Sikhi and Women

In a climate where all regions considered Women as inferior. No more than property
owned by men, Guru Nanak Dev li, the founder of Sikh', shocked the entire society by
preaching that women were worthy of praise and equal to men. Five hundred years later,
rest of mankind is only now waking up to this fundamental truth.


Throughout history, women were treated as mere property whose only
value was as a servant or for entertainment. They we're considered
seducers and distractions from man's spiritual path. Men were allowed

polgamy but widows were not allowed to remarry but encouraged to burn
themselves on their husband's funeral pyre (sati).


Child marriage and female infanticide were prevalent and purdah (veils)
were popular for women.


Women were also not allowed to inherit any property. Many Hindu women
were captured and sold as slaves in Islamic countries.


Action speaks louder than words

Guru Nanak Dev Ji broke the shackles of women by admitting them into
the sangat (congregation) without any restrictions or reservations. Guru
Nanak felt that his message was meant as much for women as for men.


Guru Angad Dev Ji encouraged the education of all Sikhs, men
and women •


Guru Amar Das Ji condemned the cruel custom of sati, female infanticide
and advocated widow remarriage.


Guru Amar Das Ji also believed that women wearing veils (purdah) was
demeaning. The Guru refused to meet the queen of Haripur or to allow
any woman into the congregation wearing a veil.


Guru Gobind Singh Ji made the Khalsa initiation ceremony open to men
and women alike, a woman being just as worthy.


A Sikh woman is an individual in her own right, she does not have
to take her husband's name and is Kaur till her death.


Sikhism requires women to be respected and praised; they are

equal to men and are the very conscience of Humanity.


"We are born of woman, we are conceived in the womb of woman, we are
engaged and married to woman. We make friendship with woman and the
lineage continued because of woman. When one woman dies, we take
another one, we are bound with the world through woman. Why should we
talk ill of her, who gives birth to kings? The woman is born from woman;
there is none without her. Only the One True Lord is without woman"
(Guru Nanak Dev li, Var Asa, pg. 473)


Among all the women and the men, His Light is shining (Guru 

Nanak Dev li, Gauri pg 223-4)


"The blind-man abandons the wife of his home, and has an affair
with another's woman. He is like the parrot, who is pleased to see
the simbal tree, but at last dies clinging to it." (Bhagat Nam Dev
Ji, Bhairo, pg. 1165)


Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, the 6th Sikh Guru showed great respect for women and
declared: - "woman is the conscience of man" •


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Comment by Jaspreet on January 6, 2013 at 8:46
Without sikhi there would be no hope no sunshine on this earth.."DHAN GURU NANAK"
Comment by Veer Singh on June 5, 2011 at 21:46

Women weren't allowed to do Kirtan at Harmandar Sahib. People often used 'periods' as an excuse. Waheguru did Kirpaa and this 'ban' was formally lifted by SGPC some days back! (atleast this is what they showed on TV)

Altough I had read a news of a similar decision in 2005 (which most probably wasn't put into action).


Lets hope this time the change is implemented and our bibian are allowed to do Kirtan.

Comment by Ishna on June 5, 2011 at 11:01

Sherry ji


Thanks for the clarification.  What kinds of seva are there to do at the Golden Temple?  I know of washing the floors, and langar seva (which I understand women can do), but what else is there?  Which ones are done by either gender alone (ie. men only washing floor) and which ones are done by both (ie. langar seva)?


No idea why kirtan can't be done by women in Darbar Sahib but it really, really needs to change because it's a stupid rule.  And the only argument "there are too many people to do kirtan" shouldn't prohibit even one woman a day doing 30 minutes.  That would be a start at least.

Comment by Veer Singh on June 3, 2011 at 23:27

Here is proof that our own SGPC doesn't give a damn about Sikhi:


Indian Express - 31 October 2000
SGPC let me down, says Tamil Sikh


AMRITSAR, OCT 30: Kandasamy Singh, a Tamil who adopted the Sikh faith is running from pillar to post to collect his dues standing against Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). He was appointed a parcharak (religious preacher) by the former president of the SGPC, Gurcharan Singh Tohra. He said that when he went to the SGPC office today, the officials refused to talk to him saying the president who appointed him had been changed and his name had been deleted from the list.

Kandasamy who lodged a written complaint with the SGPC president and sent a copy to the secretary, said that he was astonished to see the behaviour of the SGPC officials.``I was appointed parcharak by Tohra who asked me to propagate the tenets of Sikhism in the distant land of Tamils. I organised various Guru Ka Langars in the rural areas and also operated a mobile library in Marai Malai Nagar in Tamil Nadu but I was told today that my name had been deleted because the president had been changed,'' he said.

