The Rise and Fall of Sikh Girls

It’s been a long time coming but Sikhs all across the globe seem to be making more of an effort to celebrate Lohri today, not only for their sons but alsofor their daughters. InTarnTaran, Punjab,this year’s Lohri’s celebrations were dedicated to the 101 baby girls who live in thearea.

“The main purpose of this celebration is to make people aware of the social evil of female foeticide. The male and female ratio is getting unbalanced with each passing day. In order to balance the gap in the Sikh society, Akal Takht has given order not to support female infanticide. Female foeticide is as bad as slaughtering a holy cow,” said Parvinder Singh. Chairman, Kalpana Chawla Pragtisheel Society.

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Also in the news today is the story of Lak[h]winder Singh, a Giani in Kelowna, Canada who was arrested and is being charged for sexual exploitation, sexual interference, two counts of sexual assault and one count of assault. The allegations that give rise to the sexual offences began in late 2007 and the victim is now 16 years old.

Lakwinder Singh, the 29-year-old preacher at a Rutland temple, Gurdwara Guru Amandas Darbar, was arrested after a family with ties to the temple brought forward allegations of sexual impropriety to police last week.

Tarsem Singh, a spokesman for the Gurdwara, said Lakwinder Singh was employed at their temple for nearly seven years, but has since been fired. In addition, the gurdwara is supporting thepolice’s efforts in finding any other possible victims.

lohri.jpgPerhaps we haven’t made much progress. While on one hand we celebrate the effortstaken in Punjab to change the cultural norms which are embedded within our community, we simultaneously hearof Sikh women being exploited in Canada. Phulkari recently blogged about the issues of gender selection inrelation to lohri and I won’t belabor the point (although, personally,I don’t believe there can ever be enough said about the issue). The contrast of stories shows the reality of the situation – we have a lot of progress yet to make. It was promising to read that the gurdwara committee (in relation to the second story) seems to be cooperating with local police. The fact that the victim spoke to the gurdwara leaders (see video) shows that a level of trust does exist between the community and gurdwara. While it has taken us years to respond to female infanticide – I hope we will not continue to repeat those mistakes. It is an unfortuante truth that gender inequality remains to exist – we therefore must begin dialogue and provide support to victims rather than feigning that these issues do not affect us, wouldn’t you agree?


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25 Responses to “The Rise and Fall of Sikh Girls”

  1. Savraj says:

    I haven't read the post, but your title is definitely flamebait. 😉

  2. Savraj says:

    I haven’t read the post, but your title is definitely flamebait. 😉

  3. Suki says:

    What happened in the gurdwara to the young girl is something that happens in every religous group and there place of worship, no matter what the religon is.

    As for the issue of female infanticide, it is so bad in Vancouver punjabi community yet none of the so-called leaders have spoken out about it. How lost count how many women that I've know of that, who were forced by there familes to get abortion for the crime of being pregant with a girl. A few even had multiple abortions. Very sad.

  4. Suki says:

    What happened in the gurdwara to the young girl is something that happens in every religous group and there place of worship, no matter what the religon is.

    As for the issue of female infanticide, it is so bad in Vancouver punjabi community yet none of the so-called leaders have spoken out about it. How lost count how many women that I’ve know of that, who were forced by there familes to get abortion for the crime of being pregant with a girl. A few even had multiple abortions. Very sad.

  5. Suki says:

    http://www.koalalabs.com/

    Washington Clinic

    949 3rd Street

    Blaine, WA 98230

    Call Harvinder 604-805-6253 (English speaking clients)

    Call Davinder 604-318-4785 (Punjabi speaking clients)

    Can somebody explain to me why that in one of the most multicultural places in the world that is the Vancouver metro area, that this clinic just minutes across the US border serves people in only 2 languages. And look at the names of the 2 people who you have to call, last time I checked those names don't sound Swedish or Korean. A few punjabi newspaper in Vancover have ads for this clinic in there newspaper.

  6. Suki says:

    http://www.koalalabs.com/

    Washington Clinic
    949 3rd Street
    Blaine, WA 98230
    Call Harvinder 604-805-6253 (English speaking clients)
    Call Davinder 604-318-4785 (Punjabi speaking clients)

    Can somebody explain to me why that in one of the most multicultural places in the world that is the Vancouver metro area, that this clinic just minutes across the US border serves people in only 2 languages. And look at the names of the 2 people who you have to call, last time I checked those names don’t sound Swedish or Korean. A few punjabi newspaper in Vancover have ads for this clinic in there newspaper.

  7. whatsinaname says:

    I thought Lohri was a harvest / some sort of farming celebration… why do people celebrate baby boys on this day?

