This is Balpreet Kaur. Her picture was posted on reddit sparking a conversation with many derogatory comments.
When she learns of the
discussion she joins in and radiates such goodness that even the most
hardened troll is humbled:
"I'm not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am.
"Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. ...
"By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body ... by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn't important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. :-)
"Also, wearing turbans for women is a sign of inner strength and empowerment because we too are equal to Sikh men. Sikhism advocates total equality for both genders [the only difference between them are the last names] and therefore, it is okay, however rare the occurrence, for a woman to adorn herself with the turban just like her male counterparts. I encourage everyone to go and google and expand their knowledge of the sheer diversity in this nation - as will I; and gain a better understanding of each other."
September 26, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Ashuvinder Singh (Gurgaon, India), September 26, 2012, 6:39 AM.
Words are not enough to express my true feelings for this young lady. She is indeed a "true" person ... and a great inspiration for us all.
2: Sakattar Singh (Melbourne, Australia), September 26, 2012, 6:40 AM.
Balpreet Kaur ji: You are the true daughter of Guru Gobind Singh. You are beautiful!
3: Pawanpreet Singh (India), September 26, 2012, 7:27 AM.
I read the article above, and stand firm with my Sikh sister, Balpreet Kaur. I must say Balpreet is to be commended for believing in and trusting her religion more than other people's views and thoughts. God bless you, Balpreet ji.
4: Manpreet Singh (Hyderabad, India), September 26, 2012, 7:57 AM.
Proud to be of part of a religion and community which gives birth to brave Sardarnis like you.
5: Harjeet Singh (New Delhi, India), September 26, 2012, 8:07 AM.
Balpreet kaur jio: "Sei sunder sohne sadh sangat jin behne" - and who else looks better than a saabat soorat Sikh in baana. You are an example to learn from. Indeed, a true daughter of Pita Kalgidhar.
6: Birender Preet Singh (Pune, India), September 26, 2012, 9:42 AM.
Very positive of Balpreet Kaur. This POSITIVITY is something that should be learnt by not only us Sikhs but the whole world.
7: Gurpreet Singh (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), September 26, 2012, 11:06 AM.
She truly believes in her faith ... I am sure there are only a handful out there. I can't even imagine how strong this person is. We always complain about girls forcing boys to cut hair, how many boys are ready to make such girls their life partner?
8: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), September 26, 2012, 3:21 PM.
Just caught this story through NDTV (a popular Delhi Newspaper) and found it all over the internet! ... the comments are almost all awesome over Baldeep's extraordinary response to the initial personal attacks against her.
9: Kanwal Prakash Singh (Indianapolis, Indiana, USA), September 27, 2012, 8:11 AM.
The faith-mandated sacred articles of the Sikh faith and other spiritual traditions are under threat in the modern Western societies due to the powerful influence of fashion industries, the unjust cultural trespasses by the State, and the demands of visual conformity to prevailing trends that are sweeping through our world. The encounters across new frontiers have brought rich cultures and people face to face with a world that is not always respectful or familiar with traditions and practices which are governed by different concepts of physical appearance and faith-inspired inner beauty. The sacred rights and personal dignity are under severe challenge and many have succumbed to society's powerful demands and expectations. The article about brave young Balpreet Kaur appears in the same week as the moving testimony of Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, a young high student in Australia: "Sukhjit Kaur talks about her being called the "Gorilla Girl" and her struggle as a Sikh devoted to her faith and the sanctity of Sikh tradition in the face of relentless and merciless bullying by 26 boys in her school, and how she finally confronted them with the help of her teachers and with the courage and strength that Satguru blessed her and the Sikh history had taught her, and made her tormentors see how their behavior is affecting her spirit, her studies, and her dignity as a person exercising her right to her faith. A remarkable change followed." This challenge is all around us, not likely to go away on its own at any time soon, and needs a sustained effort to prepare ourselves and to educate the societies where we live about the spiritual significance and as our response to the commandments of our faith. The Sikh faith's articles of faith and symbols that are the heart and soul of our very being are not meant as an affront to anyone. The question then is: How are Sikh gurdwaras, faith leaders, cultural centers, community advocates, and parents preparing and safeguarding our next generations in the face of such stark realities? One answer may be that we come out of the cocoon of our sanctuaries and commit to a tireless and multi-level civic engagement to dispel the unfair and unfounded stereotyping of entire ethnic groups and nations. This burden is ours to carry, this task is our front-line to understanding.
10: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), September 27, 2012, 1:48 PM.
We are born ... live a bit ... then die! Most people have been bullied and abused at least once in their lives! You either carry on or crumble! That's it, that's all. But a true Sikh never gives in, and always defeats his/her enemy! This time around, Balpreet has done it with sehaj, love, compassion and kindness ... powerful weapons, all.
11: Jagdeep (Punjab), September 28, 2012, 12:06 PM.
12: Brijinder Khurana (Delhi, India), September 29, 2012, 2:29 PM.
Balpreet, you are my Miss Universe! You are a real beauty, and with brains and courage. God bless you.