Blind organizations make many invisible

SCORE has already come under scrutiny here in The Langar Hall, and I don’t wish to scrutinize the entire organization further. But their list of honorees from the 2008 Heritage Dinner does deserve some attention. This year, the following individuals were honored:

women_making_langar.JPG1. Sandeep Singh Caberwal, a Sikh entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and a model, wears a turban, has a beard and was chosen by designer Kenneth Cole in its recent fashion campaign

2. Ms. Tami Yeager and Preetmohan Singh for their film documentary A Dream in Doubt, which explores the real life story of Rana Singh Sodhis family, whose brother was murdered as the first hate crime victim in AZ in the 9/11 aftermath

3. Darshpreet Singh, a recent graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. was co-captain of the Mens Basketball team and fan favorite, and believed to be the only turbaned Sikh to play in a National college basketball game

4. Dr. Jagjit Singh Khalsa is the Chief of Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse at the US National Institutes of Health

5. Gurvendra Singh Suri, founder & CEO Optimal Solutions Integration, Inc., a successful technology consulting Company in Dallas, TX

6. Raghbir Singh Subhanpur, business owner from New York and President of New York Shiromani Akali Dal was honored with Community Service award

7. Surinder Singh Chawla, Nassau County Human Rights Commissioner, was honored for Social Activism and Service

8. Ro Khanna, an Indian American political activist from California was also honored for his role in supporting Sikh issues. [link]

Readers, what strikes you as odd about this list? . . . The only woman recognized is American. How is it possible that no Sikh women made any noteworthy contributions to the Sikh or American community in the past year? (There seems to be an attempt to recognize contributions to both Sikh and American, non-Sikh communities.) Let me tell you- its not.

SCORE does seem to have honored women in past years- Ranbir Kaur (a young Sikh woman who joined the American army) and Ms. Kanwal Bajaj (an entrepreneur) have pictures included amongst an array of past honorees on their website. But two honorees out of dozens in the course of at least four years hardly qualifies as equal recognition.

This surely unintentional oversight highlights how invisible womens contributions to our community often are. This may partially be because Sikh women often choose to contribute in ways that arent normally highlighted by media. (There’s a good paper on this by Tej Purewal that I can’t find at the moment, but I’ll post on if/when i do find it.) But that cant be the only reason for the oversight in this case, because an entrepreneur (#5) and a doctor (#4) were honored for their career-work. Maybe these men made other contributions that werent reported in the article, but I guarantee there are women making similar contributions. Unfortunately, this lack of recognition of women in our community (which occurs on a much broader scale than any one organization) is one major factor fueling atrocities like sex-selective abortion. I’m not saying women should be given empty awards just for the sake of receiving awards, but if recognition is given, then the contributions of half of the community shouldn’t be ignored.

The Kaur Foundation, whose goal of project[ing] a positive Sikh identity seems similar to SCOREs, also held a gala this past Friday. And from the websites pictures at least, it seemed that a better mixture of genders were honored (the Singh Twins, and Nikki Guninder Kaur were included, though these may be from a past “gala”). The Kaur Foundation actually beat out SCORE with its price per plate- $145-$175 compared to SCOREs $125- making it virtually impossible for any Sikh I know to actually attend. Apparently, in order to project a positive Sikh identity, one first has to be wealthy.

Are barriers other than gender also a limitation to recognition from organizations such as SCORE and the Kaur Foundation? Why wasnt Sukhvir Singh, a role model for us all after being viciously attacked by a passenger, recognized for his gracious, forgiving attitude? He had a huge impact- virtually reformed- an individual who once believed Sikhs to be terrorists, and educated the Seattle community about Sikhs in the process. Sukhvir Singh’s actions have great value in themselves, regardless of whether they’re recognized by any organization, but this lack of recognition exposes real weaknesses in these organizations.

Sikhs are supposed to empower the powerless. Sukhvir Singh, through his kindness, actually did this. Vazquez, his attacker, joined a rehabilitation program for his alcoholism after getting a second chance and being inspired by Sukhvir Singh. It seems that financial and political success are the only things worthy of recognition these days. Some may be inclined to dismiss this as a reflection of Washington’s influence but that’s too easy (though this may play a part). This attitude isnt limited to the District, its far more pervasive. It definitely shows how little these organizations actually do represent Sikhs.


bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark
tabs-top


42 Responses to “Blind organizations make many invisible”

  1. gurdit says:

    thank you for highlighting this conspicuously sad omission. you are absolutely right: it is not just one organization but the entire panth which renders invisible, sikh women in all their facets, from panthic life. perhaps, this happens in large part due to the fact that sikh men, overwhelmingly and disproportionately, dominate different aspects of the panth. the images one finds in different community magazines, newspapers, and websites are almost always of men, who serve as authority figures (not leaders). recently, at our local midwestern gurdwara, the male granthis and authority figures "honored" a sikh woman who took amrit by merely calling her the wife of sardar X singh!

    when it comes to gender equality, it is high time that we stopped paying lip service to our egalitarian beliefs by bridging this glaring gap between our ideals and realities.

