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Summary of Question:If men and women are equal why do some western women wear kara on the left hand
Date Posted:Tuesday, 7/13/1999 12:30 PM MDT

Why do some western sikhs say that women should wear their kara on their left hand and men should wear it on their right hand if both men and women are created equal. Also some western sikhs say that the right hand is more masculin so men should wear their kara on the right hand but why should men be considered more masculin than women if we are both created equal.

Mandeep Kaur, Onkardeep & Jasdeep Singh Bhatia
This is an interesting question, particularly because it contains interesting <assumptions> about the nature of equality. Equality does not (necessarily) mean <identical>, although things that are identical are definitely equal. Primarily, your question starts with a notion of equality between male and female, and then jumps to the conclusion that the actions of males and females should be <identical> if they are to be equal. This is clearly an assumption you're making. You might want to question that assumption and see how it applies to other things. If your mother and father were Sikhs, it is true that they are equal in the eyes of the Guru, yet your father did not give birth to you and your father did not nurse you with milk, etc., etc. And even though men and women are equal in the Dharma, yet Guru Nanak still recognizes an especially elevated status of the woman, who is the Mother of all. Therefore, she should especially not be mistreated, or looked upon as having lower status than the men who
sometimes disrespect her true stature. This example is from Siri Guru Granth Sahib, not something that any group of Sikhs has made up.

Incidentally, if Sikhs are equal, then why do you differentiate between so-called <western> Sikhs and other Sikhs? One is either a Sikh of the Guru or one is not. If there is a Sikh who has learned something from the Guru or something legitimate about the Guru, then why not consider it possible that Sikh may have something valuable to share with you?

The understanding that men and women have unique and special qualities that distinguish them from one another is not an indication of gender inequality, it is an intelligent recognition that male and female are polarities to one another, and in the equal status of their relationship, each has unique qualities to nurture and to share, in appropriate ways. If you think clearly, you will recognize that in every Gurdwara (in every Gurdwara I have ever been in) men and women sit on different sides of the Guru. The relationship is one of energy and enhancement of energy, it is not segregated inferiority to either gender. It is a powerful and dynamic balance of energy. You might want to research (if such information can be found) as to when this universal tradition began. Did men and women sit in such ways in the Darbar of the 10 Gurus, before Siri Guru Granth Sahib? I don't have the answer to that question. But I believe you can see in the example, that the recognition of the polarity and differentiation
between male and female did not begin as an abberation of <western Sikhs>, as you have called them. It is rooted in our traditions, and generally regarded as positive and enhancing, regardless of the misunderstanding of others.


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