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Monday, August 13, 2007

One of our own

What motivated me to write again on this blog was a recent experience of a my close friend. My friend is a bachelor, like I was and has been looking for a wife. Recently, he went to California to meet a girl, that his parents had found for him. The girl in question is a highly educated individual who recently migrated from India. My friend had been talking with this lass over the past few weeks in order to get to know her better.

Now comes the interesting parts. My friend recounted to me that invariably all their conversations ended up revolving around the issue of hair. The lady obviously cuts her hair and she wanted to make certain that her freedom to do so would never be curbed. All fine and dandy. Well, kind of. But no, she wanted more. She wanted her hubby to trim his beard and better still, cut his hair, if he could. "Tussi dekhoge, tussi change disso ge" (You will see, you will look better). My buddy humored and decided to play along just to see where this discussion would go. And sure enough, the gentle diva did not want her kids to have long hair either. My friend felt disgusted and I felt bile rising in my throat as well when I heard this. All of this was completely unprovoked. Her marriage was conditional on the above mentioned terms. My friend was obligated to visit her in California because of his parents commitment but of course, the short lasting affair ended with a curt No.

Another beautiful instance of the state of affairs in our society. I have friends hailing from many different cultures. Nowhere do I see that people are so willing to disown their own culture and religion. This makes me really insecure about the future of my religion. If you look at it carefully, this young lady was keen to not only influence her husband's choices but also her kids. The way I look at it, there is an internal genocide going right inside our own homes. I hate to be the alarmist but I see only red flags.

I have had bad experiences finding women who will appreciate me for who I am. Luckily, I was able to find women who did just that. C belonged to a different culture completely and yet she accepted me for who I am. It is another matter that we did not end up together but like I said, I would always be grateful for her to accept me for who I was. WTB (wife to be) is again very receptive of my viewpoints and sees me for who I am and not everybody else wants me to be. But I am afraid, that overall, the pressure building up will erode away the dam and then there will be a point of no return. For some time, I had put these issues to the back-burner but listening to my friend's experience has brought back all the memories and anguish that I have felt for these issues.

It hurts....hurts like a SOB.

20 Comments:

Blogger Gurpreet said...

"there is an internal genocide going right inside our own homes"

its truly an alarming situation here as more n more people are going away from Sikhism... it really hurts people taking such steps and all that for mere temporal pleasures...

6:27 AM, August 19, 2007  
Blogger Harbinder said...

I am Bindi, a Sikh girl from Asia.
I was googling something when i jumped upon Harry Singh's blog, which was so interesting, clicked on some names in the comments and came to your blogs. Its really interesting hearing the diiferent views from Sikhs in another part of the world (for me, its like the other end of the planet).
Just wanted to drop a line... and I will carry on reading! :D
why? because the same dilemma is happening where I come from. Girls who want their turbaned bfs to cut their hair.....
sigh!

11:01 PM, August 29, 2007  
Blogger anne said...

I'm am not even sikh or hindi or east asian. I am French Canadian. I have followed this blog from time to time with great interest.
I am shocked that women, sikh or otherwise, would want to so radically "change" the man they love/are interested in. Is there not more to a man than his outside appearance?

For me to think of someone asking a Sikh to shave or to not wear his turban would be like asking someone not to breath.

And there is more to a person than a beard and a turban: these are all external features/symbols.

I am friends with a bearded, often turbaned sikh man, and though i love his appearance, and appreciate what it represents for him, it is not all i see: there are dreams in his eyes, and uncontrolled laughter, and shared adventures, and excitement, and common values, and very different upbringings to both learn from. There really is nothing i would change.

To all depressed Sikh guys out there: if she can't accept your physical appearance, there is a lot more trouble coming. Move on!!!! You deserve more than a shallow mate!

In 10-20-30 years, looks are not going to keep you together. You have to be friends, be able to talk and respect eachother.

Chin up, keep that beard and turban, you all look great in it.

8:05 PM, September 01, 2007  
Blogger Rasleen said...

awesome post..tells about d veritable scenario in a gr8 manner...
gud job!!

2:15 AM, September 16, 2007  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Thats sad and so superficial


its not just sikh women..sikh men are plenty concerned with looks and cut hair..i'm ready to give up myself

6:01 PM, September 29, 2007  
Blogger Arminder said...

I sympathise. My dad has been looking for a wife for me using the traditional methods like Gurudwara matrimonial services, I have had meetings and things. I have tried Shaadi.com, all to no avail. It's getting to me now, I've lost all hope that I will find a girl, let alone a wife who will appreciate the man behind the turban.

