Weak ‘godda’ begone

Some fiery responses from Sikh ladies when told women cannot join Panj Pyare to prepare Amrit

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By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |

Arvin Kaur just could not believe her ears when she heard the #godha (knee) story.

She did not attend the most recent Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM) AGM, but the senior project manager in information technology (IT) with a Malaysian firm was aghast when she heard the godha comments with regards to women participation in the Amrit Sanchar jatha (group).

As someone who had been involved with the Sikh youth organisation for many years, it was painful for her to hear how women were the subject of ridicule, albeit by a small group.

SEE ALSO: Can women prepare Amrit? Malaysian Sikh outfit overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’

When making a case why women should not join the Amrit Sanchar jatha, one senior member had suggested the knees of the five preparing the Khandey-da-Pahul (commonly referred to as Amrit) may brush against each other as they are seated closely in a circle around the batha (bowl) in which the amrit is prepared. The rubbing of a woman’s knee may arouse sexual feelings, it was suggested.

Khandey-da-Pahul is the Sikh initiation ceremony. A sweetened water is prepared by a team of five Sikhs, who are themselves initiated, while reading a number of prescribed Sikh verses. The process was introduced by the Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh, in 1699.

This is Arvin’s response, part of which was initially shared as a comment at the Asia Samachar Facebook page:

Shame on any person saying women shouldn’t be involved in the Panj Pyare. Even worse when they say their goddey (knees) may touch the female Panj Pyare member sitting together during Amrit Sanchar ceremony or after. Keep your sexual weaknesses and lack of self sexual control to yourself. SIT AT HOME. Lock yourself in a room. AND let women participate in all areas of SNSM Sikhi parchar (preaching).

Such decadent mentality will only serve to keep women lagging in every area of our lives, including Sikhi parchar. It is actually very sad to be treated as such and openly told to get out of the Amrit Sanchar just because we are humans with a female sex organ. Our lives are dearly affected by such male-driven agendas.

If someone is feeling uncomfortable with the goddey touching, he should excuse himself and leave the Amrit Sanchar ceremony. He should not ask the women to be excluded from the Panj Pyare.

In gurdwara functions or weddings, it is common gesture to say Gurfateh or Sat Sri Akaal and then hug the opposite sex. When such body hugs or side hugs are acceptable, why the concern with the goddey?

When Sikhs marry, as part of the Sikhia (counsel), male Sikhs are advised to treat women other than their wive as a mother, sister or daughter. Likewise, female Sikhs are advised to treat all other males other than their husband as a father, brother or son. This is a pretty standard lecture. Now, do we have an issue if our goddey (knee) touched our father, brother or son. Do we get sexually aroused? Also do we have an issue if our goddey touched our sister, mother or daughter? If yes, this is a serious matter to be discussed outside this article altogether.

For the next two years, SNSM manifesto should include getting 50% ratio of women participation in all activities, including the Panj Pyare. Then we can say that we, as Sikhs, are following Asa Ki Var’s So Kyo Manda Akieh, Jit Jammeh Raajan.

If SNSM starts emphasising on respect for females and hit the 50% ratio, our Sikh homes will flourish with respect for girls and women. Hope you read above with an open mind.

Two other Sikh women had also also come forward forcefully with their views on the issue.

Sunandha Kaur, another active long-term SNSM member, was in agreement with Arvin’s comments shared at the Asia Samachar Facebook.

She added: “If a so called Panj Pyara gets aroused even by the knee of a woman touching his, that clearly means how weak his mind is. He is in dire need of help. Means, he is not focusing on the Bani he is reading. A true Gursikh, a true Panj Pyara would never have such a problem because he would only see the woman next to him during Amrit Sanchar as his sister or mother figure. When a man says such things about women, this speaks a lot about his own character. He needs to work on himself, not others. Doesn’t deserve to be a Panj Pyara in this case.”

On her part, Kalminder Kaur hoped that gender equality will be taken seriously under Harjinder Singh’s jatherdarship. “Also, hoping for a balance of women representation and youth area reps in your exco,” she added.

