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Misl Minnesota: Women's Day Discussion

20150308_134156.jpgThis past Sunday Misl Minnesota celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting an event after langar called: Women Empowerment Day. During this event we celebrated the lives of Sikh Women in history who have really been a guiding force and inspiration throughout history. From Bibi Nanaki who encouraged young Nanak to pursue his lifelong mission to the 52 women missionaries who helped Guru Amar Das Ji spread Sikhi throughout the country.

We also played the Sikhnet animated film called: KAUR which really inspired women from all ages to see the reality that we grow up with.  We ended with a discussion of the film and also statistics of the harsh reality that shows us that the values of equality taught by our Guru’s have been drifting away.

This was our first event where we posed this new dialogue to our sangat and so far have gotten positive feedback. We hope to have similar events like this to start changing the narrative of women in our community and broader community. 

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  • Gursant Singh
    commented 2015-03-12 04:37:02 -0700
    Review of SikhNet’s New “Kaur” animated film

    The brave story of a courageous Sikh woman is uplifting, just by virtue of the Mai Bhago Kaur Ji narrative. And the effort to try to encourage girls in all pursuits is admirable. But SikhNet’s hidden agenda and their motivation behind this film needs to be examined closely.
    KAUR” animated film – by SikhNet
    SikhNet is clearly trying to pander to young women in the film. I say that based on my 30 years of personal experience & knowledge of the people within Yogi Bhajan’s cult who made the cartoon and their willingness to ignore what happened to young women who were in Yogi Bhajan’s orbit on Planet Bhajan. It’s a universe no girl or woman would willingly enter! In fact, the warrior spirit of Bhago Kaur Ji would be roused by the exploitation of Yogi Bhajan’s female harem members who were abused & raped by Yogi Bhajan.
    SikhNet directors are a bunch of hypocrites as SikhNet tries to censor brave women who spoke out against Yogi Bhajan’s abuses in real life and these women are slandered by Yogi Bhajan’s apologists & by the very Bhajanist organizations that are promoting this cartoon. It’s a blame-the-victim maneuver to discredit the survivors of sexual assault and it’s a battle that Yogi Bhajan’s defenders stubbornly continue in all their propaganda of the Yogi Bhajan cult.
    In addition the film is very condescending and insulting to Sikhs from Punjab as white Bhajanists attempt to educate Sikhs, and it stinks that SikhNet goes for this angle in the film. SikhNet shows their racist attitudes of “white supremacy” when they depict Mai Bhago Kaur Ji with lily white skin, a completely western face, and even touting an American accent while her Sikh Punjabi father who discourages Mai Bhago Kaur Ji from engaging in the battle as a warrior, has very dark skin.
    SikhNet depicts the Punjabi father of Saibhang Kaur as a chauvinist sexist when he tells his daughter at 2:25 “You shouldn’t worry about science anyway, go make roti with your mother.” From my experience with Punjabi families, SikhNet’s depiction of widespread bigotry in Punjab that is directed at discouraging daughters from getting a good education is not typical of Sikh households. In fact most Sikh Punjabi fathers will do everything in their power to encourage their daughters to become doctors or engineers.
    But what can we expect from an organization like SikhNet with a corrupt master like Yogi Bhajan? MSS Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa (Yogi Bhajan’s right-hand man) recently stated in a letter to the Bhajanist community: “The Master(Yogi Bhajan) later explained to me that was the way it was supposed to be as it was the beginning of the switch in Sikh leadership from the Indian community to the American Sikh yogis – recognized or not.”
    Yogi bhajan himself said that Guru Gobind Singh Ji Could not do for the Khalsa What gora Sikhs have done for the world! In this Yogi Bhajan lecture from Sikh Dharma Brotherhood: 1976 page 9 Yogi Bhajan says,
    “In my personal experience as gross human body, it is the first time in the world the real perfect shape of the Khalsa came into existence. It didn’t happen in the time of Guru Gobind Singh. I see and now look back at the Sikh history. We have done—a handful of us—a more tremendous sacrifice for the sake of humanity on this planet than anybody can even relate to. “Why are the Sikhs (Punjab Sikh) who have the prosperity losing their prospect?” I have the answer to that. Because they have forgotten the great secret practices that were given to them. “Why are we [American Sikhs] out of the total insanity, becoming totally creative?” Because we are practicing those practices and that is all.

