9/10 vote is needed to pass a proposal if consensus cannot be reached). In NYC’s Occupy Wall Street movement, we have just adopted an additional consensus-based model for decision-making called a spokes council, where each working group or caucus will have a “spoke” in the large wheel of the movement, and each group will have to rotate its spoke for each meeting to ensure collectivity and prevent hierarchies.

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Challenge the Darkness for the [Unheard] Voices of Punjab

03.jpgThis week, Ensaaf launched their Challenge the Darkness campaign. The aim of the campaign is to remember human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalraand bring awareness to the mass state crimes committed in Punjab, India from 1984 to 1995. At the end of the month, Ensaaf and the Khalra Mission Organisation will participate in a series of events to remember Khalra’s abduction, torture, illegal detention, and murder. We’ll update you on these events as information comes our way.

Post-1984 memory is often forgotten and yet hundreds of thousands of human rights abuses have been documented in Punjab during the 1984 to 1995 period when the Indian government ordered counterinsurgency operations that led to the detention, torture and enforced disappearance of thousands of Sikhs. Police abducted young Sikh men on suspicion that they were involved in militancy, often in the presence of witnesses, yet later denied having them in custody. See the Human Rights Watch Photo Essay here.

Director General of Police KPS Gill expanded upon a system of rewards and incentives for police to capture and kill militants, leading to a dramatic increase in disappearances and extrajudicial executions. By the end of the “Decade of Disappearances” in 1995, security forces had disappeared or killed tens of thousands of Sikhs. In order to cover up their crimes, Punjab security forces illegally detained, tortured, and killed human rights defenders such as Jaswant Singh Khalra and Sukhwinder Singh Bhatti, as well as secretly cremated thousands of victims of extrajudicial executions. [via Ensaaf]

In September 1995, Punjab police abducted human rights defender Jaswant Singh Khalra from his home for his discovery of thousands of illegal killings and secret cremations by the Punjab police. At the end of this post, you can view two videos depicting the events leading up to and of his disappearance.

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Sikh Identity: Separate but Equal?

Guest blogged by Birpal Kaur

Over this past weekend there was an article published in the Los Angeles Times of the experiences of Sikh women and maintaining kesh. This article addresses the journey and relationship with kesh, looking at societal pressures as well as a personal journey, and in this case, it happened to be my journey. The article idea was born out of a series of conversations I had with a reporter with the LA Times. I would also like to reiterate that this article is not about me as a representative of any Sikh organization I am part of.

Most of the feedback I have received has been complimentary, though some has been accusatory and judgmental. For all the commentary: Thank you for time, the words, and the emotionswhether I agree with it or not. My major concern, however, does not come from the extremely personal nature of the story you read, it comes from the fact that I felt misrepresented, and the issue highlighted was misrepresented. The last 48 hours or so I have been thinking about why, and that is what I would like to share.

My major concern is that the entire concept of hair removal is framed around men and marriage. This is problematic. Whereas the overall idea of double-standards concerning men and women is not a new oneI do not believe that there is only one person, or gender to blame. Perhaps it is what manifests as the topical problem, but the issues around hair removal and Sikh women are not, and should not be limited to this scope. My journey and struggles with my kesh seem to be conveniently minimized to be about men. The androcentric way that the issue of hair removal solely exists in a space with men and marriage is demeaning and incorrect as a reflection of my personal journey.

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The Sacred Thread: Its All In the Head

Guest blogged by Gurchit Singh. Gurchit is a 16-year-old aspiring activist (in his own words) who submitted this piece (his first) to The Langar Hall. Raksha Bandan was last Saturday, August 13th.

Oh the joys of Raksha Bandan! The air is filled with love, family members are conversing and munching on a plethora of sweets, hugs and kisses are being ecstatically extended to any and all family members the overemotional-mother can seem to get her loving arms around, and the overall mood in the home is one which many families can only dream of experiencing on a daily basis. Unfortunately, these loving moments only further promote a holiday which demotes women and opposes aspects of Sikhism itself.