I also agree with comment made by Jasmine, I have often met women and judged them on their appearance, i.e. they are not the right shape, size whatever, so both men and women we are as bad as each other!

11:26 AM, October 03, 2007  
Blogger kelly kaur said...

i'm shocked that a guy looking for a gursikh wife would fly halfway around the world to talk to a girl with cut hair... and then be shocked that she wants to cut the hair of her children. come on... if he's really looking for a gursikh, why is he bothering with girls like this in the first place. he should have seen from her photo that she was cut-surd and not even bothered with the in-person meet.

this is indicitave of the double standard i see every day among sikh men. they expect women to accept their turbans and beards, but then they go for women who do waxing and threading and trim their hair... how is this fair? if you're looking for a wife with sikh values, look for a sikh wife. throw out that bollywood standard of beauty, because we don't meet it. we have thick eyebrows and hair on our legs and arms. we don't wear heavy makeup and jewlery or revealing clothes. we know that we're beautiful the way God made us, not the way some salon made us.

this hipocracy and double standard has got to end.

3:32 PM, October 31, 2007  
Blogger Anamika said...

I have to agree with kelly kaur. How many turbaned sikhs would go for a woman who never cut her hair or waxed the unwanted hair on her face, OR even if she has a Beard?? Well, its God-given. Seriously, I want an honest answer here from you guys. Would you be able to look beyond the moustache on her upper-lip and thick eyebrows and no make-up even if she was a virtuous person and have absolutley no reservations about the way she looks and be very proud to have her on your arm?
Really looking forward to your answers. You want us to conform to the social norms of beauty but have a problem with us doing the same to you. Just wanted to make you think!

3:08 PM, November 10, 2007  
Blogger BBS said...

Dude ("Harry Singh") - your blog is lame. Your desperation is REPULSIVE to women. Be a MAN. Find a purpose for your life. Take care of your self physically and spiritually.

There is no "internal genocide" - the weak ones are being culled. Go to the source of Strength.

"Sikh" women who don't want guys because of their Sikh looks are too f#cked in the head to be worth marrying anyway. It's a good thing they automatically remove themselves from the possibility.

Delete this stupid blog and get on with your life. This blog attracts whiners & losers who think like you. Not good for anyone.

How much Gurbani have you read recently, out of the 1430 pages of SGGS?

11:46 PM, December 05, 2007  
Blogger Sarbjeet said...

