Tag Archives: sikhism

Breaking: College Is a Pretty Time Consuming

…but I still find time to miss blogging 😦

Today is Gurpurab! It’s the birthday of the first prophet of Sikhism, who was quite the feminist:

gurpurab

So happy happy gurpurab to all!

Other than that, I’m not sure if I have nothing to talk about, or so much to talk about that I don’t know where to begin.

Oh OMG.

I’m doing a talk on Sikhism in my World Religions class :O

WTH SHOULD I SAY EVEN. HELLO, I AM SIKH, HOW ARE YOU. BOLLYWOOD PORTRAYS US BADLY. NICE TO MEET U???

Jk, I have a pretty solid outline. I’m just afraid I’m going to bore people. Also I want to bring in Sikhi-related snacks?? Like I’ve been googling “Khanda Shaped Cookies,” and “Sikh treats??” All to no avail. I would make some but A) Idk if you’re allowed to bring in homemade things, and B) this one time I pranked my brother by making him think I was giving him a glass of carnation milk, but really it was a glass of water and salt. And I feel like whatever I make would probably taste something like that.

ALSO

I have been so into South Asian high fashion lately.

Some of my favorite stuff:

Neeta Lulla

Neeta Lulla

Beige embroidered anarkali set with studded waist belt

Malasa

Obviously these things would cost roughly my first child. But it’s fun to window shop! Also, I realized what I like about high fashion things compared to…not-high fashion things? is that they’re kind of more understated. But I’ve discovered that I can make knockoffs by pairing dresses from Forever 21 and salwars I have laying around 😀

Anyways, I have to write a paper :/ I have Microsoft Word open and it’s literally glowing like “why aren’t you writing me you procrastinating failure” so imma go. BUT I’LL TRY TO BE BACK SOON, OK!?

I love u

M

PS- Thoughts on the new theme? I love the concept but is it too cold? Ok bi

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Gandhi tho :/

Ya girl ain’t got a whole lot of love for “the father of India.”

 

 

I’ve had this post in mind for a long time, literally years, but I know a lot of people look up to Gandhi, and if you’re one of those people, reading this won’t be that fun of a time. But so much about Gandhi that really irks me is never talked about, and I feel like it really should be. So here goes.

For one thing, he was racist.

Which makes it particularly annoying when people compare him to Nelson Mandela.

Gandhi regularly used the term “Kaffirs” when referring to black people, which is essentially as disrespectful as using the n-word. Additionally, on the status of Indians in South Africa, he is quoted as saying,”the Indian is being dragged down to the position of the raw Kaffir(…)whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a number of cattle to buy a wife, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.” Also, “We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized — the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals.”

…..

……..

so….yeah. There’s that.

And I know a lot of people society tends to look up to are nowhere near perfect, but for someone put on SUCH an incredibly high pedestal, we certainly don’t talk about how racist Gandhi was enough. Like, it’s not like he committed arson as a kid, or had a drug addiction, or anything like that. He had a deep-seated, inexpiable hatred of black people. This wasn’t a mistake he made, or anything in the realm of things that could be forgiven, you know? Like Michael Jackson. Did he get plastic surgery? Yeah. Did he get more than he admitted? It’s possible. But does that discredit everything he did? Not at all. But Gandhi is known for his advocacy of nonviolence, which implies an appreciation for life. And so his racism is in complete contradiction of what he stands for in society’s eyes.

 

 

 

And the second reason I don’t look up to Gandhi is because of his view of Sikhs.