A woman member of the SNSM Amrit Sanchar Jatha at the Kuala Lumpur-based organisation’s Sikh camp at Khalsa Land – Photo: SNSM Facebook 

RELATED STORY:

SNSM elects Harjinder Singh as new jathedar (Asia Samachar, 19 Sept 2020)

Justice Ginsburg on all-women Panj Pyare (Asia Samachar, 19 Sept 2020)

 

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: editor@asiasamachar.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |

6 COMMENTS

  1. Sr Ranjit Singh
    You have not commented or answeref points made but repeated what you said earlier. My views stand.
    Bless all
    Gur Fateh

  2. A maryada-centric argument won’t resolve the issue.
    The absence of women on key platforms ages ago does not mean they should be absent today as well.
    If maryada and the ‘past’ are the guiding lights, then women would still not be voting today. The US Supreme Court would still be an all-men affair. That was the prevailing ‘maryada’ in the US earlier.
    Women in the US only got the right to vote in 1920. And that, too, only white women! Until the 1950s, Asian women faced insidious practices denying them the suffrage (voting right).
    How is that relevant to women in the Panj Pyare? I had tried to discuss the issue in an article I wrote on the day Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. She was a warrior on the US Supreme Court bench. Politics aside, the spirit of Guru Nanak shone in her rulings.
    You can read it at the link below.
    https://asiasamachar.com/2020/09/19/33830/

  3. Dr. Ranjeet Singh Ji
    Thank you for your historical lesson referring to creation of Panj Pyare and why all were males.
    What appears to have been overlooked is that society has evolved in the last 320 years. Then
    MEN MANAGED OUTSIDE HOUSE AFFAIRS LIKE EARNING AND PROTECTION FUNCTIONS whereas
    WOMEN MANAGED HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES and IN SIKHISM BOTH WERE GIVEN EQUAL IMPORTANCE AS ONE COULD NOT BE EFFECTIVE WITHOUT THE ROLE OF THE OTHER SPOUSE.
    However now it is common for women to perform the earnings function. Thus it is LONG OVERDUE THAT MEN
    LEARN TO MANAGE HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES.
    (This was well illustrated in the Bollywood movie KA & KI)
    SIKH LEADERS INVOLVED ON RELIGIOUS NEED TO HAVE A MINDSET CHANGE AS REGARDS WHAT SIKH WOMEN CAN OR CANNOT DO.
    To women my advice would be
    YOU HAVE THE VOTING POWER TO TAKE OVER ANY SIKH OR OTHER ORGANIZATION WHICH THEY CAN AND SHOULD USE INSTEAD OF ASKING MALE DOMINATED MANAGEMENTS TO GRANT THEM THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACES AND THIS POWER CAN BE USED EVEN IN TAKING OVER ANY GOVERNMENT’ IN ANY COUNTRY. but
    WOMEN VOTE FOR MEN TO POWER & THEN COMPLAIN.
    Gur Fateh
    Bless all

  4. We respect all lady sikhs just like we respect our sisters and mothers, etc. My personal opinion is follow the rules sat by our 10th Guru when he gave Amrit. Because he was creating or transforming his soldiers into a fierce fighting force and giving them the spirit of the Lion he spoke to his congregation and in my view his message was directed to the males when he asked for 5 heads to volunteer for sacrifice. 5 males stood up To cut it short Amrit was prepared and his wife suggested adding sweetness to the amrit which was accepted. From then onwards Amrit group of 5 piyareh preparation has been done by male sikhs because it is the primary duty of males to fight physically with the enemy and the ladies supporting other logistics behind. Though there are or were ladies who led a fighting force it was rare and not a expected norm of them. There is no issue of discrimination here. Just common sense of why and what was the reason of the Amrit sanchar in 1699. So each gender created by God has a specific role in his plan. If some of you just want to make this a new dispute among Sikhs go ahead. We need more enemity and splinter groups to keep the sikhs from becoming united and strong pls go ahead and grow a few more thorn in our society. There is a reason for Guru to create Amrit group of all male sikhs. Now to create divisions is easy. Hard to keep anyones ego at bay. Go ahead display your egos and change the true reasons of the purpose of amrit taking advantage of the term’Discrimination’ Learn from the 10th Gurus wife. She did not come forward to give her head. Because she knew what the Guru was doing and that he was building a fierceless army of males to face the enemy not otherwise.

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