While occupying myself with Facebook and sipping warm milk on the morning of Raksha Bandan, I was going through my daily routine of checking any notifications I may have received from the prior night. After reading many generic Raksha Bandan-related salutations, I finally came across one that actually defined what it was actually aimed at achieving: Raksha Bandhan is a festival which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. The ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother’s wrist. This symbolizes the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her. While reading this definition, the two phrases that IMMEDIATELY jumped out at me were sacred thread, which conjured an instant connection to one of Guru Nanak Dev Jis earliest forms of rebellion against what he believed aimless and biased: the Janeu ( the full Sakhi can be referenced here), and brothers lifelong vow to protect her, which called forth an image of a frail young woman constantly relying on her brother for protection from external occurrences.

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UK Sikhs Gather to Protect Gurdwaras from Riots

Guest blogged by Naujawani Sardar

article_2024358_0D5EFEA800000578_724_634x312.jpgRiots have hit London and a few other cities in the UK over the last three nights causing mayhem, destroying property and leading to looting. Tonight, hundreds of Sikhs are gathering to defend the Gurdware in these cities should they fall under the eye of the looters. It is bringing together Sikhs of all backgrounds and affiliations;promising a glimmer of hopefrom an otherwise horrible situation.

To find out more about this mobilisation of Sikhs, go to theSikh Riot Awareness UK page.

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The trigger has been widely recognised as the shooting of a 29 year old black man Mark Duggan in the Tottenham area of North London. 48 hours after his shooting, members of his family, friends and the wider community congregated outside Tottenham Police Station to protest at what they saw as the heavy-handed action of the London Metropolitan Police and the unhelpful communication from them about the matter in the following days. At this gathering of about some 300 protestors, a relatively minor confrontation between a teenager and the Police is said to have ignited running battles that ensued well into the night. A double decker bus was set alight and 49 fires were being dealt with by morning. But more importantly, as a sign of things to come, shops selling household goods, sportswear, toiletries and glasses were looted with CCTV images capturing hooded individuals taking away trollies laden with items.

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Khuli Dhari: My Journey to Beard Liberation

My childhood was full of insecurity and self-doubt, the result of years of harassment, taunts, and jokes about the ball/rag/tomato/towel/etc. on my head as a turban-wearing child. My insecurities, however, began to shift (or expand) as puberty hit.  Let’s call it facial hair anxiety.

At first, having a moustache grow in at a young age wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, I passed as much older than I was, which was nice for a scrawny brown kid like me.

But soon enough, the complex around my dhari (beard) settled in, and no amount of time with a thatha tied tightly around my head was ever enough to totally alleviate my beard insecurities.

Surrounded by peers for whom shaving was a rite of passage into manhood, it’s not surprising that I felt a little left out (though to be clear, the idea of a razor on my face never sounded so pleasant). Further, I was inundated with the voices of young women in my school casually referring to facial hair as gross or unattractive (with no intention to hurt my feelings I’m sure) and their preference for guys who were “clean-shaven.”

CLEAN-shaven. The implication being that facial hair is…dirty?

These are the messages we get from our peers and from the media every day. So naturally I assumed it was highly unlikely that any of my female classmates would ever be interested in dating someone like me. The combination of a dirty face plus a patka was enough to cause a whole lot of anxiety and insecurity for this angsty teenage Singh.

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On Being a Sikh Woman

Guest blogged by Neesha Meminger

Admin note:In an effort tofurther cultivate the conversation on Faith and Feminism within the Sikh community, panelistsfrom the Open Heart/Closed Fist event in NYC will share their thoughts with us. Tolearn more about the panel, please read Sikh Women Speak Out on Faith and Feminism.

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2303941_md.jpgI walked away from our panel with mixed feelings. On the one hand how exhilarating to sit in a room full of South Asian men and women and put a spotlight on the thoughts and experiences of Sikh women! I tried to remember when I ever sat in a room like that and spent two hours or more talking about what it means to be a Sikh woman and the importance of that in my life never mind the validation by others I barely knew or had just met. The fact that this space was created at all was enough to leave me feeling full, and bursting with the need to create more such spaces and conversations.