 

If you look, you can find positive statements Gandhi made about Sikhs. However, many people of prominence during Gandhi’s time were making positive statements about Sikhs, because, like how Muslims were given Pakistan when the British left India, the Sikhs were very close to being given their own state, Khalistan. Seeing this, and fearing the loss of land, Indian officials spoke favorably of Sikhs, to convince them that they did not need Khalistan. Promises were made to Sikhs, and ultimately, we decided we did not need a Khalistan. However, after we turned down the offer and decided to stay in India, the promises made to us were broken. You can gather Gandhi’s true opinion of Sikhs in statements he made more privately–

 

For one thing, he tried to devalue the Sikh identity–

“I read your Granth Sahib. But I do not do so to please you. Nor shall I seek your permission to do so. But the Guru has not said anywhere that you must grow your beards, carry kirpans (swords) and so on”

It is very clear to Sikhs that we have been commanded to maintain our identity, which includes unshorn hair and carrying kirpans. Like, we have a whole holiday dedicated to the anniversary of the day that our prophet made this commandment. If Gandhi felt that we do so unnecessarily, fine. That’s not what bothers me so much. It’s his almost hostile tone in the above quote that really gets me, when he feels the need to state he read the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, but not to please Sikhs. Like why you gotta add that last part? C’mon. Gandhi has also been recorded as saying that he does not acknowledge Sikhism as a religion. Which, as a Sikh myself, is pretty insulting. The man who people refer to as the father of India did not acknowledge Sikhs. He would not have acknowledge me.

I think Sikhs in general don’t have a whole lot of love for Gandhi, given the above paragraph. Growing up, I was never taught about Gandhi by adults in my community. The only thing I ever heard about him was that he called Sikhism’s 10th prophet a mountain rat. I haven’t been able to find this quote, but I wouldn’t really be surprised if I did.

 

I did learn about Shaheed Bhagat Singh, though. He was an atheist who was born into a Sikh family. Like Gandhi, he was pro-independence, and he made contributions to the independence movement. He even fasted in protest of the British government, just like Gandhi did. But it seems no one remembers Shaheed Bhagat Singh, at least not to the extent that they remember Gandhi. Shaheed Bhagat Singh was eventually killed in his fight for independence, and yet he is not seen the way Gandhi is seen, not by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe it’s because he was not against the use of violence, the way Gandhi was. Or maybe it’s because of his family line linking him to Sikhism, and what people like Gandhi have done to make sure that people in this category are seen in a different light in India.

 

 

So…I didn’t write this post to offend anyone. I just wanted to offer a fuller picture of Gandhi’s beliefs to those who might not know about all of them. Whether or not this has changed your view of him, if you ever come across someone who does not appreciate Gandhi as much as most people seem to, perhaps you will have a little more understanding as to where he/she is coming from.

Thoughts?

-M

 

 

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Give Thanks: Remembering a Sacrifice

You probably know that this Thursday is THANKSGIVING!!! You might also know that it is HANUKKHA as well!! Woo! And you probably DON’T know that Thursday is also Shaheedi Gurupurab!!

SAY WHAT M?! 

Basically, a Shaheedi Gurpurab in Sikhism is the martyrdom anniversary of someone significant in our religion. And for this particular one on Thursday, it’s pretty interesting that it falls on Thanksgiving. Let me tell you why.

This Shaheedi Gurpurab marks the death of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the 9th prophet of Sikhism. To give some background, there are ten prophets in Sikhism. When Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s predecessor, Guru Har Krishan Ji, was dying, he said that the next prophet would be found in the village of Bakala. Predictably, TONS of dudes from Bakala were like I’m totally the next one. And so the man who’s task it was to find the next prophet was in quite a pickle. His name was Baba Makhan Shah Labana…we’ll call him Butter for short. Some time earlier, Butter had been on a boat that was sort of capsizing, and he prayed to God and said if he survived he would donate 500 mohars, the currency at the time. What he said was, and this is form Wikipedia so idk how accurate it is, “”Please save my ship and my men… I pledge the 500 gold mohars tied to the belt at my waist, which without your help will soon be at the bottom of the sea. Please accept this as my humble offering.” 

