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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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