I am a Sikh guy, from India, now in the US, single and still looking. I came across this blog from a random google search, and have just finished reading some of the posts. It has turned out to be an interesting blog, perhaps even if for reasons not intended while starting the blog. The responses/comments have made this conversation more thought provoking than Mr Singh's blogging alone. I applaud the conversations here: good work Mr Singh, you write well.
Here are my 2 whining cents: Mr Singh, a problematic aspect of your reflections is your speculation of women's intentions regarding their behavior (in speech or action) on issues such as beard, turban, etc. You may find it richly rewarding to go out and actually ask these women what they think of these issues that are so important to you. Like you, I too - for a while - nurtured insecurities about what women (sikh or non-sikh) may think of my beard/turban which form an integral part of the package of Sikhism that I display. However, my interactions with them have left me pleasantly surprised and a much wiser man.
Like you, at first I too was dismayed by reading the ‘wanted clean shaven gursikh’ matrimonial postings. I also noticed that upon reading these postings my anger increased tenfold if the girl happened to be attractive. However, for the same posting from a girl I did not find attractive, I would neither give the matter a second thought, nor the posting a second look. Borrowing from a comment on this blog, I was looking for Barbie while she was looking for Ken. I gathered I was no Ken (at least not HER Ken); however, I still wanted Barbie. So, to get her, I would want to change the rules of the game. Because I would not be able to get her based upon her idea of Ken (my looks are not bad; they are ‘different’. They do not ‘appeal’ to Barbie), I began to play by different rules. I began to evoke religion, culture, values, community, tradition, and all those institutions that would lay constraints on Barbie to get her Ken. I also wanted her to change her idea of Ken. I wanted her to see her Ken in me. I wanted to be her Ken without becoming the Ken that she wanted. And all this time, I nurtured an idea of Barbie which upon reflection today, I find would have been grossly dysfunctional to our relationship.
I realized that she was more clear about her needs and more honest about them than I was. She was more courageous too. She was readying to go against the pressures of her Sikh community by publicly stating her idea of - and desires for – her clean shaven Ken. My anger (which was actually frustration) began to change and I began to admire her. Just as I, as a Sikh, was facing pressures from the mainstream society, she too would be facing pressures from a mainstream Sikh society. However, while I wanted medals for my convictions (?), I was giving her brickbats for her convictions. My hypocrisy stared at me in my face.
From your blogs, I understand that you are hurt more at the idea of being rejected as a category (turbaned/bearded Sikh), than as an individual. Especially, rejection from girls whose parents may be from this very category the girls are rejecting. As Sikhs, we have to respect these girls’ decisions. Sikhism teaches us to respect other people’s right to live the way they want to (Guru Teg Bahadur is the easiest example from many others) even if we do not share their value-systems or ideology. Girls who are upfront about their preferences are actually helping us in our matrimony process by self-eliminating themselves in our selection process. The last thing I would want on my hands is a Sikh girl who is not sure about her identity or what she wants, and then – after marriage - changes her mind about what she actually wants, which may not be the same as I am or want to be, at least on the Sikhi front.. Not a happy picture right. But how clear and honest am I on what I actually want/need?
I have been dating some girls. It has been a wonderful experience, and also I have some very good friends in girls. Many of them respect me as an individual. When I seek to understand what it is they see in me, I find they admire a person for his strength and courage of conviction to lead a life that may not be understood and appreciated by a large section of the society he may be living in. Especially given the rich history and the bedrock of values this lifestyle is based upon. Just like your experience, I too have found some Sikh girls who are not appreciative of this lifestyle. And just like your experience, I too have not been honestly appreciative of the lifestyle of some Gursikh girls I had met earlier. I do not want to be a megalomaniac, but I guess that at some point in my past, I must have been some Gursikh girl’s Ken, but then I was seeking a different Barbie. We have been guilty of the very same thing that we accuse Sikh girls for.
It is funny (not really). My parents have been searching a match for me. I have been totally against the idea; I do not want to get married at this stage, which - as per the norms of our society - is already too late. Today, they received a letter – a response to the matrimonial advt placed in the newspaper – which I refused to even look at, just as I have been treating all other letters. However, later in the day, I happened to spy the letter which had a picture of the girl. I was drawn to the letter. The girl in the picture was beautiful and very attractive. I stood watching the photo for a long time. I must admit, the thought of entertaining this matrimonial proposal did cross my mind. What made me do that? It was not the letter I read, but the picture of that girl. Even today, with all this sublime realization, I find that I am still drawn to the aspect of physical beauty. If I grant myself this privilege, how can I deny someone her privilege to do likewise?
However, there are also differences in how you and I approach the turban issue. You expect something in return for wearing the turban; I expect to give something in return for wearing the turban. You want a reward of some sort; I want to pay a price of some sort. So, in the face of not being able to get a Barbie, the turban has begun to exert a weight on both your body and soul, evoking a whine every now and then. I am happy to say that I have crossed this stage, and so I can say with sincerity that I know how it must feel. It sucks. To use a cliché, ‘girls are like shadows, they flee when you chase them; when you turn your back on them, they follow you’. However, in this case, we can turn our back on them only when we redefine our idea of our Barbie, which, upon reading your blog, I see that you are already doing so. Good luck.

Here is a Golden matrimonial rule
For all of us Sikh gentlemen.
We are entitled to our turban
And so is every Barbie to her Ken.

8:22 AM, December 06, 2007  
Blogger Jasleen said...

I first wish to say that true Sikhi is about respecting our morals, though a little makeup on sardarnis won't hurt anything, we Punjabis wear traditional desi items - bindis, kajal, mehendi, etc.

Anne, Help your sikh friends find good Punjabi girls who know the truth about sardars' inner beauty.

and finally, it's funny how Kelly says one things and does another!


Kelly Culp (Kelly 'Kaur's'' REAL name) pretends she sikh, hindu and muslim at various times. Currently she has chosen to pretend she is Sikh because Sikhs have been willing to play her games. She is bisexual, and flrits with desis and argues about religion. She contradicts her actions by pretending she's inncoent and helples and doesn't understand why ppl hate her, but makes comments about running around in burquas and fishnets, lap dancing so that aunties can;t see her, wanting to create a new religion off guru nanak, saying punjab is already corrupt, she can't corrupt it more, bhangra all sounds the same, and other various jewels. She argues with people and tells them what they should do, even if if she feels is not of that religion or does not share their same views. She has accepted marriage proposals from several boys and flirted with one Indian girl. She has several boys who call her their girlfriend, their true love, etc. She is trying to use desis for attention and for money. She will say she belongs to the religion of whoever seems to be friendly to her at the moment - such as if hindus aree friendly to her, then she's Hindu. If Sikhs are kind to her, then she claims to be Sikh - even to the point of calling herself 'Kelly Kaur/ Jasleen Kaur'.