Fast forward back the the search for the next Guru. When he got to Bakala, he began handing out mohars. Tons of people were flocking him and telling him they were the prophet. He was like lol aight whatever you say people smh. A man named Tegh Bahadur, though, was just chilling in his house. When Butter eventually crossed paths with Tegh Bahadur, he handed him two mohars. The (not yet named) Guru took them and smiled. He asked, “Where are the other 498?” 

:O

GET IT? BECAUSE BUTTER HAD PRAYED TO GOD AND OFFERED 500. BUT GURU TEGH BAHADUR WASN’T ON THE SHIP WITH HIM OR ANYTHING. SO HOW DID HE KNOW. 

:OOOOOOOO

Needless to say, Butter freaked and went around yelling from the hilltops that he had found the prophet.

Okay. Background over. Back to the Thanksgiving-Shaheedi Gurpurab connection.

During the Mughal rule in India, many people converted to Islam. Some did so voluntarily, while others were forced. At one point, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was trying to get a certain group of Hindus to convert, and these Hindus went to the Sikh prophet Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji for help. He told them to tell the Mughal that if he could convince himself (Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji) to convert, then all of the Hindus would as well. And so the Hindus were like um ok lol if you’re sure and told this to Aurangzeb, who wasn’t to happy. In fact, he had Guru Ji arrested and tortured until he embraced Islam, which he never did. Finally, Aurangzeb told Guru Ji that he could either become a Muslim or be killed. And killed he was.

Guru Ji was not just standing up for Sikhs. He was defending Hindus, who practice a completely different faith than us and whose teachings contradict many of ours. Additionally, Hindus had, on occasion, betrayed Sikhs our to enemies. This didn’t stop him from giving his life for them. Furthermore, he was not trying to take a stand against Islam. The founders of Sikhism were known to be tight with some Hindus AND Muslims. What he was doing was standing up for everyones’ freedom to live his or her life the way she or he wants, as a Sikh, as a Muslim, a Hindu, anything. And this Thursday, I don’t know how much I’m going to be celebrating the beginning of the systematic removal of Native Americans from their land, but one of the things I am going to try to remember the sacrifice Guru Ji made. The fact that I am a Sikh can be directly traced to his sacrifice, and for this, I am thankful.

What about you guys? What’s going to be on your minds this Turkey Day? Comment below, I’d love to know. 🙂 Yes, I am a rapper.

-M

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BANDI CHOR DIVAS!

Okay first things first. I know I said I would do more on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this week, but Bandi Chor Divas is this coming Sunday AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT IT BEFORE IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS, YOU KNOW?
Also, I know I said I might post a little bit during the week about Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but then I thought about it, and I know it emails some of you everytime I post, and I don’t want you to get like multiple emails a week, right? Would that be annoying? Or would it be ok? Lemme know!

OKAY. BANDI CHOR DIVAS.

I have to start this post by taking a trip down memory lane. Last year around this time I was all

diwalipost2012

You don’t actually have to read all of that. I just put it  there for visual effect. if you already read it…I’m sorry. I should have put this before I put that whole thing. So you would know not to read it. …

kareena

Haha it’s all good, M.

kareena1

Nah, it’s okay! They probably didn’t even read the whole thing!

kareena2

…what?

kareena3

M…what are you sayi-

kareena4

M CALM DOWN! IT’S OK! NOBODY READ IT!

kareena5

WHERE ARE WE TRAPPED??

kareena6

NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE!

kareena7

shahid2

kareena8

What, Voice of Reason?

shahid4

Get on with the post.

kareena9

ok.

Ok. SO last year around Diwali time I told you guys about Diwali! I told you that it is a Hindu holiday with significance in Sikhism as well, right? WELL GUESS WHAT? IT TURNS OUT WE ACTUALLY HAVE OUR OWN HOLIDAY COMPLETELY SEPARATE FROM DIWALI, WHICH CELEBRATES WHAT I THOUGHT WE CELEBRATE DIWALI FOR. BY WE I MEAN SIKHS. DOES THIS…DOES IT MAKE SENSE? NO? LET ME EXPLAIN THEN.