  2. gurdit says:

    thank you for highlighting this conspicuously sad omission. you are absolutely right: it is not just one organization but the entire panth which renders invisible, sikh women in all their facets, from panthic life. perhaps, this happens in large part due to the fact that sikh men, overwhelmingly and disproportionately, dominate different aspects of the panth. the images one finds in different community magazines, newspapers, and websites are almost always of men, who serve as authority figures (not leaders). recently, at our local midwestern gurdwara, the male granthis and authority figures “honored” a sikh woman who took amrit by merely calling her the wife of sardar X singh!

    when it comes to gender equality, it is high time that we stopped paying lip service to our egalitarian beliefs by bridging this glaring gap between our ideals and realities.

  3. Kaptaan says:

    If it's such an issue, then why not start your own awards program instead of condemning others? if you think those other people are unworthy you should take it up with the organization. If SCORE is useless then start a movement to promote some other organization. This is America, where you can get up and take action.

    Gurdit's comment is ridiculous on its face. The "entire Panth which renders invisible, sikh women in all their facets, from panthic life", what a ludicrous proposition.

    Just a few examples, in Vancouver, over 15 years ago now, Sikh women with full dastar had the honour of being in the forefront of the Nagar Kirtan riding on horseback. In every Gurdwara that I've been to in Toronto, the role of Sikh women has been highlighted with posters and imagery. In all 3 movies made by Vismaad regarding the Panth (Sahibzadey, Rise of Khalsa, and Sundri), women have been shown in strong positive roles, equal to that of men in the film.

    I know for a fact women have every opportunity to make their voice heard at Gurdwara meetings in the largest Sikh Gurdwara in Canada (OKD) as I've personally been to meetings where women have participated, etc…

    Why not point to specific examples and condemn those instead of making such broad sweeping judgemental statements.

  4. Kaptaan says:

    If it’s such an issue, then why not start your own awards program instead of condemning others? if you think those other people are unworthy you should take it up with the organization. If SCORE is useless then start a movement to promote some other organization. This is America, where you can get up and take action.

    Gurdit’s comment is ridiculous on its face. The “entire Panth which renders invisible, sikh women in all their facets, from panthic life”, what a ludicrous proposition.

    Just a few examples, in Vancouver, over 15 years ago now, Sikh women with full dastar had the honour of being in the forefront of the Nagar Kirtan riding on horseback. In every Gurdwara that I’ve been to in Toronto, the role of Sikh women has been highlighted with posters and imagery. In all 3 movies made by Vismaad regarding the Panth (Sahibzadey, Rise of Khalsa, and Sundri), women have been shown in strong positive roles, equal to that of men in the film.

    I know for a fact women have every opportunity to make their voice heard at Gurdwara meetings in the largest Sikh Gurdwara in Canada (OKD) as I’ve personally been to meetings where women have participated, etc…

    Why not point to specific examples and condemn those instead of making such broad sweeping judgemental statements.

  5. Mewa Singh says:

    Kaptaaan, you offer a few anecdotes. It is great that Sundri and other cartoons are being produced. However, realize this is a recent phenomenon. These are steps in the right direction as they are a corrective to previous films and invisibility.

    Reema's comments are still valid and offer a powerful critique. Although I don't know the make-up of SCORE (although again it seems really a 1-man show), I have a feeling that if the organization really has a track-record other than photo-ops, then I bet its success will be due to its women members. Most Sikh organizations' backbone tend to be its Kaurs.

  6. Mewa Singh says:

    Kaptaaan, you offer a few anecdotes. It is great that Sundri and other cartoons are being produced. However, realize this is a recent phenomenon. These are steps in the right direction as they are a corrective to previous films and invisibility.

    Reema’s comments are still valid and offer a powerful critique. Although I don’t know the make-up of SCORE (although again it seems really a 1-man show), I have a feeling that if the organization really has a track-record other than photo-ops, then I bet its success will be due to its women members. Most Sikh organizations’ backbone tend to be its Kaurs.

  7. Reema says:

    Kaptaan, from your comments on various posts, you seem to dislike seeing Sikh organizations criticized at all, as though it takes away from the positive work that they may be doing. You may not have read the first sentence of my post, so let me reproduce part of it for you here:

    I don’t wish to scrutinize the entire organization further.

