|| Bhand jamiye, bhand nimiye, bhand mangan viah. Bhando hove dosti bhando challe rah. Bhando muaa bhand bhaliye bhand hove bandhan. So kio manda akhiya jit jame rajan. Bhando hi bhand oopje bhande baaj na koe. Nanak bhande bahara eko sacha soe || From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come. When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound. So why call her bad? From her, kings are born. From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all. O Nanak, only the True Lord is without a woman ||
Gurbani writes so beautifully about the place and position a woman deserves. Imagine, this shabad is written by our first guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, in the times when a woman had no value – in those times when the practise of sati was apparent – the practise of burning a widow alive with her husbands cremation. Our first gurus raised the status and position of women, but to we practise it? What is the status of a woman in the world today? Have we reached the level of equality with men?
Let us imagine a scene in the Gurdwara, the Sikh temple. A child goes in the midst of the diwan (when the Sikhs sit together and listen to reciting from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and melodious hymns being performed by jathedars) and takes out money from the “golak” (the money-beholder, where you can donate money to the gurdwara). Imagine the same child starts screaming when someone stops him or her from doing it. Who do we blame for this inappropriate behaviour? The mother, the father, both of them or the child?
Now imagine another scene. A teenager starts getting into drugs and behaves disrespectfully with elders – who do we blame for this behaviour? The mother, the father, both of them or the child? And then let’s imagine another scene (hope you are not tired of imagining scenes), we have a young lady and a young man, both sharing the same competencies and applying for the same leadership-job, who will the interviewer choose?
SSB, a Norwegian website, had an article in 2010 that said that men are still dominating in the fields of business in a welldeveloped country like Norway. Most probably in the job-case, the interviewer would have chosen the man, as it is much easier to go along the crowd – do what most people are doing; underestimate the woman. In the other imagined cases I gave above, where a child is doing something wrong – I have experienced that the fault is mostly placed on the mother. Why is that? Doesn’t the father also play a significant role in the child’s upbringing? And do we forget that the child and the teenager, is an individual? He or she is not the same person as a his or her parents? She is a unique individual, doing his or her own actions and deeds?
A woman is a multitasker. Imagine a married working-woman. She starts her morning preparing breakfast for her family, getting her kids ready, taking care of her husband and in-laws, then she gets ready for work. After a tiring day on work, she comes home, prepares dinner and takes care of the househould. I am not saying that the other family members are not helping her. But doesn’t this multitasker, this lady doing selfless service need respect? Doesn’t she deserve equality?