On the other hand, I realized, from some of the questions asked, that we are just at the beginnings of this dialogue. I have a lot of faith in our community, because I believe that out of all the other spaces in my life, this is where an honest conversation can take place; one that not only encompasses politics and radical discourse, but spirituality, as well. For if not here, where?

Sikhi was built, in part, on challenging the status quo. The founders of the faith were outraged at the injustices of their time and spoke up for the voiceless. They took to arms for the defenseless. The other, perhaps bigger, part was the right to own ones own relationship with god to not entrust a middle person to interpret the word of god and to seek enlightenment from within. Sat Nam: Truth be thy name is one of the first teachings that resonated deeply for me. It encourages us to seek out the truth because that is where we find god. The relationship to the Divine is a deeply personal for everyone, and Sikhi acknowledges that the Almighty is neither male nor female, without image, without form. This, along with the fact that caste was rejected, and social equality upheld as a goal, allowed a gateway for all to worship as one, while owning their own spirituality.

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Musings on Sikh Education

A Pakistani friend of mine from Lahore passed on a video about a 70 year old man named Mushtaq Ahmed from a Punjabi village near Gujranwala, who just complete his MPhil and will be starting his PhD soon in Education.

With five daughters and three sons, Mushtaq Ahmed completes all his necessary farm work, including working in the field and managing and livestock, while carrying his books with him. His plans are ambitious: to go to the university and teach, because for him, Being a Muslim, we should get education from cradle to grave.

Heres the clip:

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I couldnt help think about how this applies to our community. My intention here is not to distinguish from people who are parrd or unparrd or the class implications this has in the Sikh community in Punjab and the Diaspora. (Ive met many unparrd/’uneducated’ people who were far wiser than those who were parrd/educated in some of the most expensive universities in the Diaspora and in the watan. I don’t like those terms myself but just laying out what’s what.) From a Sikh point of view this type of distinction is quite counter productive and has nothing to do with living a life that is Guru-centered.

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Oh How I Hate the Bookstore

Really I don’t. Although independent bookstores are often preferable (I swear I am not a hipster), sometimes even Barnes and Noble (see a hipster would never go there!) or Borders (are they even in business?) will do.

Since I was a kid though, I would always look for books that might have anything remotely to do with Sikhi. The closest we get in our American bookstores are some comprehensive book on religion, usually in the bargain section, and written by some crackpot. This one is presented to you by a professor at Cambridge (@blighty, where you at?)

Oh the bane of my childhood. Then as in now – this is what we get.

Here is the cover….

book_cover1.jpgOk, fair enough, nothing really wrong about that. So now let us flip the the chapter on Sikhi. Let’s see what we find….

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand there we go….first sentence! When can we move beyond this? The community has. When will academics and other popular writers move beyond this disinformation that later does get parroted by young Sikhs. Suggestions?

For those interested. The professor’s email address can be found here and his facebook page here. Maybe we can message him? DO IT RESPECTFULLY!!!!!! WE ARE JUST INFORMING, NOT ACCUSING!

SAFAR Call for Proposals

Guest blogged by Pataka

SafarLogo_institute.pngThe intersections between Sikhism, gender issues, and academia have always been tenuous and fragile ones. As other posts on this blog have mentioned, there have been some recent pushes to democratize academic research as well as examine and undo the longstanding patriarchy which has surrounded academia in general by including discussions of gender politics as well as Sikh women scholars. For more information on SAFAR take a look at previous posts on this issue or visit their website: www.sikhfeministresearch.org .

The latest initiative on democratizing research for the people is SAFAR: The Sikh Feminist Research Institute’s inaugural conference “Our Journeys” which takes place in Toronto on October 1st, 2011. The new deadline for submitting abstracts is July 15th, 2011. Please forward the information below, submit, and attend!

Our Journeys Conference 2011

On October 1st, 2011, SAFAR The Sikh Feminist Research Institute will host a one-day conference entitled Our Journeys Conference 2011 at The Centre for Women’s Studies in Education (CWSE), Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE), University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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150+ Revolutionaries – Answering a Lalkaar

Guest-blogged by Mewa Singh. Mewa Singh is a sevadar with the Jakara Movement.