    YaY for girls!

  8. whatsinaname says:

    I thought Lohri was a harvest / some sort of farming celebration… why do people celebrate baby boys on this day?

    YaY for girls!

  9. Kaptaan says:

    No doubt Langar Hall posters are as bad as the National Enquirer for the headlines they choose to use as in this case.

    Secondly, the guy quoted, Parvinder Singh, appears to be an ignorant buffoon as there are no holy cows for Sikhs.

    Thirdly, Suki is correct that sexual assault isn't confined to any one group of people, Sundari should get a clue.

    Fourthly, INDIAN/ PUNJABI culture is to blame for foeticide or infanticide.

    Finally, if people who claim to be Sikhs would even remotely practice the faith there wouldn't be any infanticide or foeticide amongst Sikhs and the Punjab would be a better place for it.

    Have a nice day.

  10. Kaptaan says:

    No doubt Langar Hall posters are as bad as the National Enquirer for the headlines they choose to use as in this case.

    Secondly, the guy quoted, Parvinder Singh, appears to be an ignorant buffoon as there are no holy cows for Sikhs.

    Thirdly, Suki is correct that sexual assault isn’t confined to any one group of people, Sundari should get a clue.

    Fourthly, INDIAN/ PUNJABI culture is to blame for foeticide or infanticide.

    Finally, if people who claim to be Sikhs would even remotely practice the faith there wouldn’t be any infanticide or foeticide amongst Sikhs and the Punjab would be a better place for it.

    Have a nice day.

  11. Sundari says:

    Kaptaan, I’m not exactly sure what’s so ‘controversial’ about my title. If you can’t look beyond the title to see the symbolism – then that’s not really my fault. I’m not going to ‘dumb down’ my titles in fear of how they will be perceived. The title refers to the discrepancy in progress that exists within our society – your paranoia as to what you think it means is your own issue.
    – – –
    Suki, I completely agree with you that what happened in the gurdwara is something that occurs in many different places of worship. I don’t recall ever stating that this event is somehow unique to the Sikh community. Suki & Kaptaan, just because it does occur in many different places of worship somehow makes it okay to happen in a gurdwara??? (Yes Kaptaan, i realize I’m putting words into your mouth – but you do it so well to others). I don’t think it’s okay and that’s why I blogged about it. Perhaps I do hold our community to a higher standard – but that’s only because I think we’re doing an injustice to what the Gurus have taught us about equality and human rights. It doesn’t make it less significant that these issues occur in every community – my argument is that we should not condone it occurring in our own.

  12. Sundari says:

    Kaptaan, I'm not exactly sure what's so 'controversial' about my title. If you can't look beyond the title to see the symbolism – then that's not really my fault. I'm not going to 'dumb down' my titles in fear of how they will be perceived. The title refers to the discrepancy in progress that exists within our society – your paranoia as to what you think it means is your own issue.

    – – –

    Suki, I completely agree with you that what happened in the gurdwara is something that occurs in many different places of worship. I don't recall ever stating that this event is somehow unique to the Sikh community. Suki & Kaptaan, just because it does occur in many different places of worship somehow makes it okay to happen in a gurdwara??? (Yes Kaptaan, i realize I'm putting words into your mouth – but you do it so well to others). I don't think it's okay and that's why I blogged about it. Perhaps I do hold our community to a higher standard – but that's only because I think we're doing an injustice to what the Gurus have taught us about equality and human rights. It doesn't make it less significant that these issues occur in every community – my argument is that we should not condone it occurring in our own.

  13. Kaptaan says:

    Sundari, I'm not putting words in other people's mouths and getting into trying to trash me personally just shows your level of reasoning…

    If you would bother to read you'd notice that SAVRAJ pointed to your title as being 'flamebait'…

    The way you try and link gender bias with a case of sex assault is what I objected to, trying to come across as some deep thinker about how 'we haven't progressed very far', blah, blah, blah… Come up with something original already.

  14. Kaptaan says:

    Sundari, I’m not putting words in other people’s mouths and getting into trying to trash me personally just shows your level of reasoning…

    If you would bother to read you’d notice that SAVRAJ pointed to your title as being ‘flamebait’…

    The way you try and link gender bias with a case of sex assault is what I objected to, trying to come across as some deep thinker about how ‘we haven’t progressed very far’, blah, blah, blah… Come up with something original already.

  15. Sundari says:

    For clarification Kaptaan, you said "Sundari should get a clue." You're the one who set the precedent for this conversation – I'm not attacking you personally but I will defend my opinion.

