Yesterday, we went out for mother’s day dinner, a day early because Gani’s mom is busy on Sunday with Kaur & Singh Academy and Camp Nadar meetings. The meal, the journey, and the conversations, were filling and fun between the four generations within our family. But last night I started thinking about what I now term Mata-e-Panth (Mother of the Guru Khalsa Panth under the authority of the Guru Granth Sahib).
What do I really know about the Mother of the Khalsa?
When I took Amrit (literally beyond death) via Khande-ki-Pahul (Sikh initiation ceremony where elixir of life is prepared by double edged sword), I was told she is my mother. I accepted it unquestionably, but never really ventured to get to know her. I spend the day surfing on the “web” (sure is complex and worldwide), but even the best of the “cut and paste” jobs were not that exciting. May be I am just wired weird. Yes, there were issues surrounding dates, varying accounts on one or two events, mostly it was footnote style intermix of lore, love, and logic. So what? I wanted to know more about her: her associations, leadership, and role in the Panth (the Sikh collective).
Then, I went on to read excerpts or complete books. Of the several (all in Panjabi language in Gurmukhi script) I went thru to learn about my Shero, only one was authored by woman. Another reminder her story does need to leave a carbon mark by more Kaurs and in English. I fully realize my transgressions, but Mata Sahib Kaur is my mother too.
In the age of give me “short and sweet”, here’s what I found elevating about Mata Sahib Kaur (1681-1747). I hope it implores us to find out much more about her.
In somewhat chronological order:
In the year when the Delhi’s throne is caught in its own trinity (Modi aided killings, Gandhi defends killers and Kejriwalgetting “killed”, i.e., literally slapped) and Panjab’s rulers bankrupting the state, what is the Mother asking its 27 million aspiring offspring?
Yes, it is heartening to see the gurduaras being named after the Mother: from Glen Cove, New York to Sydney, Australia. But, just as a yearly dinner doesn’t quite cut it on the mother’s day (though it is welcomed), a philanthropic transaction is not enough to memorialize the Mother either. Isn’t it?
How do I develop my relationship with Mata-e-Panth? The one who longed for the Guru, wedded the Guru, and led the Guru’s Panth. I don’t know, I just re-started this journey and am taking inspiration from her life and legacy.
Of the 9 hukamname (edicts) attributed to her, the Mother’s blessing and assurance in one of them is very clear: “You are my children, the Perfect Guru will protect your honor.”
Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839 left a big void in the rule of the Sikh kingdom, which led to the annexation of Panjab by the British. His throne was inherited by multiple claimant heirs, none of whom could survive the intrigues and the schemings of the succession war in the royal court. Maharani Jind Kaur’s story is the narrative of a brave woman, who through all the trials and tribulations of the succession war, with all her faults, proved her mettle as a regent to the young Maharaja Duleep Singh, while also maneuvering through the diplomatic chicaneries of the British to the extent that even the British were wary of her.
Sexuality is a confusing and often avoided topic. It is generally relegated to being a "private" matter, and therefore not openly discussed or engaged with, even within close circles and small communities. Due to the taboo of discussing sexuality, many people struggle individually, often turning to religion for guidance or, more concretely, moral pronouncements.