Previously, here in The Langar Hall, there was a discussion by Navdeep Singh on an important panel discussion, held in NYC, on faith, feminism, and Sikhi. Brooklynwala had asked for a comment and report about Lalkaar 2011, and I am more than happy to oblige.

However, before getting into that, I wanted to strongly encourage our Sikh youth sangat throughout California to come to Fresno/Kerman this coming weekend for an amazing opportunity. While most Sikh organizations depend on large contributions by high-fly financiers with their own set of pre-conditions, Sikh youth organizations such as the Jakara Movement and the Sikh Activist Network do not. The Jakara Movement’s biggest donors are its own members, making small contributions and the sweat and blood of its own members that come every year to sell fireworks. This is truly grassroots, where the youth give their own labor for causes and projects they love. Check out the video, follow the facebook event page to sign up, and then click below the fold for my report on Lalkaar 20111.

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Remembering 84: Our Rhyme and Reason

Today we remember twenty seven years since June 1984.

We remember twenty seven years since Indira Gandhi sent the Indian Army tanks and artillery to the Darbar Sahib Complex and forty one Gurdwaras across Punjab on the shaheedpurab of Guru Arjan Dev Ji.

We remember twenty seven years since bodies lined the hot marble of the parkarma. Though Government reports indicate 493 civilian deaths and 83 army casualties, eyewitness accounts suggest the numbers were much higher since 10,000 pilgrims and 1300 workers were unable to flee the Darbar Sahib complex on this day.

We remember twenty seven years since books, manuscripts and other documents have been reported missing from the Sikh Reference Library numbering 10,534. The library which was intact on June 6th had been burnt down by June 14th. In April 2004, many of these writings, which included handwritten manuscripts were reported to be in the hands of the Union Government where they remain today.

We remember twenty seven years since the events that spurred the November 1984 pogroms and the government lead counter-insurgency in Punjab which left a generation of 25,000 missing.

We remember twenty seven years since Sikh women (and men) learned too well that coercion does not just come from tanks and artillery – that sexual violence can be a systematic and deliberate weapon of the State.

We remember twenty seven years since Punjab was left a political climate that hid the state’s impending agrarian crisis and its interrelated manifestations of farmer suicides, drug addiction and gendercide, even when reports as early as the 1985 Johl Report warned that the farming sector was faltering and the real need to diversify crops from the standard wheat-paddy rotation.

We remember the impact this had on the Sikh Diaspora, the communities New York, California and Canada, and the tireless nights many of our fathers and mothers spent out, mobilizing themselves even as recent immigrants with young daughters and sons.

We are a community that is well versed in Remembrance.

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Sada Safar

Guest blogged by Adi Shakti Kaur

For as long as I can remember, I can envision the imprints of patriarchy within the Guruduaras (Sikh spaces of worship). The Guru, was more than sacred scriptures; more than a living embodiment of the word; more than a Guru, who took us from darkness to light; but a portal for us to connect to our own Divinity, a genderless form that was beyond the simple, human constructions of defining, labeling and understanding. But in the Gurus Darbar (court of the Guru), it was brimming with gendered representations. The examples of patriarchy in Guruduaras are monolithic – every role in the Guru Darbar is dominated by men, from the giving of prashad to the katha vichar. Sikhi emerged out of a cultural, political, economic and social period that privileged the masculine gender, and of course patriarchy (as well as other hierarchical constructions).

The revolutionary stance that Sikhi took on the existing beliefs challenged all aspects of the zeitgeist during the Guru period. I articulate this now as a grown woman who has had the honour of a lifelong relationship with Sikhi, with Sikh institutions and with Sikhs, and who also has had the privilege of critically engaging in the world around her, particularly through her academic pursuits. In most Guruduaras, I have had the sacred opportunity to enter, I have been greeted by scenes staged with men occupying the privileged positions in the Guru Darbar, in the langar hall and in seva roles. When the stage is constantly set with masculine representations of Sikhs, from the physical men before me to the Gurus who established and nurtured Sikhi into its current status as a world religion, I never really considered that there was an institutional space for me, for my sister, for my mother, and any Sikh woman to occupy. And for many Sikh women that male privilege extends into their homes and extended families (thankfully there are anomalies like my parents).

