Have you ever lived with an absolute certainty in life only for it to ?
One of my earliest core memories has been to live in a world My parents imparted the teachings of this faith to my siblings and I at a young age. It was their way of preserving their own sense of identity and belonging while being away from their homeland or perhaps an investment towards ensuring these teachings carry forward into an unknown future. Both reasons are understandable to the migratory experience and for me, proved to be fundamental to my core being. The faith instilled notions of egalitarianism, seva, equality, self determination and social justice in me. My consciousness never delineated from these ethical codes because any other way of being did not make sense to me. This caused tense divisiveness and conflict between myself and others in both the Punjabi home I resided within and the Western world that was outside.
On the drive to Mission Hill Elementary each morning, my mom would recite the same directives to her daughters. She had three of them but as the youngest, and in accordance to universal notions of beauty and popularity, her messages were mainly directed to me as I posed the greatest risk assimilating to Western modernity. Her only son would be excluded from these directives. “The girl child carries the burden of the household name and reputation. Our family honour, the honour of your ancestor’s turban, rests upon your shoulders as girls. It took our ancestors and us a lifetime to earn this from society and yet it can be taken away within moments by you,” she would explain.
“Neemi rakh ke turnah,” she would demand. This means look down as you walk.
We were never to receive or respond to the gaze of others, especially that of the male gaze. Any act of defiance towards this would be inspected and surveilled by the community of aunties. They mostly lived on Mission Hill, the region in Vernon where the Sikh Gurudwara was situated, and as a result, most South Asian immigrants as well. School was a mere five minute drive from our home in the lower income neighbourhood of Vernon, B.C. Seeso aunty, Jaswinder aunty, The Mission Hill diaspora culturally reified the articulated and subliminal messages of our socio-cultural upbringing- oscillating in its contradiction of what the ethos of the egalitarian religion is versus the patriarchal cultural practice. We would pass the Gurudwara en route to school and bow our heads in Its direction. The presence of the temple would devoutly contend the Punjabi subordinated experience and the teachings of the egalitarian faith held more influence for me. differential gender roles in child rearing.
Despite my moral understandings, I grew up in a sociocultural and religious panopticon which had significant consequences to my consciousness.
A new world created from a place of healing rather than trauma. We’re thinking about futures that resist patriarchal colonialisms. Futures that, based on ancestral knowledge, build ecologies of truth serving all visible and invisible beings as a collective consciousness. This hope transcends race, caste, class, sex, borders and barriers.
My perpetual atavistic curiosities look forward with a level of pessimistic futurism. Our territorial lineages have created hierarchies costing us the health of Earth Mother. In order for me to continue any feminist abolition work, I vehemently centre radical love, eroticism, and joy as a manifesto to resist the deterioration of our current yuga.
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