Brazilian Sikhs visit Golden Temple, plead for gender equality

Sikh women in Brazil can perform kirtan, path or anything related to rituals without any restriction , unlike in India.

Tribune News Service, Amritsar, February 3: A delegation of the Sikh Dharma International from Brazil reached Golden Temple here today. This marks the culmination of their India visit. The delegation includes women as well and they have been actively participating in religious programmes and teaching.

The Brazilian Sikh women, who hold command of the organisation prefix the term 'Jathedar' before their names and are also nominated to the 'Panj Pyaras' to conduct 'amrit sanchar', said Shanti Kaur Khalsa of the Sikh Dharma International and Dr Gurusangat Kaur Khalsa, head and founder of the Brazilian Association of Friends of Kundalini Yoga (ABAKY) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Shanti Kaur Khalsa, who received Amrit Sanchar in the 70s during the then five high priests' visit to America, said there is no gender discrimination in the Sikh religion. "Sikh women in Brazil can perform kirtan, path or anything related to rituals without any restriction , unlike in India. I think, time may bring change here too when there will be no constraint for women to perform such sewa at Golden Temple. We met Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh too and apprised him of our view. We also observe the same sanctity and tenets for performing rituals and serving langar," she said.

Dr Gurusangat Kaur Khalsa said, "We have a community of more than 300 Sikhs in Brazil, out of which around ten are 'amritdharis' whereas the rest are 'sehajdhari' Sikhs. Though these 'sehajdhari' Sikhs are not baptised, they live Sikh lifestyle and dress in full bana which is very inspiring. We propagate yoga to keep the body fit and divert the youth's attention from falling victim to drug abuse or other vices," she said.

While sharing her experience in Amritsar, she said, "Seeing the Golden Temple for the first time is a profound and life changing experience for many people. What you see in pictures does not come close to the beauty and majesty of experiencing the Sri Harmandir Sahib."

On the occasion, Pritpal Kaur Khalsa, CEO of 3HO International, said, "Sikh Dharma International's endeavor is to promote the teaching of our Gurus to everyone through visits to holy places in India. Our organisation has earlier undertaken Yatras from UK, US and now from Brazil."

The devotees will return to Brazil on February 6.

The Sikh community has prospered all over the globe. This includes Brazil, the largest country in South America, which is a home of a substantial Sikh sangat. These people were inspired to Sikhism through the teachings of Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi, popularly known as Yogi Bhajan. 

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