Okay, so last year I told you guys that Diwali is significant for us Sikhs because one of our Gurus, Guru Hargobind Ji, was released from jail. This is him, btw:

And he didn’t leave jail just like that. There were 52 Hindu prisoners who were wrongfully imprisoned, and when Guru Ji was told he could leave, he said that he wouldn’t leave unless the 52 Hindus were also freed. Emperor Jahangir, who was the one in charge here, was basically like lol.

“this guy wants me to release everyone else, smh”

And so Jahangir said “Aight, as many prisoners can hold on to the hem of your shirt, that’s how many can go free.” And so he probably thought it would be like one or two prisoners. Buuuut Guru Har Gobind Ji had something up his sleeve (that’s almost a pun but not quite 😥 )

Let’s just say, he had a special shirt made…

And so all the prisoners who were just imprisoned for their religion were freed. And this happened right before Diwali, so thanks to Guru Hargobind Ji, all of the Hindu prisoners got to celebrate their holiday as free men. And us Sikhs, we gained a holiday ourselves, known as Bandi Chor Divas, or Day of Liberation. 

To me, this holiday is pretty special. It’s all about justice. Guru Ji was free to go and everything, and he didn’t have to risk his freedom by making demands of his own. But he did. Also, what kind of prisoner makes demands for his own release? Like, that’s pretty boss. 

Anyways, Bandi Chor Divas is this Sunday. Whether or not you celebrate it, enjoy the holiday! And remember the value of justice, and how much even just one person can make a difference. 

Happy Bandi Chor Divas 🙂

-M

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Oak Creek–A Year Later

It’ll be a year ago tomorrow–August 5th, 2012.

I had been in San Francisco for a couple of days by then for my uncle’s wedding. It had been the best couple of days, all leading up to the big one. On the 5th, I woke up, ready to witness my uncle get married. This day was also my grandpa’s 79th birthday. He was with us in San Francisco as well. Unfortunately, when I woke up on the 5th, it was neither my uncle’s wedding nor my grandfather’s birthday that everyone was talking about. I walked into my grandparents’ room, and their little t.v that was nestled in the closet was turned to CNN. The headline was something along the lines of

“Temple Shooting, Oak Creek, Wisconsin.”

My grandma saw me looking at the screen and said, “A gurdwara.”

I was 5 at the time of 9/11. I didn’t know what it was like to see the word “Sikh” on a t.v screen. After 9/11, my mom remembers seeing the word in the news every now and then, reporting a hate crime against a Sikh. Eventually, news coverage died down for crimes like these, but everyone in the Sikh community new they still happened just as often. But there was something about August 5th, 2012, that was such a shock. A Gurdwara. It happened in a Gurdwara. Maybe it’s because I’ve always considered my religion and my Sikh practices something separate from the rest of the world. I’ve never lived somewhere where there is a large Sikh community, so naturally I’d become used to saying things like “temple” or “church” instead of “Gurdwara,” and “my religion” or “my culture” instead of “Sikhism.” It wasn’t that I was ashamed of any aspect of my religion, it was just that I knew that that part of my life was something unique to my family, and not everyone would understand the words we use to describe it. And so to see the words “Sikh” and “Gurdwara” in mainstream news was really the strangest thing. It was one aspect of my life, one that it felt like no one else had ever known of, and all of a sudden, everyone was talking about it. It felt like everyone was talking about me, like it was me in the news. After getting ready, I remember being dropped off a short walk away from my uncle’s house, where the ceremony would take place. I had just gotten off the phone with my mom, who called us from the East Coast, to make sure we were okay. And as I walked up the street, I couldn’t stop the tears as I thought about what had happened some states away from me. People had gone to gurdwara on this Sunday, as we do, they did their Matha Taik, as we do, and sat down for Kirtan. How was it that some of them were now dead? So easily, so easily, that could have been me. On the Sundays I go to Gurdwara, that is me. To me, those things are so personal–Gurdwara, Matha Taik, etc. How had someone gone in to that space with the intention to kill? As a Sikh, I’m used to hate crimes against people like me. But this one was so invasive. It wasn’t a Sikh man walking down the street who was shot, or a Sikh woman in her car that was pushed off the road, but it was a man who went into a Gurdwara, our safe place, the one place where we are completely comfortable with our identities, and shot and killed us. Yes, we’re used to hate crimes. We’re used to being called names. But Oak Creek was like, in one moment, everything we’ve been through reached a boiling point.

