Have you ever thought why Guru Ji, Guru Gobind Singh, gave the Kaur surname to Sikh women? Why did he not accept the status quo and keep the tradition of the woman’s surname being determined by her family’s name? What was Guru Ji trying to achieve by calling the Sikh woman ‘a princess’ (literal meaning of Kaur) ? To try to understand the possible reasons behind Guru Ji’s decision, we need to look at the situation at the time in different cultures. In Indian society, the brides first and last name was often changed after her marriage. This still happens today. However, this tradition of name changing does not occur just in India. It is a phenomenon, which occurs across the whole world today. Why are women’s surnames changed? The reason is family linkage. Surnames allow others to identify you and your family. In some cases the surname can tell others much more about you, such as your caste. For women the linkage to family is different in comparison to men. Their identity changes with marriage. They are no longer associated with their parents, but with their husband’s family. Unsurprisingly, the man’s name never changes. Some cultures go as far as considering the woman to be the property of others. This was so for the Hindu Law giver, Manu, who claimed that no woman should ever be independent. Christianity considered woman to be a product of man as Eve had come from ‘the rib’ of Adam. Psychologically, women have accepted these unjust rules. They are resigned to male dominance and allowed themselves to become second-class citizens. Guru ji changed all this with the revelation of the Khalsa. He gave women the opportunity to live life free of the chains of a dogmatic society. It was God’s Hukam (will) . Once initiated into the Khalsa, Sikh women obtain the surname Kaur. The surname Singh (Lion) is given to men, but Kaur (princess) is reserved solely for women. This difference in names is not about inequality. Rather, Guru ji recognises the difference between men and women. As individuals we are all different from each other, but this difference does not imply inequality. Women and men are different but remain equals. Guru ji considered women and men to be unique. He respected the sexes and, therefore, made the distinction in surnames.
In Sikhism ‘SINGH’ means lion and ‘KAUR’ means princess.
Who is a ‘KAUR’? ? ? Women were not treated
equally before the time of the
Sikh Gurus, and so to ensure
equality, a movement for
women’s liberation was
started five hundred years
ago with the Sikh faith. The
Guru said, ‘You are my
beloved princesses, my
daughters. You must be
respected. How can this
world be without you? ‘ He
cautioned men for being rude
and bad to women. He said,
‘Without women this world
cannot be. So, give them the
rights, and give them equal
respect they deserve.’
Women are humans and all
humans deserve equal
Normally, when a woman
would get married, she would
take the last name of the
family she gets married into.
Since Guru Gobind Singh Ji eliminated the last
name, he said, ‘You don’t
have to take anybody else’s
name. You are an individual,
you are a princess, and you
can keep Kaur as your last
name.’ It gave women a lot
of self-respect..
I am proud to be a Sikh and a KAUR..


6 thoughts on “Who is a KAUR..??

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