As I delved further into Sikhi, I saw an opening for my feminine identity. The Gurus, starting with Guru Nanak Dev Ji, not only placed value in my sex and gendered identity, but honoured us with our everpresent Kaur title. The cultural, economic, political, and social backdrop is still patriarchy, no matter how you present the egalitarian and feminist interpretations inherent in Sikh philosophy, men were privileged, men were hyper visible and that tradition continues today in the majority of Sikh institutions (including the Guruduaras) and communities. Now that I am far removed from my childhood nave absorption of the Sikh spaces around me, absorbing the patriarchy of my spiritual space, how do I carve out the egalitarian and feminist standpoints as a grown woman, as a mother to my daughter, so Kaurs can begin to chip away at the institutionalized patriarchal vantage position given to the masculine?

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Journeys with Kabir

Earlier this week I went to a screening of the film Koi Sunta Hai, one of four documentaries produced by the Kabir Project, an expansive music and film project directed by Shabnam Virani.

In their own words:

The Kabir project brings together the experiences of a series of ongoing journeys in quest of this 15th century North Indian mystic poet in our contemporary worlds. Started in 2003, these journeys inquire into the spiritual and socio-political resonances of Kabirs poetry through songs, images andconversations.

We journey through a stunning diversity of social, religious and musical traditions which Kabir inhabits, exploring how his poetry intersects with ideas of cultural identity, secularism, nationalism, religion, death, impermanence, folk and oral knowledge systems.

I first learned about The Kabir Project a couple of years ago when they did a screening several clips from the films in Jackson Heights, Queens and featured a stirring performance by folk musician Prahlad Tipaniya, who is featured in the films. I was deeply moved and inspired by the films’ (and musicians’) explorations of Bhagat Kabir’s bani, and especially by the way the filmmaker and artists highlight the Kabir’s powerful message in the face of of contemporary manifestations of sectarian violence, caste oppression, and religious and national tensions in South Asia.

I was inspired again this week in watching Koi Sunta Hai, which highlights the Kabir-oriented journey of classical musician Kumar Gandharva. Kumarji, as he is referred to with admiration in the film, was a child prodigy classical Hindustani singer who developed an illness (the film says TB, Wikipedia says lung cancer) as a young man that forced him to not sing a note for five years. In that time of his world being turned upside down and his profession and main form of expression indefinitely at a halt, he began to hear singers from very non-classically trained backgrounds — folk singers, “common” people — singing the poetry of Kabir. This began to change his entire approach to music, spirituality, and life. The below clip from the film explains more about Kabir’s poetry and Kumarji’s relationship to it.

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The Roar of a Lioness: Sikh Women in the Diaspora

Our mothers and grandmothers would be proud. If we take a moment to pause, we’ll see the amazing mobilization that is occurring in the diaspora around Sikh women’s issues, particularly by youth. I’m not quite sure if it is a legit rise in websites or events or whether we are simply paying more attention to the topic. Regardless, it is clear that there are now more forums and platforms for discussion cultivating the need for women (and men!) to come together and address issues affecting Half the Sky. This post will give a round-up of some amazing work that is happening in our community, bringing together our qaum to discuss important issues affecting Sikh women.

logo300.jpg{Kaurista} It is clear that Sikh women, like all women around the world, value an open space to discuss issues that directly impact us. Whether it is conversations about clothes, hair, identity or our activism – there needs to exist a space that is catered to providing Sikh girls and women with a sense of unity. This type of comraderie cannot be understated – it impacts an individual’s self esteem and confidence in a substantial way. With the launch of Kaurista.com and the immediate posting of the link all over Facebook, it is hard not to notice how much support there is for this type of forum. Kaurista provides conversations on six different topics including, Lifestyle, Style & Beauty, Family, Inspiration and Health & Wellness. One of my favourite sections of the website is “Ask Kaurista” where questions related to wanting to marry a sardar, going to prom, or overcoming alcohol abuse are answered. The site is not only aimed at Sikh girls. In fact, it actively includes Sikh men in discussions – and perhaps the hope is that through these types of discussions, Sikh men will value how truly dynamic Sikh women are!

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