Hey friends!

My contract at boeing is ending soon, and I'm looking for work! I'm an
experienced Windows Systems Admin and Technical Sales consultant (10
years in sys admin). I'll work in either the US or India.

please please let me know if you know of anything!

-kelly


Agreed - this hipocracy and double standard has got to end. And Kelly has to stop bullshitting others, you're not 'cute', you're not 'funny'.....you're an insane freak who seeks attention from others, and those of us with a high enough IQ know you're a FAKE

3:24 PM, December 07, 2007  
Blogger Simran said...

How can we overcome all the ignorance and sometimes dis-respect from "others" when people within our own religion choose to make such harsh requests.

It is mentioned in the blog that often people outside Sikhism understand thre requirements, and embrace us for who and what we are, though society and in some cases family would not allow us to get involved with such a person.

1:56 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Neela-Beenee said...

I m what is considered being a Westerner and have a major crush on a Sikh man. To me it wouldnt matter if he's got long or short hair, turban or not. He has short hair. But too bad - he lives too far away and will only remain a crush :)
In my oppinion - if you love someone you love someone - with or without long or short hair or turban.

9:28 PM, January 16, 2008  
Blogger Green Island said...

I'm wife of a sikh,before I met him I have never heard about Sikhism even ... he never heard about country called Latvia.

One thing I know that one day I would like my kids to wear turban (I'm sure I will teach them to be proud of their history) and I'm sure my husband one day will stop being clean shaven and will put turban.

So many sikhs died defending their culture and beliefs,so please keep your heritage alive!

As well don't be much idealistic!Don't expect your future wife to be best in everything!Love and forgive!

4:22 AM, January 31, 2008  
Blogger Mandy said...

Harry,

I have been a passive admirer of your blog and feel you are gifted in the way you express yourself through your writings. I guess you started writing another blog http://anarrangedmarriage.blogspot.com/ Since it's not open for general viewing, I would request you to send an invite so that I can read your new blog.

Best,
Mandeep

7:19 PM, February 26, 2008  
Blogger voice said...

i have been reading this blog off and on..and everytime theres only one thing being discussed.."Sikh women not prefering turbaned men". I wonder why 1. a sikh woman cant have preferences in looks of the person she has to spend her whole life with. its a personal choice!! why should she b considered shallow for her personal choice!! i fail to understand. Its all about being attracted to someone. If a woman does not find a long beard attractive, or if she finds a turban only an accessory which makes a man look unattractive(personally i dont think its always so butim generally speaking)..then whats wrong with that!
2. When a sikh man can have a choice in finding a girl for himself..mind u..he will have all the adjectives ready when he goes out to find a girl.."tall, slim, beautiful, fair complexioned, simple, homely, adjustable, educated, modern yet traditional, professional girl required" ..why the hell cant a sikh girl have any preferences!
3. Before being born as a sikh or a christian, we r born a human being..when life came into existence did anybody know what "religion" was?? like any other part of your body, hair is another part of your body, made of protiens! did anybody ever gv any more importance to this part of his body then?? why is it that these religions bind us so much! what makes this part of our body any more important than others?? why dont u also vow not to cut ur nails?? they r also protiens!!

4. The first thing that our religion (im a sikh myself) teaches us is to be a good human being, God is one..Ik Omkar..believe in Him..do good to the society..dont think evil..as a sikh this is what i believe in! rest all is a way to bind this community together..like keeping long hair, wearing a turban etc..even if u do not follow all this does that mean ur belief in God has vanished!! NO! if ur doing good to the society and if u believe in Our teachings then it does not matter whether u have long hair or short! whether u wear a turban or not!! so if a modern sikh girl (who believes in God and beleives in doing good for the society and the poor) thinks that a man with a long beard and a turban just plain looks unattractive (PLEASE DONOT BRING RELIGION INTO A GIRL"S PERSONAL CHOICE OF WHAT SHE FINDS ATTRACTIVE AND WHAT SHE DOENT) then whats wrong with that!!

1:02 PM, March 19, 2008  
Blogger Maina said...

