Sikh men with beard and turban look different. They face a lot, and I salute their courage how they confront the problems society places before them. This post will highlight which problems a Kaur, a Sikh woman, who follows the Rehit Maryada (Official Sikh Code of Conduct), faces in the society. As the headline says – A Kaur goes against the implicit norms in the society.
According to Sikh Rehit Maryada an amritdhari (baptized sikh) should have unshorn (uncut) hair. What does unshorn hair include? If you think it’s just the hair on the top of your head, you are mistaken. Unshorn hair means that you cannot remove any hair on your body. In sikh way of life, we think that hair is a part of our body, just as our other body parts, like your finger. If you don’t cut your finger, why should you cut your hair? Another reason is that we think of it as a gift from God, so to cut the hair, is to disgrace God’s gift. Yet another reason is as Sikhs we believe that life is unpredictable, we believe in living the present – we don’t know if we are going to take the next breath or not. That’s why instead of using our energy on our external body, we focus more of our energy to develop our inner qualities and try to get connected with Our Divine Inner Self, God.
In the society today we have some implicit norms of how a woman should be and how she should look. We take for granted that to fit in the society, a woman should fulfill these criteria. Sometimes the society makes me feel that the word “beautiful” is defined – it is determined how a beautiful person should be. Everyone who doesn’t fit in that beautiful-scheme, is ugly. Just like in psychology we have the distinction between normal and abnormal. Each person who doesn’t suit in the normal-scheme, is abnormal. Society gives me a feeling that some are lucky – they are born beautiful, and others is born with a misfortune. However, those who are born with a misfortune, can transform it to a fortune, and those who are born lucky, have to maintain their beauty and try to look even more beautiful (beautiful as defined in society).
What rules does the society have to transform oneself to become more beautiful? Since this post is about hair, I will limit my post to this theme (please note that this is what implicit rules I feel society has, not necessary something everyone agrees with). To be beautiful, you have to make your eyebrows. Bushy eyebrows makes you unattractive. To be attractive, you have to show your legs or arms, and they should be shaven, otherwise you will look like a man and not a lady.
A sikh baptized woman who follows the Official Sikh Code of Conduct, does not remove her hair from her body. She is going against these implicit norms of the society, and this makes her face a lot. Imagine how much courage you have to put in your mind when you go against the standards of society for how to look beautiful. Imagine which comments she has to confront in society, and if not comments face-to-face, how many people who is talking behind her back, which is reflected in the looks she receives.
I am also a baptized woman who doesn’t cut her hair, and have gone through problems. There are women out there who has gone through more than me. Now as I look back, I paradoxically feel good that I faced those problems. Because facing these problems, made me stronger in my belief, and helped me understand what values I want to keep and which path I want to follow.
This might seem like a cliche, but be the person you want to be. You are beautiful as you are. Accept yourself as you are. As long as you accept yourself and think of yourself as beautiful, others will do the same. Find out in your life, what’s most important for you – how others want you to be, or how you want yourself to be. In the end, whose opinions will matter to you the most – that of others, or your own? After you die, what will people remember? How beautiful you looked, or how beautiful inner qualities you had? I want to share one video, that every woman need to see – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk. It will only take three minutes of your life.
I will end this post with a quote I found on Instagram – “The STRONGEST actions for women are to love themselves, be themselves and shine amongst those who never believed they could!” And last, but not the least, a shabad from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji – Jai parsad tera sundar roop, so prabh simro sadhaa anoop || By His Grace, your form is so beautiful; Constantly remember God, the Incomparably Beautiful One.