    – – –

    You also said "If you would bother to read you’d notice that SAVRAJ pointed to your title as being ‘flamebait’." Correct, but you're the one who likened it to the national enquirer and you should have predicted that I would respond to that.

    – – –

    In case you'd actually like to have a dialogue about this issue – then I will emphasize that there is a link between gender inequality and violence against women which includes female infanticide and sexual abuse. To you, this link or argument is far too simplistic – well, the reality is that the connection is simple – gender inequality leads to violence. It's not enough to save a female from sex-selected abortion if she is only to be abused later on in life. Believe me I'm not trying to make a deep argument about this.

  16. Sundari says:

    For clarification Kaptaan, you said “Sundari should get a clue.” You’re the one who set the precedent for this conversation – I’m not attacking you personally but I will defend my opinion.
    – – –
    You also said “If you would bother to read youd notice that SAVRAJ pointed to your title as being flamebait.” Correct, but you’re the one who likened it to the national enquirer and you should have predicted that I would respond to that.
    – – –
    In case you’d actually like to have a dialogue about this issue – then I will emphasize that there is a link between gender inequality and violence against women which includes female infanticide and sexual abuse. To you, this link or argument is far too simplistic – well, the reality is that the connection is simple – gender inequality leads to violence. It’s not enough to save a female from sex-selected abortion if she is only to be abused later on in life. Believe me I’m not trying to make a deep argument about this.

  17. Suki says:

    Will this ever end.

    Father-in-law killed his daughter-in-law cause her family failed to make a dowry payment last week in Toronto. I just hope that the community leaders for once spend there time dealing with the issue and instead of blaming the mainstream media like they always day with this issue. And maybe the coverage in mainstream media will shame the community into doing something, before more young punjabi sikh women lose there life for the simple crime of being females.
    http://www.thestar.com/Crime/article/562642

  18. Suki says:

    Will this ever end.

    Father-in-law killed his daughter-in-law cause her family failed to make a dowry payment last week in Toronto. I just hope that the community leaders for once spend there time dealing with the issue and instead of blaming the mainstream media like they always day with this issue. And maybe the coverage in mainstream media will shame the community into doing something, before more young punjabi sikh women lose there life for the simple crime of being females.
    http://www.thestar.com/Crime/article/562642

  19. PCJ says:

    Why fire the Gyani? I thought SGPC's definition of a Sikh was s/he has uncut hair. After all, he is a Sikh, even if he a child molester. I am pretty sure if he wanted to go to a medical school, he would have been given preference as a Sikh than someone with short hair and claiming to be a Sikh.

  20. PCJ says:

    Why fire the Gyani? I thought SGPC’s definition of a Sikh was s/he has uncut hair. After all, he is a Sikh, even if he a child molester. I am pretty sure if he wanted to go to a medical school, he would have been given preference as a Sikh than someone with short hair and claiming to be a Sikh.

  21. karakara says:

    Two quick comments: I think the title of this article is suggestive of something entirely different, more of a sexual nature.

    I agree with some of the posters here that this article is both misleading in title, and that the issues of:

    1)Female Foeticide

    2) Quote equating feoticide with killing of a 'holy cow'..

    Sometimes I simply can't believe what I'm reading or hearing.

    To address the above:

    1) I have never heard of any problem of 'foeticide' outside of the Punjabi Sikh community.. in other words, Gora Sikhs, Malaysian Sikhs, etc., DO NOT KILL THEIR INFANTS. This has nothing to do with Sikhism and everything to do with cultural problems in India.

    2) SIKHS DO NOT HOLD 'COWS' TO BE HOLY. I see the Hindu influence and leanings of the 'Singh' who wrote this are lamentable, but again this is entirely a Punjabi cultural issue, not something that the Sikh community around world struggles with.

  22. karakara says:

    Two quick comments: I think the title of this article is suggestive of something entirely different, more of a sexual nature.

    I agree with some of the posters here that this article is both misleading in title, and that the issues of:

    1)Female Foeticide
    2) Quote equating feoticide with killing of a ‘holy cow’..

    Sometimes I simply can’t believe what I’m reading or hearing.

    To address the above:
    1) I have never heard of any problem of ‘foeticide’ outside of the Punjabi Sikh community.. in other words, Gora Sikhs, Malaysian Sikhs, etc., DO NOT KILL THEIR INFANTS. This has nothing to do with Sikhism and everything to do with cultural problems in India.
    2) SIKHS DO NOT HOLD ‘COWS’ TO BE HOLY. I see the Hindu influence and leanings of the ‘Singh’ who wrote this are lamentable, but again this is entirely a Punjabi cultural issue, not something that the Sikh community around world struggles with.

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