    Though I understand your desire for Sikh organizations to be portrayed positively, I think your approach is misguided. If we assume these organizations to be beyond critique, then we have given them a status that is not deserved. They are not perfect, and feedback from the community is positive- it creates a conversation and a greater likelihood that they actually respond to the needs of the community. Everything is a work in progress. I don't think criticism is necessarily negative- often (I think especially from our bloggers), it's meant to be constructive. If we don't point out issues, how will we work on them Kaptaan? (And yes, we welcome your constructive criticism, I just wanted to take a moment to respond to what I presume your concern is (correct me if I'm wrong), since you've mentioned it a couple of times now.)

    So…. the list of honorees…. ridiculous. :)

  8. Reema says:

    Kaptaan, from your comments on various posts, you seem to dislike seeing Sikh organizations criticized at all, as though it takes away from the positive work that they may be doing. You may not have read the first sentence of my post, so let me reproduce part of it for you here:

    I dont wish to scrutinize the entire organization further.

    Though I understand your desire for Sikh organizations to be portrayed positively, I think your approach is misguided. If we assume these organizations to be beyond critique, then we have given them a status that is not deserved. They are not perfect, and feedback from the community is positive- it creates a conversation and a greater likelihood that they actually respond to the needs of the community. Everything is a work in progress. I don’t think criticism is necessarily negative- often (I think especially from our bloggers), it’s meant to be constructive. If we don’t point out issues, how will we work on them Kaptaan? (And yes, we welcome your constructive criticism, I just wanted to take a moment to respond to what I presume your concern is (correct me if I’m wrong), since you’ve mentioned it a couple of times now.)

    So…. the list of honorees…. ridiculous. :)

  9. Marine Kaur says:

    If I may, I would like nudge the comments to a different direction. Why do we honor successful business men and women? It's great that they are doing well, but it would seem that all this does is put people on a pedestal for making money. I agree that Sukhvir Singh's behavior is something that we should raise up and salute. Are we such a shallow community that thinks making money makes us a role model? It would seem that this is the opposite of what the Guru's taught us. Maybe some of us need to go back to school.

  10. Marine Kaur says:

    If I may, I would like nudge the comments to a different direction. Why do we honor successful business men and women? It’s great that they are doing well, but it would seem that all this does is put people on a pedestal for making money. I agree that Sukhvir Singh’s behavior is something that we should raise up and salute. Are we such a shallow community that thinks making money makes us a role model? It would seem that this is the opposite of what the Guru’s taught us. Maybe some of us need to go back to school.

  11. Singh says:

    Shabaashay Marine Kaur bhain! That is the kind of thinking we need these days and Guru Maharaj would be khush with your thinking. We should not honour people for their MONEY, but for their CHARACTER. Why don't we have big galas that honour the most dedicated sevadars in langar halls and smagams and camps and doing nishkam seva in NGO's and non-profits around the world? Because those sevadaars want to stay NISHKAM! All of these American big wig organizations are showing off pompousness.

  12. Singh says:

    Shabaashay Marine Kaur bhain! That is the kind of thinking we need these days and Guru Maharaj would be khush with your thinking. We should not honour people for their MONEY, but for their CHARACTER. Why don’t we have big galas that honour the most dedicated sevadars in langar halls and smagams and camps and doing nishkam seva in NGO’s and non-profits around the world? Because those sevadaars want to stay NISHKAM! All of these American big wig organizations are showing off pompousness.

  13. Kaptaan says:

    Reema,

    I don't have a problem with legitimate criticism of any organization, but it seems to me that claiming women aren't represented in the Panth as Gurdit claimed, or that Sikh organizations are only successful as a result of the contribution of female members only as Mewa Singh claims, is ridiculous.

    Secondly, it seems that you have a problem with SCORE, why not engage them or the Kaur Foundation and find out why they nominated who they did and ask them about SPECIFIC Sikh women who may have been deserving and why they weren't included?

    A lot of times people would rather just sit on the sidelines and throw stones rather than take action. Sikhs should take action and NOT throw stones. That's my point.

    Not once have you or anyone else on this site, ever discussed what they did with regards to engaging an organization like SCORE when making such a post. Why criticize them when you won't talk to them or at least let the readers know about what you did if anything to engage them?

    All this post has done is lead to a couple of people making ridiculously sweeping statements about Sikhs or the Panth and likely misinformed many others about the state of women in Sikh organizations. Maybe where you are located there isn't much participation of female Sikhs, but where I'm at they play significant roles, from doing Kirtan, sit on and make committee announcements to the Sangat at Gurdwaras, read the Hukamnama, etc…

    The ONLY role I haven't seen performed by a female Sikh is act as head Granthi. I'm not sure however, if any women has stepped forward who wanted to be the Head Granthi though.