Although the pain of Oak Creek was, and still is, hard to bear, it was obvious from the beginning that something positive would come from it. For once, it seemed that more people than just us had noticed this crime against us. Many different communities showed respect for our small one.

oakcreek1

At least this tragic event, in an odd way, put Sikhism…on the map? That sounds weird, but it really did raise awareness of who Sikhs are. At least it got people wondering, you know? And, even though Sikhs aren’t often in the news, every time we are, I am constantly proud of how we present ourselves. It was notable, after this tragedy, that, instead of closing our doors in fear, Gurdwaras all over the world, including Oak Creek, welcomed people of all religions, as we always have done. Gurdwaras are open to whoever wants to sit, listen to prayer, or even just eat a warm meal. And not even this could shake that.

A year later, there are still hate crimes. Just this week a Gurdwara was vandalized. However, progress has been made also. Hate crimes against Sikhs are now tracked by the FBI–something the son of victim Parmjit Kaur testified in favor of. In fact, check out his whole speech. It really is worth it–(It’s copy-pasted down below, but I can’t get it nicely formatted, so you can read it HERE instead if you wish).

“My name is Harpreet Singh Saini. I would like to thank Senator Durbin, Ranking Member
Graham, and the entire subcommittee for giving me the opportunity to be here today. I am here
because my mother was murdered in an act of hate 45 days ago. I am here on behalf of all the
children who lost parents or grandparents during the massacre in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
A little over a month ago, I never imagined I’d be here. I never imagined that anyone outside of
Oak Creek would know my name. Or my mother’s name. Paramjit Kaur Saini. Or my brother’s
name, Kamaljit Singh Saini. Kamal, my brother and best friend, is here with me today.
As we all know, on Sunday, August 5, 2012, a white supremacist fueled by hatred walked into
our local Gurdwara with a loaded gun. He killed my mother, Paramjit Kaur, while she was
sitting for morning prayers. He shot and killed five more men – all of them were fathers, all had
turbans like me.
And now people know all our names: Sita Singh. Ranjit Singh. Prakash Singh. Suvegh Singh.
Satwant Singh Kaleka.
This was not supposed to be our American story. This was not my mother’s dream.
My mother and father brought Kamal and me to America in 2004. I was only 10 years-old. Like
many other immigrants, they wanted us to have a better life, a better education. More options. In
the land of the free. In the land of diversity.
It was a Tuesday, 2 days after our mother was killed, that my brother Kamal and I ate the
leftovers of the last meal she had made for us. We ate her last rotis – which are a type of South
Asian flatbread. She had made the rotis from scratch the night before she died. Along with the
last bite of our food that Tuesday…came the realization that this was the last meal, made
by the hands of our mother, that we will ever eat in our lifetime. My mother was a brilliant woman, a reasonable woman. Everyone knew she was smart, but she
never had the chance to get a formal education. She couldn’t. As a hard-working immigrant, she
had to work long hours to feed her family, to get her sons educated, and help us achieve our
American dreams. This was more important to her than anything else.
Senators, my mother was our biggest fan, our biggest supporter. She was always there for us, she
always had a smile on her face.
But now she’s gone. Because of a man who hated her because she wasn’t his color? His religion?
I just had my first day of college. And my mother wasn’t there to send me off. She won’t be
there for my graduation. She won’t be there on my wedding day. She won’t be there to meet her
grandchildren.
I want to tell the gunman who took her from me: You may have been full of hate, but my mother
was full of love.
She was an American. And this was not our American dream.
It was not the American dream of Prakash Singh, who had only been reunited with his family for

