Sikh Woman Makes History in Khalsa Diwan Society – Ross Gurudwara Executive
The fundamentals of Sikhism recognize equality for all including gender equality and independence for women. Guru Nanak Dev Ji actively supported equal participation in society by women in the congregation and academia. The Guru Ji’s teachings offered equal status to women 500 years ago when it was virtually unheard of from others.
Sikh history has many examples of women in roles of service, leadership and bravery. Mata Tripta, Bebe Nanke and Mata Khivi are a few who led by example while many nameless Sikh women never gave up their faith in the name of Sikhism. Contemporary Sikh women can learn from Sikh history for role models and contribute to the political, academic and spiritual aspects of society. In addition to the very important and traditional roles of mother, daughter, wife and sister, Sikh women can embrace the Guru Ji’s teaching and his vision of equality and take leadership roles in all aspects of life.
This year the KDSRoss membership endorsed three women on the gurudwara committee. These women, Narinjan Kaur Mand on the executive, and Nasib Kaur Badyal, and Shindo Kaur Mangat as members at large have taken on important roles not only in the management of the gurudwara but also as role models for young Sikh women. Nasib Kaur has with a history of public service as the Sarpunchni of her village and experience of many years of seva at KDSRoss. Shindo Kaur has dedicated countless hours of seva over the years at the grassroots level at the gurudwara and leads a group of women volunteers (Deesho Kaur Mangat, Shindo Kaur Nijjar, Bhajano Kaur Sandhu, Gurmit Kaur Nahal, Joginder Kaur Sandhu and others) in managing the langar hall functions.
Narinjan Kaur has also been a regular volunteer for many years but most recently, she is serving as the Recording Secretary on the KDSRoss Executive. She states that both her Nani and mother were firm believers in equal education opportunities for girls and with their support, she completed her FA in English and Giani in Punjabi and taught in Punjab prior to immigrating to Canada with her family in the mid 1960’s. She has always felt a close connection with this gurudwara and volunteered in different aspects over the years. As she is fluent in English, Punjabi and Hindi, it was natural for her to take on the leadership role of Recording Secretary for the KDSRoss Executive and in doing so, she has made history as the second woman to serve in this leadership role! She is acutely aware that there is much that needs to be done and can be accomplished for progress, not only in the gurudwara but Sikh society in general. She admits on some days, it seems quite overwhelming and challenging given the long history and traditions embedded in the gurdwara. One of her hopes is to educate the sangat about Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s beliefs which is to simplify rituals, keep them basic to Gurbani teachings and rid of the superstitions that seem to make their way into the religious activities. She believes a person should not have blind faith and should read the Gurbani and live by those basic principles and core values.
Sohan Singh Deo, President of KDSRoss is proud to have these women on his team and values them in each of their roles and notes they are respected by all members of the executive. He states they are performing very important roles and doing an excellent job. He strongly feels that women should be taking on leadership roles at all levels. In fact he and his executive are planning new initiatives within the KDS and he encourages and supports more women to join, not only as active KDS Ross members but as leaders in some of the new programs. All of these Sikh women are paving the road for others to volunteer and give back to society and in future will inspire upcoming generations of young women to make history in their own unique ways.
If you would like to hear about volunteer opportunities at KDSRoss, contact Narinjan Kaur @ 604-322-5610.
Submitted by Satnam Sekhon
KDS Ross Volunteer