    Gurujot Singh Khalsa, SikhNet’s “Creative Director” who was heavily involved with creating SikhNet’s “Kaur” film stated in an e-mail letter to Gursant Singh dated 4 August 2011; “Your so called true PUNJABI sikhs are nothing but a bunch of overly-intellectual violent radicals.” ~ Gurujot Singh Khalsa. This racist remark further shows the agenda of the production people behind SikhNet’s “Kaur” film which is secretly designed to further Yogi Bhajan’s agenda of installing American Sikh yogis as the “true” leaders of Sikhi!

    This is a post by Antion Vikram Singh Meredith on Gurmat Learning Zone who is concerned about racism within the 3HO Foundation organizations of Yogi Bhajan like SikhNet. Vikram Singh is responding to a statement made by a Yogi Bhajan follower on a social media forum: Yogi Bhajan follower says, “Punjabis can be some of the most racist. They don’t relate to white Sikhs, or black people, or Hispanics. Amazing. Almost as bad as the Japanese. But this is changing, as well. Many Punjabis see us as the saviors of the faith. Inclusion will come to them, or they won’t survive.” Antion Vikram Singh responds to Ranbir Singh Bhai who posted the Yogi Bhajan followers statement on GLZ to get a response from the Sikh community: Vikram Singh Says: As an “American” Sikh (20 years as a Bhajanist and 24 as an “ordinary” Sikh) I have heard this kind of talk many times. When I was a Bhajanist the level of understanding of Sikh History, Sikh Rehit Maryada, Punjabi culture and history of our Guru Sahiban amongst my peers was abysmal, verging on non-existent. In addition, the level of arrogance that we had the “right way of Sikhi” or that we were ongoing to “save Sikhi from extinction” was extremely high. Personally I am deeply disturbed by what I see happening in the Bhajanist movement. In the field of teaching Kundalini Yoga the movement seems to be expanding exponentially. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but the “New Age People” (sorry, I can’t think of a better term) to whom the Bhajanists are teaching this yoga are very open to and somewhat familiar with Hindu terminology and practices. Thus the Kundalini Yoga they teach veers more and more towards Hindu practices. The Bhajanist movement is becoming more and more Hindu like. Sadly no one amongst them seems to care. Few Bhajanists have any idea of what sacrifices were made by those who went before to maintain the purity of Sikhi in the face of the relentless drive of certain factions amongst the Hindus to subsume Sikhi back into the relentless juggernaut of Hindutva. They don’t care about the persecution, genocide and economic warfare pursued by the Indian Government against Sikhs in India. Instead they have this arrogance that they have the “true path of Sikhi” and that the Punjabis will somehow have to follow along. This kind of talk makes me very sad and I only see further misunderstanding and miscommunication in the future between Bhajanists and Punjabi origin Sikhs. Vikram Singh Hawaii

    Fundamentally, the cartoon is so corny that it’s not going to fly with
    its intended young audience either. This is a generation that knows good animation when it sees it and they reject unsophisticated efforts like
    “Kaur” for what it is. I had the English subtitles running and I found
    the writing to be troubled, which is irritating but not as offensive to
    my sensibilities as pronoun faults and words out of synch with lips.
    I also have a problem with the treatment of young men in the cartoon. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, based on the disconnect with American society that plagues the Sikhnet kiddies. There’s a big
    discussion among parents, educators, social workers, juvenile justice experts, etc., about what is happening to boys in this culture. If there was any connection to mainstream thinking at SikhNet they would understand that depicting male children the way they do in the film is counter-productive. That ham-handed way of portraying boys is as bad as the sexism the Bhajanists at SikhNet think they are fighting. The news about boys hasn’t gotten through to them. Like most pertinent subjects that would free a young mind, it’s not covered in the Humanlogy coursework at Yogi Bhajan’s Miri Piri Academy in Amritsar.
    Overall, the film is consciously or unconsciously a lame attempt to try and fool Sikhs around the world into thinking that gora western Sikhs have the path to true Sikhi and to further Yogi Bhajan’s agenda of installing American Sikh yogis as the “true” leaders of Sikhs!