The Sikh Gurus sought to abolish the Indian caste system that assigned value and rights to individuals based on the families they were born into. As part of the movement to end caste discrimination and promote equality among all humans, followers of Sikhism were encouraged to adopt common last names, leaving no identifiable differences between individuals from rich or poor backgrounds. Men were instructed to adopt the last name Singh, meaning lion, and women were encouraged to use Kaur, meaning princess. The use of Kaur, as opposed to adopting family names in marriage, promotes women as individuals with value and identities existing independently of their relationships with men.
Was this helpful?
Showing 2 reactions
Sign in withFacebook Twitter
The explanation of the use of Singh/Kaur here is a heartwarming one, but it leads me to ask, in keeping with the times, how is Sikhism (apologies if that’s not the right word) addressing issues of gender identity with this naming convention?