Hi there

Im a Norwegian girl living in UK and am in a relationship with a Sikh man with turban and uncut hair(as in he stopped cutting in 2 years ago)...I know this is an old discussion, but think its very interesting and would like to add my opinion.I totally agree with,Anne.
When Im with my boyfriend I see his personality,light shining from his eyes, his smile and laughter!I find him incredibly handsome and attractive:)Even though I found him attractive before we became a couple I think it is my love for him now that makes him soo attractive...and call me silly, but i thought if you truelly love someone they will just automatically become attractive and youll see beyond physical socalled "imperfections". But I guess thats one of the down sides with SOME arranged marriages that you might not be able to get to know your potential spouse very well before you marry them which then can make the physical aspect a bit more important?
Then again, if the woman simply cant find the man attractive if he has a long beard then its better that shes honest and lets him know BEFORE they get married:)Just like, as some people have mentioned, some men wouldnt find a woman with a moustache attractive...I DO find this kinda attitude shallow and ironic ,especially with Sikhs, as they are suppose to let their hair grow and are encourage to be natural.But hey, as I said...better to be honest,so you can find someone you want and who has the same values as yourself.
I dont have any problems with my boyfriend having a turban and beard and Im currently letting all the hair on my head grow to see how long they can get, he he.And Id encourage our future kids to let their hair grow n wear turbans.That would be great:)Then again, I do agree with what someone said, that its actually more important what you do and your intentions behind your actions than your physical appearence.

11:18 AM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger Gagan said...

Hi Harry, I have noticed one very common thing in our society, cut-surd people always pretend to be right, that they love their religion but hate being a Gur Sikh. You must have noticed one thing about people who says that you should follow Sikhi from your heart and nothing is in look, are always happen to be a cut-surd. Then a message to those people is STOP calling yourself SIKH because first step to follow Sikhi is to follow sikhi riyayat(principles). These people always talk crap because they always have a doubt in their mind that which side they are on, they have already cut/trim their hair so they cant be counted as a sikh and even more they are not Hindu as they born in sikh family. So their existence is vanished from the earth(hahaha).

This is true that people from other world respect us for what we are and not how we look, but unfortunatly, people(cut-surd) from our own society want to change the look and fortune of our Sikhi.

Now, about girls, why they always think of Ken(as described by Sarbjeet) but not of finding some good Gur Sikh guy. The fact is they dont want to(this rule does not apply to every girl). And about Barbie thing, if the girl follows her true identity, she is more than any Barbie.

People who dont follow their religion are always against its principles. But they forget one thing that "religion is to bind humanity not to blind humanity"(my original thoughts hehe).

Regards,
Gagan

1:33 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger amardeep said...

Sat Sri Akaal!
Wow! interesting topic!
Well .Here is my concern.I am a single ,Turbaned Amritdhari Sikh girl.I thank the guru for my turban.And about the guys I have talked to ..this is my experiencce.At first ,they 'll be attracted to the idea of talking to a turbaned ,amritdhari Sikh girl.Then ,esp., if they are not amritdharis yet,but talk of becoming amritdhaaris if they find someone woho is Amritdhari ,they play a double standard .They want a barbie doll ...as against the turbaned girl who doens not wear makeup or jewelery.
Common guys ! this is a wake up call for both sikh men and women,and the society at large.
It is certainly an alarming situatiion.So its both men and women who are facing challenges of finding a suitable skh match.
The basic idea is of educating ourselves and our sikh society as to what is the importance of wearing a turban /keeping uncut hair/wearing no jewelery, makeup etc. Thanks to the Guru .I found answers from great Sikh friends and books while I was transitioning towards amritdhari life style .
And yeah ! someone has mentioned another great point.Look for the person behind the turban,beard,mustache.There is lot more thn physical looks.
And guess what ! I am still looking for the right match .It has been three yeras since I have been on matrimonial websites.But I am standing for the sikh discipline.And then I don't get frustrated with having not found someone yet.It will happen only on the day Guru has planned it.
Peace to all.Lets look a little deeper ino the issue ,and not just go for the superficial stuff.
Beware of the influence of the west on our culture.Pls try to get the best of the West ,and not the waste of the west.Guru Gobind Singh ji gave the Khalsaa a special gift...lets keep it up ..and stand bright in the crowd.
Peace to all.
Singhni from USA

8:55 PM, June 16, 2008  
Blogger Achan Deep Singh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:16 AM, July 18, 2008  

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