You will find this verse on page 473 of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the holy book of Sikhs.
I have loved this verse since I was a child. It reminds me of the importance of women in our lives.
She is blessed with the gift of reproduction. She is the one who can conceive a child. She is the one with whom a man is married to, to continue the cycle of life.
She is a friend and she is the one who can set the course of future generations. Once she dies, a man looks for another woman to be part of his life. Why do we abuse women who are the mother of Saints and Kings?
She is the only one who can give birth to a man or a woman and there is no man who has come into this world without her touch. Almighty is the only one who is not born out of a woman. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, explains us that the man who praises the Almighty always, is blessed and revered in His court.
Whenever I came across this verse, my eyes sparkled. I felt respected and felt the same for all the women in my life. In Sikhism, the women are not only praised, but are given deep respect. Yet, I was shocked to hear that these days Sikh families too, abandon their girl child. Although, there are laws to punish the doctors who reveal the sex of the offspring, not much can be expected in a country like India engulfed in corruption. On the other hand, there is no check on the people who threaten the doctors to commit the heinous crime and abort the child if the sex is not male.
My recent vacation took me to one of the charitable institute. It was a multi storey cream building with the name of the institute written in black on a large board painted yellow. There were several workers fixing the tiles of the ramp at the entrance and they directed me to the main office.
I was greeted by a young lady. She was dressed in pink and had a pleasing personality.
“Please take a seat, the principal will be with you shortly. Would you like to have some tea or coffee?”
The main office had a huge black ebony desk with a black ergonomic office chair, a cupboard, couple of sofa chairs and few plastic ones. There were several young girls about 2 or 3 years old running in and out of the main office. I smiled at one of them and she ran towards the young lady who just returned with some tea for me and those waiting for the principal to arrive.
She sat beside me and shared that one of their students is getting married in a few days. The principal is out shopping for her wedding and will arrive soon. She gave me a multi paged pamphlet to read and learn about the institute. I was keen to view the facility and requested her for a tour.
She was delighted and I went with a couple of others to view the facility.
Each of the floors, three including the basement, had large rooms that could house three to six beds including closets. We met some of the girls studying together and one of them mentioned she has chosen “Arts” and would like a career in that stream. We managed to peek into the new kitchen and serving hall that was under construction. It was beautiful, even though there was much work required until it is functional. We met some of the girls who helped in the preparation of meals. The campus was neat and tidy, but surely you could sense that donations weren’t enough to run the place.
We returned to the office and had just started chit chatting that the principal arrived. She was tall, pious, beautiful lady in her forties. She was not wearing any makeup or jewelry, but there was a calm radiance on her face. She greeted us all and apologized for the delay. She had been with us for barely five minutes that four young girls ran across the room towards her calling her “Mom”.
One of them wanted to sit on her left lap and one on the right. One wanted to sit on the table and the other wanted to swirl her chair. They were asleep when she went out shopping for the wedding and the young ones were curious what she brought for them. We were all watching her negotiating with all of them and not once did she lose her temper. She requested her senior girls to manage the toddlers for a while and convinced the toddlers that they will receive their gifts.
The interaction was so pure that all of us were convinced that this institute is doing something right. We learnt from the principal how the girls landed in her institute. One of the toddler was found in the dump. She was barely a day old. Some of them were orphans, some had parents undergoing divorce, some parents were handicapped or disabled to take care of their girl and some who were just abandoned because of their sex. Most of the stories fell in the last category.
The current strength of the institute was around 200 and she was proud that she has managed to take care of all of them from day one until they get married. One of the principles of the institute was to educate every female child. Some of the brightest students had opted to become Lawyers and Doctors. We were amazed to hear that the institute was running purely on donations.
It was for the first time that I did not hesitate to donate. It was for the first time that I felt being seated few feats away from someone who is blessed and has the courage to follow her mission. Her mission, to give each one of them a unique identity, to love them, to give them security, to make them feel at home and encourage them every step of the way..
Kudos to you Sandeep!!