Celebrating woomanhood: Equality and empowerment

  • Aneesha Bedi, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Mar 08, 2015 11:00 IST

“Most stories kids hear in Sikh history are stories of men. Seeing my daughter and what she’s becoming interested in is making it apparent how important it is to create more Sikh media geared towards girls,” says Gurumustuk Singh, the webmaster of cyber community SikhNet.com, who had shared similar views back in 2011 in his blog. Recalling how his daughter loved to imitate Disney princesses, he thought to himself: Wouldn’t it be great for there to be an animated story about true life, powerful ‘princess’ figures that his daughter could imitate, instead? After reading the blog post, an anonymous donor made a sizeable contribution to SikhNet, creating the seed money for the project.

Discovering her courage

Launched on recently worldwide, KAUR tells the story of a young Sikh girl, Saibhang Kaur, who loves science but feels the social pressure that “girls don’t belong to the science club”. Not sure what to do about her dreams, Saibhang Kaur thinks about giving up. But when Saibhang’s grandmother tells her the true story of the 18th century Sikh warrior-princess Mai Bhago, Saibhang discovers her courage.

Having already produced 100 original audio stories for kids, KAUR is the original animation produced by SikhNet. When asked why they chose to keep it animated, programme director of the website, Ek Ong Kaar Kaur, shares, “This is a film made especially for children. And like any good animation, it will engage the parents as well.”

As relevant today

So, was the idea to reiterate the identity of Sikh women? The members of the cyber community share that Guru Nanak, the first Sikh master, opposed many of the oppressive traditions of his time when it comes to women. The stories of these early Sikh women who embodied that revolt against oppression become role models for all women, everywhere. KAUR is a story about a Sikh historical figure, but it is also a reminder that these stories from the past are critically important for today. These issues of empowerment and equality of women and those of women participating in science, math, engineering and technology, are global issues,” says Ek Ong Kaar.

Talking about how the launch was timed with Women’s Day, website’s creative director Gurujot Singh explains that they wanted to bring Mai Bhago to the attention of the world. aneesha.bedi@hindustantimes.com

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