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Sikhs in America Question Gender Inequality at Golden Temple

first_imgSikh women should be allowed to perform kirtan at the Darbar Sahib, known as the Golden Temple, a group of Sikh-Americans demanded at a gathering at Maryland suburb of Washington this month.Rajwant Singh, one of the Sikh Americans who taught the campers, told PTI:“It is clear from the many other historical references that Sikh women were crucial to the success of the 5th largest religion and it is extremely important that we give them their deserving role in Sikh affairs, especially being able to sing shabads or hymns at the very heart of Sikhism, in Darbar Sahib, the Golden Temple”The Sikh youth camp, attended by about 120 young members of the community, amonth others, was organised by the Washington-based Guru Gobind Singh Foundation.Sikhs Gurus Preach Gender EqualitySikhism is known for the equality and inclusivity it offers to women. About 500 years ago, Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, preached that women are equal to men.“From her (woman), kings are born. From a woman, woman is born; without woman there would be no one at all.” (Guru Granth Sahib, 473).The Sikh Gurus made no distinction between men and women, according to Manmeet Kaur Sodhi of the Institute of Sikh Studies. They included women with the men in the Langar (common kitchen), and encouraged them to participate in all other religious, social, and cultural activities of the Gurdwara Sahib, he writes.More than five centuries later, the issue of inequality in Sikhism raises questions. In the past, women have often questioned why they are not allowed to do the kirtans.In 2004, Bibi Jagir Kaur, the then president of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), sought to pass the resolution for allowing women to perform kirtan in Harmandar Sahib, but it was unsuccessful.International AttentionIn 2003, gender discrimination in the Golden Temple was highlighted at the international level after two England-based Sikh women were allegedly assaulted by SGPC sevadars during ‘sukhasan’ (carrying Guru Granth Sahib in a palanquin) at the Golden Temple .Even though many in India have protested against the inequality, the issue hasn’t garnered the attention it needs in the country. “I think we need to first convince the Sikh masses to accept the idea. But one thing we all know, the Gurus never discriminated against women,” Harjinder Kaur, a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate, was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.Significance of Women in SikhismCalling it the most modern religion, Rishiwant Singh of United Sikhs, a Malaysia-based humanitarian aid organiser, told the Times of India:  “There is no question whether women should be allowed to do sewa of kirtan or not.”US-based Sikh activist Rajwant Singh highlighted the significant role women have played during the history of the religion. He spoke about Bebe Nanki, Guru Nanak Dev’s sister who was the first Sikh to play an important role in organising the community in the initial stages. “Similarly, Mata Khivi, who is the only woman mentioned in the Sikh scriptures, is the main person who popularised langar, a vegetarian community meal which is still in practice. Her daughter, Bibi Amro, was also installed as a Sikh preacher by Guru Amardas — the third Sikh guru,” he told the Times of India.Petitions and GatheringsThis time, however, the questions came from Sikhs living abroad. A petition was started last year by a Canada-based Sikh woman who wasn’t allowed to do any service of God or recite hymns at the Golden Temple. In her petition, she writes:“Sikhism is a religion founded on the principle of equality. Because God created us all equally. Regardless of gender, of race, or sexual orientation, of ability, of money, of anything. The only thing that matters is our actions.”She questioned, “So then why is this happening today? The very thing the Gurus protested against?”Sikhs in America are highlighting the issue that many religious alliances have been ignoring so far. “This Panth would not be where it is today without the actions of Sikh women, so we should recognise their contributions,” Sehejneet Kaur, one of the counselors, told PTI. Related ItemsAmericaGolden TempleKhalsaReligious RightsSGPCSikh womenSikhismlast_img read more

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Sofitel French Polynesia celebrates 50 years of iconic overwater bunga

first_imgSofitel French Polynesia celebrates 50 years of iconic overwater bungalowsThe signature overwater bungalow, first invented in the Islands of Tahiti and now the quintessential icon of paradise, celebrates its 50th birthday this year. For travellers looking for the perfect South Pacific escape, staying in an overwater bungalow is a ‘can’t miss experience’. From direct access from a private deck into the world-renown Tahitian lagoons, to lounging on the balcony of a thatched-roof hideaway with all the amenities and service of a first class hotel, the overwater bungalow is the symbol of an ultimate private getaway.To celebrate the 50th anniversary, Sofitel Hotels & Resorts in French Polynesia is offering a complimentary lunch for two people per stay for every booking made in an Overwater Bungalow. This exclusive offer is valid now until 31 December 2017 and can be booked via Sofitel.com, accorhotels.com or your travel agent.The overwater bungalow was first conceived and built in the lagoon of Raiatea in 1967 by three American hotel owners known as ‘The Bali Hai Boys.’ They took traditional local Polynesian grass huts and set them on concrete stilts over the water’s edge. Soon after, Hotel Bora Bora was conceived and it became the first luxury overwater bungalow resort on the island of Bora Bora. In the 90’s, scientific research indicated that overwater bungalow stilts offered an artificial shelter for fish, which in turn contributes to the protection of the fragile lagoon ecosystem.Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort built its first overwater bungalow in 1996. Since 2006, the hotel has been participating in a local program which forbids all motorised activities around the property in a bid to protect its beautiful lagoon.Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort was originally built in 1979 for the Hurricane movie produced by Hollywood filmmaker Dino de Laurentiis and features 13 overwater bungalows. While, Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, the only boutique hotel on Bora Bora and on its own private island, has 20 overwater bungalows facing glorious Mount Otemanu.Sofitel Hotels & Resorts in French Polynesia recently introduced a new ‘Horizon amenities’ program, which is available at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort and Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island. The amenities include a bottle of Champagne on arrival, private in-room check-in, Lanvin amenities, priority seating at all restaurants, shoe shining, express ironing services, and butler service.What exactly is an overwater bungalow?Unlike a typical hotel room, these traditional pandanus-leaf thatched-roof bungalows or villas sit above the turquoise lagoon waters. In many overwater bungalows, tropical fish swim below a glass panel at the foot of the bed; so the blues of the lagoon reflect and fill the bungalow. The overwater bungalow offers a king size bed, luxurious bathroom and a private terrace, where breakfast can be delivered by outrigger canoe. The lapping waves of the gentle spectacular lagoon are just outside and all overwater bungalows have direct access into the lagoon for a private swim with the fish and the rays. AccorHotelsSource = AccorHotelslast_img read more

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