Saturday, September 26, 2015

Equality vs. Reality

In Sikhi, we are taught that women and men are equivalent. But the real life of Punjabi culture is much different and I think many people don’t realize what they have done to their sisters and their daughters. 

From the time of a woman’s pregnancy, everyone wishes for her to have a baby boy. And when the child is born, they will hand out ladoos, if it’s a boy. They tell boys that no matter what, he is the best, and he matters above his female counterparts. If he does something wrong, they look the other way because “He’s our boy, he wouldn’t do anything wrong.” The expectations of the boy are that he is going to take care of the parents and bring them grandchildren. Many men are allowed to date multiple women just for fun before they marry someone traditional- someone who stays home and cooks and cleans and gives birth to a baby boy. The expectation of the daughter-in-law/wife is that she is obedient, she sacrifices her own goals, and hasn't had previous relationships. He is given preferential treatment, his goals are considered more important. Often what she has to work for, he is given from his parents. 

That girl grows up her whole life with the expectation that her only purpose in life is to look good, get married and have babies. What happened to her goals, her dreams, her life? You have taught her to be dependent on someone else. To look to him for happiness, to solve her problems, for financial support. I was raised in a family where my mother taught me I’m equal. People ask me “when are you getting married?” There should be more to that conversation. There should be questions about my dreams and aspirations, not just about my marriage potential. I was taught to have my own dreams. A woman needs some independence, a career of my own to do sewa in the world. My goal is to become a doctor and save lives. My value is not just tied to getting married and having kids. My value is not tied to someone else telling me I’m beautiful and worthy. I am not dependent on anyone telling me how to feel or act. Your body is the vessel to your soul and your soul is the part that you should focus on. I want to tell girls that we are the Daughter of Guru and deserve respect. Our choices should be respected, our goals and dreams are valid and should be pursued. God has made you a perfect soul. You ARE enough. Focus on Naam Japo, Vand Shako, Kirat Karo. 

I’m not saying that girls shouldn’t get married but I AM saying it should be on HER terms and there shouldn't be an expectation of marriage. I’m saying it shouldn’t be her only purpose. I’m saying you shouldn’t get married because you’re feeling the pressure of being “too old.” You shouldn’t settle. You should know that the only real relationship in this world is with God and that you have an unending ocean of love, peace and happiness within you if you work on that relationship. It’s not easy to follow that path.

Teach your daughter she is worthy. Tell her to get an education. Teach your daughter she should have the life she deserves. Teach your son to respect her. That means to treat her equal. To put value in her dreams. To treat her as more than just a body but as a fellow soul in this journey to God. That is true Sikhi. 

According to  the ratio of females to males is 846 females per 1000 males (age 0-6) in the state of Punjab in 2011. This is the second worst state in all of india for a disproportionate sex ratio! This shows us where our values lie for women. Its up to us to change that.

1 comment:

  1. Good work, we're finally discussing these things!