Wednesday, June 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Women can do sewa in Darbar Sahib

THE write-up by Paramjit Kaur Tiwana is a beautiful example of an educated woman’s view based on total ignorance. In Sikhism, equality does not mean physical equality. Spiritually all human beings are envisaged as female. God alone is male. Therefore, the basic concept of Sikhism — sewa and simran — cannot have different meanings for different genders.

Ms Tiwana needs to read up Sikh history. Guru Amardasji established 22 Manjis or centres of preaching and education with women holding independent charge of four Manjis. In addition, Guruji also set up 52 Peerahs or women missionaries to teach women 3 R’s. In purdah-prevalent society, Guru Amardasji not only denounced purdah but also encouraged men and women to sit together in sangat. Even the queen of Haripur was not allowed to sit in sangat in a veil.

If sewa is not a right, it is not a duty as well. Sewa is a blessing which is done unconditionally and without expecting any reward. To even suggest that Bibi Bhani asked for Gurgaddi for her husband in lieu of sewa is belittling Bibi Bhani’s sewa.

Men and women are already doing ishnan sewa of Darbar Sahib Parikarma together and “the human instinct known as libido in Freudian terms , is kept under control.” How will it get out of control inside Darbar Sahib? Those advocating against sewa by women inside Darbar Sahib probably do not realise that their arguments also convey that the Amritdhari men doing sewa are not reliable and women need to beware of them.


For a healthy home atmosphere a respectful distance is maintained even between father and son, mother and daughter.

The argument that women cannot do Palki Sahib sewa because the Palki is too heavy is childish. Not all men are strong built, not all women are frail. Of course, women do not want to be jostled in a crowd of men, so majority of them will keep away from this sewa. But there should not be a bar on women who choose to do this sewa.

Attributing ulterior motive to the sewa issue is simply politics and does not make the issue irrelevant. As Ms Tiwana is the Principal of an SGPC-run institution, it could be a pointer to the view of the SGPC. We would like to know what chaos will be created if women do sewa inside Darbar Sahib?


Handicapped — curse or blessing?

As a physically handicapped person, I would like to ask the authorities concerned why we are being discriminated against and why we are not being allowed to lead a normal life like other people?

India is a democratic country. Our Constitution guarantees to its citizens a set of fundamental rights, including the right to equality. Though we have 1 or 2 per cent reservation of seats in many institutions, the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) does not have this provision. As a result, I have been deprived of securing admission here.

I wanted to become a doctor through the AFMC. I have just passed Class-XII (CBSE) through the Army School, Chandimandir cantonment. Unfortunately, however, only because I am a physically handicapped person, I am not eligible for admission into AFMC (Microbiology) or AIIMS (Biotechnology) etc. Aren’t these authorities being unfair towards us? Can’t a handicapped person have a heart and patience that a doctor has? Don’t I have the right to become a doctor?

We are also human beings and we would like ourselves to be treated just as other normal people and not as a physically challenged section of society.

I would be happy if the authorities allow us to do MBBS at the AFMC. Otherwise, rules should be changed to the effect that no physically handicapped person can take up the science stream.



Uncleared minefield

This refers to the news item "Farmer loses foot in mine blast" (The Tribune, May 14).

The report sent by your correspondent at Fazilka, saying that "the Army had certified that fields of Surjeet Singh were de-mined yesterday", is totally incorrect.

Neither the minefield was handed over to the owner of the land nor was the barbed wire removed. Trawling of the minefield was completed and prior to handing it over, the procedure of tilling of the field was yet to be completed.

The individual entered the minefield without permission from the Army authorities, knowing well that the minefield was still not fully cleared and handed over to him.


Appreciable results

Apropos of the Patiala-datelined report, “Dreams that dash college results” (The Tribune, May 27), although the pass percentage of our 10+2 (science group) students has marginally declined, the merit position has improved considerably. Two of our students, Richa Goyal and Sunpreet Singh, were able to secure 84.44% and 84% marks, respectively, and thus captured the sixth and eighth positions in Patiala district. Sunpreet Singh has also the distinction of securing the seventh position in Punjab in the National Science Olympiad competition. Similarly, our student Neha Jain maintained her top position in B.Sc (computer applications) in Punjabi University. Our students bagged excellent positions in BCA also.

It is pertinent to point out that our 30 students were able to get admission to the MCA course, four to MBA and seven to engineering courses in prestigious institutions.

In the sports field, our students excelled at the national level. Achievements of our students in the extra-curricular field are also worth-mentioning.


Train of thought

During a recent visit to Hardwar, I witnessed an incident that seemed to typify the Indian mentality.

Sitting in front of my seat in a bus were two women loaded with gold ornaments and wearing costly nylon saris. They were chatting and chatting. There seemed to be no end to this.

At a bus stop, a blind beggar, with starvation writ large on his face, got into the bus and begged for money. He was accompanied by a boy. Almost everyone gave them something, but these women did not. In an imperious voice, they said, “Aage jao”.

A little later, I saw them fishing out some coins from their costly purses and piously dropping in a dirty pond supposed to be sacred!


Double standards

Apropos of the piece “Buy a seat!” (May 3), usurpation of jobs and seats in academic institutions, with the help of money, is bad indeed, but not a wee bit worse than the policy of reservation.

Of course, reservation is a legalised crime against merit, but verily a crime as horrendous as that of getting jobs and seats through corrupt means.

Corruption with the help of caste has to be condemned before the corruption brought about by pelf and power. Reservation is a contributing factor of graft and all-round moral degeneration.



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