What’s behind the name Kaur?
Many of the staff and the Board members share the surname of the organization – Kaur. You maybe wondering, what is the significance in the name?
The tenth Guru in Sikhism – Guru Gobind Singh Ji – created the Khalsa in 1699. The Khalsa is a community of initiated Sikhs. The Sikh Gurus envisioned a society where all people were equal – regardless of gender, caste, religion, or any other social marker that creates divisions between people.
One of the main divisions in Indian society at that time was caste – in part one’s surname identified their caste background. In an effort to erase the marker of caste in the Sikh community, Guru Gobind Singh Ji called for all Sikh women to keep the surname Kaur and Sikh men the surname Singh.
As with the practice of any principle, there is the individual understanding about how to use the name Kaur in one’s life. Some Sikh women choose to use Kaur as their surname, others use Kaur as a middle name, and some don’t use this name at all.
The name Kaur represents different things to different people. For us at KF, Kaur reflects Sikh values of equality, strength, social justice, and empathy. These qualities have been our guiding principles, and we have continued to take inspiration from these values as we traverse our organizational journey.
The work we do at KF is not focused on women, and nor does it only benefit women – we focus on education that benefits everyone in the community. However the, name Kaur Foundation aligns with the history of strong female leadership within the organization. From the beginning we felt it was important to create an organizational space where all members of the community felt welcome to participate, especially women. At KF we continue to foster an environment where female voices in the community believe they can hold organizational leadership roles and are actively encouraged to do so.