Panj Piaray at Baisakhi

The Panj Piaray leading the Sangat in the Nagar Kirtan.

Some people email me from time to time saying…women can’t be in the Panj. I think that is ridiculous since Khalsa has no gender…and the "Panj" is any 5 Sikhs of the Guru…not any 5 men of the Guru. Women are the foundation…and have not been getting the respect that they are due, ESPECIALLY within some of the Sikh communities.

When I last went with my family to Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, after Asa Di Var they were giving the "panj" prashad..and I held my cupped hands up to receive it. The sevadar gave me parshad. My wife had her hands cupped ready to receive the Guru’s prashad…but the sevadhar would not give it to her because she was a woman. I then took half of my parshad and gave to her. The sevadhar and another person then tried to lecture me that I couldn’t do that. I hope those who think like this can open their minds and change these practices. There are so many double standards. Preaching equality of men and women in Sikhism..but in practice dominating them.

Ok…that’s enough of that…I guess I’m just venting. Let us honor and truly include our Khalsa sisters as Guru Gobind Singh would have and stop these practices which don’t allow Sikh women to participate in seva and other aspects of the Gurdwaras. Have you ever noticed that at Harmandir Sahib women are not allowed to do Kirtan and do certain seva? It’s like a boys club. What kind of example does this show the world? I admit that this is mostly in India, but I think it is important for people to be aware of and make a change in things.