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. The boy grows up being told that no matter what he does, he’s the best, he’s perfect and HE matters above anyone else in this world. If he does something wrong, they look the other way. “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. So when he is done dating however many girls he wants for fun, he can marry the traditional girl. The one who stays home and cooks and cleans and gives birth to a baby boy. The one who is obedient and she better not be confident or have an attitude or her own goals. She better not have had her own relationships. In every action you have told him he is better than her. Fed him with a silver spoon- he didn’t have to work hard, everything was handed to him and this makes him overjoyed. He realizes how good he has it and he won’t give it up. He will ask the girl to give up everything for him because he is more important than her. Her life is not of value to him.
So what about the girl? 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 independence? You have taught her to be dependent on someone else. To look to him for happiness. To look to him to solve her problems. To have him control her whole life. That’s abuse, not equality. I was raised in a family where my mother taught me I’m equal. People ask me “when are you getting married?” And let me respond. That’s not my goal in life. I was taught to have my own dreams. A woman needs 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 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. Girls out there, your body is the vessel to your soul and your soul is the part that you should focus on. Knowing that you are the daughter of the Guru! That you deserve the utmost respect. You don’t deserve for someone to tell you what to do and how to live your life. You don’t deserve for someone to tell you that your goals are less than his. And the whole world will say it- your goals don’t matter. But God has made you a perfect soul. You ARE enough. Focus on Naam Japo, Vand Shako, Kirat Karo. Live your life right.
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 goals. 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 http://pbplanning.gov.in/pdf/Gender%20Statistics%20%202012%20final.pdf 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.