    If people have issues in particular locales, maybe that's a function of THEIR community and NOT the Panth. Why don't you call for people's experiences where they are instead of generalizing with statements such as, " Unfortunately, this lack of recognition of women in our community (which occurs on a much broader scale than any one organization) is one major factor fueling atrocities like sex-selective abortion."

    Maybe people are engaging in abortion because they aren't truly Sikhs in the first place. Maybe there needs to be an education campaign highlighting that Guru Maharaj (Dasam Pitta) issued a Hukamnama saying that anyone killing a girl child should be ostracized by all Sikhs? Maybe people should be educated that committing an abortion is murdering one's own child regardless of sex and is condemned by Sikh Dharm? Perhaps Sikhs who celebrate non-Sikh cultural events like Lohri should celebrate the birth of boys and girls equally?

    It's not about some empty awards, its about people truly believing in the teachings of the Gurus and understanding that Sikh Dharm preaches the equality of human beings in the eyes Waheguru. God cares about the soul and a person's actions on Earth, not about gender, as per Sikh beliefs.

    Marine Kaur and Singh, why should people who are talented in their field NOT be honoured? Since when was making money against Sikh belief? or Practice? Sikhs who excel in any given field that is in consonance with Sikh Dharm deserve any recognition they get.

    If you want to have a big gala to honour people for other activities, why not get together with like minded people and do it? Why complain when someone else got up to do something? Have you took the time to realize that entrepreneurship is valued in our society and so Sikhs who excel in this are being honoured.

    I'd like it if Sikhs were honoured based on character and selfless service as well, but not enough to start an organization, but if you start one, I'll certainly support the idea and effort.

  14. Mewa Singh says:

    Dear Kaptaan,

    I wrote:

    Most Sikh organizations’ backbone tend to be its Kaurs.

    Kaptaan translated this to mean:

    Sikh organizations are only successful as a result of the contribution of female members only as Mewa Singh claims, is ridiculous.

    For additional help, Kaptaan, next time you are misconstruing my comment:

    tend /t?nd/

    –verb (used without object)

    1.to be disposed or inclined in action, operation, or effect to do something: The particles tend to unite.

    Kaptaan selectively understands the purpose of blogging. On his own blog, he advocated that Sikhs (as if we are a monolith) should vote for Hillary Clinton over Obama. He believes Obama is a "Johnny Come Lately." How dare he make such criticism without first talking to the Obama campaign team! Instead of throwing such stones, wouldn't it be far more befitting had he send them an email?

    SCORE places itself in the public and therefore WILL and SHOULD be subject to scrutiny.

  15. Kaptaan says:

    Reema,

    I don’t have a problem with legitimate criticism of any organization, but it seems to me that claiming women aren’t represented in the Panth as Gurdit claimed, or that Sikh organizations are only successful as a result of the contribution of female members only as Mewa Singh claims, is ridiculous.

    Secondly, it seems that you have a problem with SCORE, why not engage them or the Kaur Foundation and find out why they nominated who they did and ask them about SPECIFIC Sikh women who may have been deserving and why they weren’t included?

    A lot of times people would rather just sit on the sidelines and throw stones rather than take action. Sikhs should take action and NOT throw stones. That’s my point.

    Not once have you or anyone else on this site, ever discussed what they did with regards to engaging an organization like SCORE when making such a post. Why criticize them when you won’t talk to them or at least let the readers know about what you did if anything to engage them?

    All this post has done is lead to a couple of people making ridiculously sweeping statements about Sikhs or the Panth and likely misinformed many others about the state of women in Sikh organizations. Maybe where you are located there isn’t much participation of female Sikhs, but where I’m at they play significant roles, from doing Kirtan, sit on and make committee announcements to the Sangat at Gurdwaras, read the Hukamnama, etc…

    The ONLY role I haven’t seen performed by a female Sikh is act as head Granthi. I’m not sure however, if any women has stepped forward who wanted to be the Head Granthi though.

    If people have issues in particular locales, maybe that’s a function of THEIR community and NOT the Panth. Why don’t you call for people’s experiences where they are instead of generalizing with statements such as, ” Unfortunately, this lack of recognition of women in our community (which occurs on a much broader scale than any one organization) is one major factor fueling atrocities like sex-selective abortion.”

    Maybe people are engaging in abortion because they aren’t truly Sikhs in the first place. Maybe there needs to be an education campaign highlighting that Guru Maharaj (Dasam Pitta) issued a Hukamnama saying that anyone killing a girl child should be ostracized by all Sikhs? Maybe people should be educated that committing an abortion is murdering one’s own child regardless of sex and is condemned by Sikh Dharm? Perhaps Sikhs who celebrate non-Sikh cultural events like Lohri should celebrate the birth of boys and girls equally?