a few precious weeks after 6 years apart. When he heard gunshots that morning, he told his two
children to hide in the basement. He saved their lives. When it was over, his children found him
lying in a pool of blood. They shook his body and cried “Papa! Get up!” But he was gone.
It was not the American dream of Suvegh Singh Khattra, a retired farmer who came here to be
with his children and grandchildren. That morning, his family found him face down, a bullet in
his head, his turban thrown to the side.
It was not the American dream of Satwant Singh Kaleka, president of the gurdwara who was
killed while bravely fighting the gunman.
It was not the American dream of Sita Singh and Ranjit Singh, two brothers who sang prayers for
our community and were separated from their families for 16 years. Their wives and children
came to this country for the first time for their funerals.
It was not the American dream of Santokh Singh or Punjab Singh who were injured in the
massacre. Punjab Singh’s sons are by his side day and night, but he may never fully recover from
his multiple gunshot wounds.
We ache for our loved ones. We have lost so much. But I want people to know that our heads are
held high.
My mother was a devout Sikh. Like all Sikhs, she was bound to live in Chardi Kala – a state of
high spirits and optimism. She was also taught as a Sikh to neither have fear of anyone nor strike
fear in anyone.

So despite what happened, we will not live in a state of fear, nor will be make anyone fearful.
Like my Mother, my brother and I are working every day to be in a state of high spirits and
optimism.
We also know that we are not alone. Tens of thousands of people sent us letters, attended vigils,
and gave us their support – Oak Creek’s Mayor and Police Chief, Wisconsin’s Governor, the
President and the First Lady. All their support also gave me the strength to come here today.
Senators, I came here today to ask the government to give my mother the dignity of being a
statistic. The FBI does not track hate crimes against Sikhs. My mother and those shot that day
will not even count on a federal form. We cannot solve a problem we refuse to recognize.
Senators, I also ask that the government pursue domestic terrorists with the same vigor as
attackers from abroad. The man who killed my mother was on the watch lists of public interest
groups. I believe the government could have tracked him long before he went on a shooting
spree.
Finally, Senators, I ask that you stand up for us. As lawmakers and leaders, you have the power
to shape public opinion. Your words carry weight. When others scapegoat or demean people
because of who they are, use your power to say that is wrong.
So many have asked Sikhs to simply blame Muslims for attacks against our community or just
say “We are not Muslim.” But we won’t blame anyone else. An attack on one of us is an attack
on all of us.
I also want to be a part of the solution. That’s why I want to be a law enforcement officer like Lt.
Brian Murphy, who saved so many lives on August 5, 2012. I want to protect other people from
what happened to my mother. I want to combat hate – not just against Sikhs but against all
people. Senators, I know what happened at Oak Creek was not an isolated incident. I fear it may
happen again if we don’t stand up and do something.
I don’t want anyone to suffer what we have suffered. I want to build a world where all people
can live, work, and worship in America in peace.
Because you see, despite everything, I still believe in the American dream. In my mother’s
memory, I ask that you stand up for it with me. Today. And in the days to come.
Thank you for considering my testimony.

The more times I read Saini’s testimony, the more respect I gain for a man who I already admire. Although he spoke hardly over a month after his mother passed, he articulated so many things that needed to be said, and he did so very well. “So many have asked Sikhs,” he says, “to simply blame Muslims for attacks against our community or just say ‘We are not Muslim.’ But we won’t blame anyone else. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

Such are the true teachings of our religion. It may sound corny, but I truly believe our Gurus are proud to hear someone who has endured so much pain be able to maintain a love for the rest of humanity, and not blame other religions for the problem, which is really the cause of this whole thing anyways. And he’s right. Hindus endure this kind of thing, and lord knows Muslims do too. So blaming each other really isn’t the solution.

