Thee Di Mangh?

No longer are Punjabi “staarz” (i.e. Gurdas Maan, Arminder Gill, etc.) or Sukhbir Singh Badal’s Mrs., Harsimrat Kaur Badal (i.e. Nanhi Chhaan project), the only ones focusing on the “girl child”, but also a granthi at a California Gurdwara. I was recently surprised to hear a granthi support the idea of gender equity as part during his Punjabi kathaa of a shabad he was singing.  No he wasn’t a renaissance granthi, but a common one you would encounter in your general Gurdwara.  The sangat wasn’t full of progressive youth/parents, but consisted of lay-persons.  AND the focus of his kathaa wasn’t gender equity, but our needs/yearnings.  So you may ask how was he promoting gender equity?  Well, he used the yearning for a thee (daughter) or puthar (son) in the SAME example to help the sangat understand the shabad’s message.  In my experience, the yearning for a daughter and son are never used together to help the sangat think beyond their wants and just accepting Waheguru’s will. Common examples are a yearning for a betaa or a mother caring for a betaa (we could also add a big house and nice car to the list).  I have never heard of a yearning for a betee or caring for a betee.  It has been during these kathas that the contradiction between theology and contemporary practice of Sikhi have been poignantly highlighted for me.  Yes, theologically we believe in gender equity (it’s in Gurbani with examples in Sikh history).  However, the common examples used to intimately relate and rely the Guru’s message to an every-day (opppss … maybe I should say Wednesday and Sunday) sangat reify gender inequity. From my perspective, I was finally hearing a common granthi make an attempt to break away from mold.

I don’t only blame the granthis for the reification of gender inequity because they use the examples the sangat can most relate to.  But as those who are helping the sangat understand the Guru’s message, granthis should reinforce the principles of Sikhi that we are not practicing.  A good way is the examples they use to discuss the Guru’s message.  Also, these examples are not always far fetched … I remember the Auntie who sat in the back of the Gurdwara and quietly cried for a daughter after three sons!  Not common, but it happens!

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3 Responses to “Thee Di Mangh?”

  1. Johanne says:

    That’s educational.

  2. We all know that punjabi lovers is everywhere we can't forget them in all aspects of lie. This is really good blogs that you shared it tells me you r great knowledge and love for the people.