    It’s not about some empty awards, its about people truly believing in the teachings of the Gurus and understanding that Sikh Dharm preaches the equality of human beings in the eyes Waheguru. God cares about the soul and a person’s actions on Earth, not about gender, as per Sikh beliefs.

    Marine Kaur and Singh, why should people who are talented in their field NOT be honoured? Since when was making money against Sikh belief? or Practice? Sikhs who excel in any given field that is in consonance with Sikh Dharm deserve any recognition they get.

    If you want to have a big gala to honour people for other activities, why not get together with like minded people and do it? Why complain when someone else got up to do something? Have you took the time to realize that entrepreneurship is valued in our society and so Sikhs who excel in this are being honoured.

    I’d like it if Sikhs were honoured based on character and selfless service as well, but not enough to start an organization, but if you start one, I’ll certainly support the idea and effort.

  16. Mewa Singh says:

    Dear Kaptaan,

    I wrote:

    Most Sikh organizations backbone tend to be its Kaurs.

    Kaptaan translated this to mean:

    Sikh organizations are only successful as a result of the contribution of female members only as Mewa Singh claims, is ridiculous.

    For additional help, Kaptaan, next time you are misconstruing my comment:

    tend /t?nd/
    verb (used without object)
    1.to be disposed or inclined in action, operation, or effect to do something: The particles tend to unite.

    Kaptaan selectively understands the purpose of blogging. On his own blog, he advocated that Sikhs (as if we are a monolith) should vote for Hillary Clinton over Obama. He believes Obama is a “Johnny Come Lately.” How dare he make such criticism without first talking to the Obama campaign team! Instead of throwing such stones, wouldn’t it be far more befitting had he send them an email?

    SCORE places itself in the public and therefore WILL and SHOULD be subject to scrutiny.

  17. gurdit says:

    i stand corrected, kaptaan. women *are* represented in the panth but i still maintain that their overall representation, compared to their numbers, is absolutely dismal. as mewa singh points out, highlighting the role of sikh women through posters, films, books, and other means of education are crucial steps. however, these steps are not indicative of the actual day-to-day representation enjoyed by sikh women. despite all our proclamations on gender equality, sikh women are still not allowed to perform kirtan at darbar sahib. WHY? the reason personally suggested to me by the akal takhat jathedar was that they are not efficient enough ("nipun") at kirtan … how ridiculous. nor are they allowed to participate in the sewa of carrying the palki from the darbar sahib to the akal takhat. WHY? of course, it only took intense campaigning and petitions by euro-american sikh women to be able to perform the service of cleaning the floors at the golden temple.

    if our leading institutions like the golden temple and the takhats, which are supposed to epitomize sikh ideals, continue to discriminate against sikh women, how will the rest of the panth follow suit? when authority figures cite "tradition" to support such inequitable practices, they are simply wrong! neither sikh doctrine nor sikh history supports such regression and the only way out is through massive, grassroots education. thankfully, at least in many parts of the diaspora, we are faring much better. i sincerely hope we continue to bridge this gap by proactively including women in all panthic endeavors.

  18. Kaptaan says:

    Mewa Singh,

    your comment is still ridiculous, regardless of whether I wrote "Sikh organizations are only successful as a result of the contribution of female members only as Mewa Singh claims"…

    instead of "the success of Sikh organizations who have more of a track record than just photo-ops is a result of the contribution of its female members only as Mewa Singh is willing to bet"…

    Read what YOU wrote (emphasis is mine) Mewa Singh…

    "I have a feeling that if the organization really has a track-record other than photo-ops, then I bet its success will be due to its women members"

    Why make such a statement? You made the implication yourself about "success" and "women members". Name a few of these organizations that are successful due only to its female members? Are Sikh Coalition, United Sikhs, Spinning Wheel Film Festival, Sikhnet, etc… only successful because of their female members? You'd lose that bet. Its one thing to want to highlight the contributions of female Sikhs (which I don't have an issue with), its quite another to do it at the expense of male Sikhs (with which I take exception).

    You don't bother to address the 'meat' of my argument but try to play a game of semantics and at the same time make an ad hominem attack against me. Your comment painted all successful Sikh organizations with one brush that was biased against men and therefore subject to ridicule.

    Your comment about my opinion on Obama and Clinton completely misses the point, and therefore doesn't make any sense. Anyone who wants to read what I wrote can do so here.

    Before attacking me perhaps you should read what I wrote.

    Gur Fateh.

