''Kaur'' (Punjabi , , en|crown prince) is the surname
given as symbol of the equality of women and men in the Sikh faith. "Kaur" is also sometimes translated as "lioness", not because this meaning is etymologically derived from the name, but as a parallel to the Sikh male name "Singh
," which means "lion."
The tenth guru
of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh
Ji, introduced ''Kaur'' and ''Singh
'' when he administered Amrit
to both male and female Sikhs; all female Sikhs were asked to use the name ''Kaur'' after their forename, and male Sikhs were to use the name ''Singh''. ''Kaur''s meaning of "prince" acts as a symbol of equality among men and women. The use of the name ''Kaur'' is one of several practices that implement the Sikh religion's commitment to gender equality, a core tenet of the faith. ''Kaur'' symbolizes that women were as cherished, politically meaningful, and worthy of respect as a (male) heir to a kingdom.
The adoption of ''Kaur'' and ''Singh'' as religious surnames was also intended to reduce caste
-based prejudice. Because familial last names often signal a person's caste status (or for women who adopted their spouse's surname, the caste of their spouse), substituting ''Kaur'' and ''Singh'' allowed Sikhs to implement the Sikh religion's rejection of the caste system.
''Singh'' is also used by some non-Sikh women, because 'Singh' can be a surname in several other cultural communities. It is the most common surname used by Sikhs. Sikhs are not required to change their surnames after receiving Amrit, but many choose to do so.
Sikh principles believe that all men and women are completely equal. Therefore, a woman is crowned with great responsibility and can lead her own life as an individual, equal to men. She does not need a man's title to raise her own status. Saying this would go against the principles stated in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the religious text of Sikhism. Guru Nanak Dev Ji states:
* Women in Sikhism
* Khushwant Singh, ''History of Sikhs: 1469-1838'', Vol I: Oxford University Press
, 2004, page 80, footnote 14.
Category:Sikhism and women