So I don’t know how to wrap this up. Words of wisdom? Idk.

Just love, I guess. Love yourself, love Sikhs, love Muslims, Hindus, Christians, white people, black people, Desi people, Arab people, Hispanic people, just love them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to converse. And that goes for all of us. White people, brown people, me, you.  Just have an open heart. Educate yourself. Don’t see someone as just their religion, and don’t solely focus on your differences. Because really, we’re all just trying to live in this world.

In memory of Paramjit Kaur, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Prakash Singh, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, and Suveg Singh, and in honor of Lt. Brian Murphy.

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Diwali Ft. Nepaul

Yesterday my mom gave me these two maps. One is of the Indian subcontinent, and it has a bunch of information and illustrations on the back, and the other is a map of India from 1892. It is so crazy awesome. First of all, the county is just shaped different, because it still included present-day Bangladesh and Pakistan. And also, things are spelled differently. Nepal is “Nepaul” and Amritsar is “Umritsar,” just like Jalandhar is “Julunder.”  I’m trying to find out why. I know that Bombay changed to Mumbai and Calcutta changed to Kolkata too. The British spellings on the map sort of look like they’re the pronunciation of the way they’re spelled today. Which kind of makes sense. Whatever you got to do to pronounce desi words, you go ahead, you do it. You got this. Nepaul.

Also, this weekend my grandma was telling me that women aren’t allowed to do kirtan (recite prayer) in Harmander Sahib (the Golden Temple, which is the most iconic Sikh temple ). I don’t. I can’t. I just. What.

I’m kind of at a loss for words here so I think I’ll let Wikipedia handle this one:

“The role of women in Sikhism is outlined in the Sikh scriptures, which state that the Sikh woman is to be regarded as equal to the Sikh man. In Sikhism, women are considered to have the same souls as men and an equal right to grow spiritually. They are allowed to lead religious congregations, take part in the Akhand Path (the continuous recitation of the Holy Scriptures), perform Kirtan (congregational singing of hymns), work as a Granthi, andparticipate in all religious, cultural, social, and secular activities. As such, Sikhism was among the first major world religions to imply that women were equals to men.Guru Nanak proclaimed the equality of men and women, and both he and the gurus that succeded him allowed women to take a full part in all the activities of Sikh worship and practice.”[1]

Well then. The fact that women can’t do kirtan in Harmander Sahib is a blatant contradiction of Sikhism’s teachings. Equality of men and women is so emphasized in Sikhism, and that makes me so proud. I mean, the Gurus would name women as religious leaders. This happening in a Sikh temple in 2012 is embarrassing and shameful, and it doesn’t represent who we are.

On a lighter note, Happy Diwali everyone! Diwali is a Hindu holiday, and coincidentally, a memorable day for Sikhs as well. Oh, and it’s a holiday in Jainism as well. Whew. Okay here we go.

In Hinduism, Diwali actually has a lot of significance, but I think the main reason for it is that it was the day their God Rama returned.

In Sikhism, Diwali falls on the anniversary of the day Guru Hargobind Singh Ji (one of our founders) was released from prison. When he was told he could go, he said he wouldn’t go unless everyone else who was unfairly imprisoned could go too. So they told him however many people could hold onto his shirt could leave. And so Guru Hargobind Singh Ji had a huge shirt made, and 52 imprisoned Hindu kings held onto it as they were freed. (The only reason this section is longer than the others is because I’ve leaned more about it over the years)

In Jainism, the Lord Mahavira attained Moksh, or Nirvana, on Diwali.

If you want to learn more about Diwali, check out the wiki page HERE 🙂

Happy Diwali everybody!

-M

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