  19. gurdit says:

    i stand corrected, kaptaan. women *are* represented in the panth but i still maintain that their overall representation, compared to their numbers, is absolutely dismal. as mewa singh points out, highlighting the role of sikh women through posters, films, books, and other means of education are crucial steps. however, these steps are not indicative of the actual day-to-day representation enjoyed by sikh women. despite all our proclamations on gender equality, sikh women are still not allowed to perform kirtan at darbar sahib. WHY? the reason personally suggested to me by the akal takhat jathedar was that they are not efficient enough (“nipun”) at kirtan … how ridiculous. nor are they allowed to participate in the sewa of carrying the palki from the darbar sahib to the akal takhat. WHY? of course, it only took intense campaigning and petitions by euro-american sikh women to be able to perform the service of cleaning the floors at the golden temple.

    if our leading institutions like the golden temple and the takhats, which are supposed to epitomize sikh ideals, continue to discriminate against sikh women, how will the rest of the panth follow suit? when authority figures cite “tradition” to support such inequitable practices, they are simply wrong! neither sikh doctrine nor sikh history supports such regression and the only way out is through massive, grassroots education. thankfully, at least in many parts of the diaspora, we are faring much better. i sincerely hope we continue to bridge this gap by proactively including women in all panthic endeavors.

  20. Kaptaan says:

    Gurdit,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your last post. The Akal Takht, Golden Temple, all historic Gurdwaras and Dharmik institutions should lead the charge. Those people who deny women the opportunity to perform religious functions/ roles are acting in a manner that is anti-Sikh and anti-Panth.

    Some of the most inspirational kirtan I've heard has been performed by Sikh women in New Mexico.

    Women have performed kirtan and participated in religious functions at Golden Temple including Ishnan Seva. However they are being prevented today largely by the Sewadaars there, despite a Hukamnama in 1996 that specifically states women and men are equal in all Panthic matters. For more information read this.

    regards,

    Kaptaan

  21. Mewa Singh says:

    Hardly semantics, I was interested in your misrepresentation of my comment.

    Call it ridiculous, but the point remains most Sikh organizations (including the Sikh Coalition) are staffed by a higher proportion of women. In almost all Sikh organizations, I find this to be the case.

    Yet, when it comes time to 'award' people, as Reema's post suggests, then rarely are those women given their due.

    Regardless, we find a point of agreement with the role of the Akal Takht. So I will leave it at that. We are both on the same page there.

  22. Kaptaan says:

    Mewa Singh,

    your comment is still ridiculous, regardless of whether I wrote “Sikh organizations are only successful as a result of the contribution of female members only as Mewa Singh claims”…

    instead of “the success of Sikh organizations who have more of a track record than just photo-ops is a result of the contribution of its female members only as Mewa Singh is willing to bet”…

    Read what YOU wrote (emphasis is mine) Mewa Singh…

    “I have a feeling that if the organization really has a track-record other than photo-ops, then I bet its success will be due to its women members

    Why make such a statement? You made the implication yourself about “success” and “women members”. Name a few of these organizations that are successful due only to its female members? Are Sikh Coalition, United Sikhs, Spinning Wheel Film Festival, Sikhnet, etc… only successful because of their female members? You’d lose that bet. Its one thing to want to highlight the contributions of female Sikhs (which I don’t have an issue with), its quite another to do it at the expense of male Sikhs (with which I take exception).

    You don’t bother to address the ‘meat’ of my argument but try to play a game of semantics and at the same time make an ad hominem attack against me. Your comment painted all successful Sikh organizations with one brush that was biased against men and therefore subject to ridicule.

    Your comment about my opinion on Obama and Clinton completely misses the point, and therefore doesn’t make any sense. Anyone who wants to read what I wrote can do so here.

    Before attacking me perhaps you should read what I wrote.

    Gur Fateh.

  23. Kaptaan says:

    Mewa Singh,

    I can agree with your point that Sikh women may not be getting their 'due' from some organizations.

    Most Sikh organizations being staffed by women is not something that I dispute (I don't have the facts one way or the other on that).

    I am glad we agree on the point Gurdit made and I emphasized regarding Akal Takht and leadership by example being required on the part of all Sikh institutions.

    Best regards,

    Kaptaan

  24. Kaptaan says:

    Gurdit,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your last post. The Akal Takht, Golden Temple, all historic Gurdwaras and Dharmik institutions should lead the charge. Those people who deny women the opportunity to perform religious functions/ roles are acting in a manner that is anti-Sikh and anti-Panth.

    Some of the most inspirational kirtan I’ve heard has been performed by Sikh women in New Mexico.

    Women have performed kirtan and participated in religious functions at Golden Temple including Ishnan Seva. However they are being prevented today largely by the Sewadaars there, despite a Hukamnama in 1996 that specifically states women and men are equal in all Panthic matters. For more information read this.

    regards,
    Kaptaan

  25. Mewa Singh says:

    Hardly semantics, I was interested in your misrepresentation of my comment.