He further disclosed that he was influenced by Sikhism and adopted the religion in 1996 when he came to see his brother in Delhi who was a tailor in Karol Bagh."I was eager to visit the Golden Temple and came here in 1998. I met Tohra who was so impressed with my conviction that he asked me if I could take up the task of teaching Sikhism in my native state. I accepted his offer and even underwent training in the Gurudwara here and at Chandigarh,'' he said.

He further said that Tohra promised to give him Rs 4000 per month for the expenditure on various promotional activities. "But I was so engrossed with the propagation work that I never demanded any money and today when I approached the secretary of SGPC, Gurbachan Singh Bachan, he refused to talk to me. When I approached the officials of Dharam Parchar Committee (DPC) they embarrassed me by saying they do not know English and I should talk to them in Punjabi instead,'' he said.

He said that he was going to meet Simranjeet Singh Mann at his village tomorrow and would also lodge a complaint with the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

"I am an advocate by profession and was delighted to adopt the Sikh way of life but the attitude of the SGPC and of the DPC was astonishing. Instead of rewarding me for my translation of Sikh history into Tamil I was meted out humiliating treatment in the committee office,'' he said.

When Contacted Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary, SGPC, said that he did not remember meeting Kandasamy Singh but he would definitely go through the complaint letter written to the president.

"It is wrong to say that he was meted out such treatment because he was appointed by a former president. There is more than 90 per cent of the preachers appointed by Tohra and it did not mean that we would treat them discriminately. I would personally look into the matter and his grievances would be redressed,'' said Bachan.

Comment by Veer Singh on June 3, 2011 at 23:26

Thing is those influences remain in some of our orthodox organisations such as Taksal and Nihang Jathebandis.
See all the Manmat that goes on in Hajur Sahib. Nihangs do Aarti in tray of fire while reciting Dhanasri M:1 Aarti, a Sabad which condemned the very ritual they are performing.


Our management committees are too busy filling their pockets with Golak money, they don't do anything for Panth (except beautify some existing gurdwaras - often destroying original architecture/marble - too fool us into believing that they still do something for panth).

Comment by Amarjit Singh Gupta on June 3, 2011 at 16:55
Ishna Ji,  Those at the helm of affairs of the Gurdwara Management in India are not at all devoted Sikhs. They are power hungry, it's as simple as this.  All the historical Gurdwaras including the Golden Temple are under the control of these so-called Sikh leaders so they bend the rules of Sikhi as per their wish. It's not that the struggle to bring equality in Gurdwaras is not going but the struggle is likely to go ahead for years.
Comment by Ishna on June 3, 2011 at 14:38
Sherry ji, I'm not sure if maybe I'm misunderstanding you, or my ignorance is getting in the way- when you say Darbar Sahib, do you mean the entire Golden Temple or do you mean the hall that contains Guru Granth Sahib Ji? Because like I said, my understanding is that women can do seva at Golden Temple, but men and women don't do the seva of washing the floor together cos they wear their underwear while doing it so they don't get their pants wet - and it would be inappropriate for men and women to be washing the floor in their underware together.

Also, it's ok to say that when Sikhs were in the jungles others were in the Gurdwaras corrupting things - it's another thing all together for highly educated and devoted Sikhs of today to allow it to continue. But the wheels on the politics wagon turn super slow.
Comment by Veer Singh on June 3, 2011 at 9:31
When the Singhs were hunted down by Mughals, they went to the jungles. Here Mahants, Udasis and Nirmalas became caretakers of Gurdwaras. It was in this time that bad things got into Sikhi, such as idols etc. Some influence is still there in Sikhi, and women not allowed to do kirtan is one of those influences.
Waheguru willing it shall change one day.
Comment by Ishna on June 3, 2011 at 8:31

I don't know the technicalities of it - I've never been to Harmandir Sahib, but the gyani ji at my Gurdwara says that women can do seva in the kitchen, etc, but they don't wash the floors because the men only wear their kacchera while doing it, so they don't have men and women do it at the same time.


The real tragedy is women can't do kirtan in Darbar Sahib... however my gyani ji said he had to wait a long time for his turn to do kirtan there and he only got to do it for half an hour because so many people want to do it.  It would be nice if they would allow some women to do it though.

Comment by Ishna on June 2, 2011 at 14:58
For sure, it is beautiful an truly inspiring. :)

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