    Call it ridiculous, but the point remains most Sikh organizations (including the Sikh Coalition) are staffed by a higher proportion of women. In almost all Sikh organizations, I find this to be the case.

    Yet, when it comes time to ‘award’ people, as Reema’s post suggests, then rarely are those women given their due.

    Regardless, we find a point of agreement with the role of the Akal Takht. So I will leave it at that. We are both on the same page there.

  26. Kaptaan says:

    Mewa Singh,

    I can agree with your point that Sikh women may not be getting their ‘due’ from some organizations.

    Most Sikh organizations being staffed by women is not something that I dispute (I don’t have the facts one way or the other on that).

    I am glad we agree on the point Gurdit made and I emphasized regarding Akal Takht and leadership by example being required on the part of all Sikh institutions.

    Best regards,
    Kaptaan

  27. Singh says:

    One thing I find interesting is the Langar Hall's link in the sidebar to SikhChic. Doesn't this have the same attitude and run by some of the same holier-than-thou Sikh organizations?

  28. Singh says:

    One thing I find interesting is the Langar Hall’s link in the sidebar to SikhChic. Doesn’t this have the same attitude and run by some of the same holier-than-thou Sikh organizations?

  29. Mewa Singh says:

    Singh, I concur with your comment about SikhChic. However, I think it is being linked because it is a popular discussion website for Sikh-related topics, although I do find it HEAVILY censored (not moderated, but actually censored). Although I am no fan, I do understand why the link is there.

  30. Mewa Singh says:

    Singh, I concur with your comment about SikhChic. However, I think it is being linked because it is a popular discussion website for Sikh-related topics, although I do find it HEAVILY censored (not moderated, but actually censored). Although I am no fan, I do understand why the link is there.

  31. sizzle says:

    maybe if women took a break from making roti's, they'd win awards.

    i keeeeed. i couldn't help myself. but seriously folks…i'm just waiting for valerie kaur's next piece of brilliance on sikhchic.com. maybe score can give her an award for her use of overbearing emotional hyperbole and constant self promotion.

    i keeeeed. i couldn't help myself. but seriously folks…it is interesting that the majority of sikhs at sikh organizations are women (as mewa singh points out). i wonder if this is just how the cookie recently crumbled and the demographics of the orgs is fluid, if women just tend to care more and are more involved, or if our still patriarchal society lends itself well to women taking on lower paying, non-profit jobs. that said, it is curious that there are so few women honored by score, but again,i just can't help but question the actual organization. irrespective of some commenter's defense of score and its leadership, it is primarily concerned with publicity and PR. and if you look at that list of recipients, it reflects accessible accomplishments (for white people), american values (capitalism, sports, fashion), and includes some social activists whose merits i can't really judge from my ikea armchair. perhaps it was all for the benefit of some politicos who were in attendance.

    anyways – what is the kaur foundation? their website is anemic and i'd never heard about it. spiffy mission statement, and slick "signature piece" (even if i can't figure out why it's SIX MINUTES long). do they make roti's?

    i keeeed. i couldn't help myself. but seriously folks…let's all work together.

  32. sizzle says:

    maybe if women took a break from making roti’s, they’d win awards.

    i keeeeed. i couldn’t help myself. but seriously folks…i’m just waiting for valerie kaur’s next piece of brilliance on sikhchic.com. maybe score can give her an award for her use of overbearing emotional hyperbole and constant self promotion.

    i keeeeed. i couldn’t help myself. but seriously folks…it is interesting that the majority of sikhs at sikh organizations are women (as mewa singh points out). i wonder if this is just how the cookie recently crumbled and the demographics of the orgs is fluid, if women just tend to care more and are more involved, or if our still patriarchal society lends itself well to women taking on lower paying, non-profit jobs. that said, it is curious that there are so few women honored by score, but again,i just can’t help but question the actual organization. irrespective of some commenter’s defense of score and its leadership, it is primarily concerned with publicity and PR. and if you look at that list of recipients, it reflects accessible accomplishments (for white people), american values (capitalism, sports, fashion), and includes some social activists whose merits i can’t really judge from my ikea armchair. perhaps it was all for the benefit of some politicos who were in attendance.

    anyways – what is the kaur foundation? their website is anemic and i’d never heard about it. spiffy mission statement, and slick “signature piece” (even if i can’t figure out why it’s SIX MINUTES long). do they make roti’s?

    i keeeed. i couldn’t help myself. but seriously folks…let’s all work together.

  33. Mewa Singh says:

    but seriously folks…i’m just waiting for valerie kaur’s next piece of brilliance on sikhchic.com. maybe score can give her an award for her use of overbearing emotional hyperbole and constant self promotion.

    too funny.

  34. Mewa Singh says:

    but seriously folksim just waiting for valerie kaurs next piece of brilliance on sikhchic.com. maybe score can give her an award for her use of overbearing emotional hyperbole and constant self promotion.

    too funny.

  35. Camille says:

    So, when I was a sophomore in college I had an awesome opportunity to attend a conference in metro Detroit on Women in the Sikh Faith. While imperfect, it was one of the more exciting experiences I had had as a Sikh female and young adult.

    I can only speak with respect to what I'm familiar with, but in the organizations I've worked with, and in the regions where I've worked, women tend to provide the "people power" — organizationally and otherwise — to power community-based programs and issues (I am, in this case, speaking generally, not exclusively about the Sikh community). Within Sikh organizations, look at the Boards of most "mainstream" groups; oftentimes there are very few women, and rarely does the representation reach parity. This is of course true of other NPO/CBO Boards, as well, but the imbalance is often limited to one "token Kaur."

    Within my own subsection of the Sikh community, I have very rarely seen women honored for their contributions, unless it is in the context of being someone's mother or someone's wife or unless she has chosen to wear a dastaar (and I have seen women honored for only that choice!). There are Sikh women doing tremendous work, both within and outside of the Sikh community, but I do think there has been less support, both from men and women, for their endeavors, leadership, and vision. It is one thing to say "no one is stopping you," but it's another thing to actively promote gender equality.

    I can think of a thousand (if not more) incidents in which women were actively shut out from public (Sikh) spaces. I don't think this is always because of animus, but rather, in some regions and sangats, there are still norms and beliefs around the role of women, their capacity, and even the physical image/representation of Sikh women. Sometimes these assumptions are positive, and sometimes negative, but either way they are often limiting.

  36. Camille says:

    So, when I was a sophomore in college I had an awesome opportunity to attend a conference in metro Detroit on Women in the Sikh Faith. While imperfect, it was one of the more exciting experiences I had had as a Sikh female and young adult.

    I can only speak with respect to what I’m familiar with, but in the organizations I’ve worked with, and in the regions where I’ve worked, women tend to provide the “people power” — organizationally and otherwise — to power community-based programs and issues (I am, in this case, speaking generally, not exclusively about the Sikh community). Within Sikh organizations, look at the Boards of most “mainstream” groups; oftentimes there are very few women, and rarely does the representation reach parity. This is of course true of other NPO/CBO Boards, as well, but the imbalance is often limited to one “token Kaur.”

    Within my own subsection of the Sikh community, I have very rarely seen women honored for their contributions, unless it is in the context of being someone’s mother or someone’s wife or unless she has chosen to wear a dastaar (and I have seen women honored for only that choice!). There are Sikh women doing tremendous work, both within and outside of the Sikh community, but I do think there has been less support, both from men and women, for their endeavors, leadership, and vision. It is one thing to say “no one is stopping you,” but it’s another thing to actively promote gender equality.

    I can think of a thousand (if not more) incidents in which women were actively shut out from public (Sikh) spaces. I don’t think this is always because of animus, but rather, in some regions and sangats, there are still norms and beliefs around the role of women, their capacity, and even the physical image/representation of Sikh women. Sometimes these assumptions are positive, and sometimes negative, but either way they are often limiting.

  37. reader06 says:

    At the SCORE dinner this year, they did honor one woman who filmed the movie and directed A Dream in Doubt, but they didn't honor any sikh women, but lat year, they did honor Ish Amitoj Kaur for Kambdi Kalai, and other women.

  38. reader06 says:

    At the SCORE dinner this year, they did honor one woman who filmed the movie and directed A Dream in Doubt, but they didn’t honor any sikh women, but lat year, they did honor Ish Amitoj Kaur for Kambdi Kalai, and other women.

  39. N Singh says:

    Kaur is a Younger Son of Guru Gobind Singh Ji there is no Question.

  40. N Singh says:

    Kaur is a Younger Son of Guru Gobind Singh Ji there is no Question.

  41. Observer says:

    I agree with one reader that SCORE is one man show and main motto is take pictures and publicise it. There has been nothing concrete coming out of SCORE. Money is collected at a well publised dinner in USA and spend on another dinner in India. I request all sikhs when they donate please go through the details and end results being achieved by the organizations. There are lot of other sikh organizations who do lot of down to earth work for the humanity. Be wise when you donate.

  42. Observer says:

    I agree with one reader that SCORE is one man show and main motto is take pictures and publicise it. There has been nothing concrete coming out of SCORE. Money is collected at a well publised dinner in USA and spend on another dinner in India. I request all sikhs when they donate please go through the details and end results being achieved by the organizations. There are lot of other sikh organizations who do lot of down to earth work for the humanity. Be wise when you donate.