Articulating Kaur* identity is complex, there is no simple classification. Kaur Project recognizes and celebrates Kaur identity as diverse and expansive.
Hearing the call, Kaur Project’s mission is the assemblage of an exhaustive catalogue of Kaurs – a magical blend of portraits and poignant, pithy storytelling. Using these mediums, Kaur Project aims to create an approachable and yet densely layered dialogue about Kaurs, ready to be unpacked.
How Kaur Project unfolded.
There is a great deal of discussion about women's equality, but we are steeped in an old patriarchal culture that makes us complicit in the erasure of women, past and present.
The few historicized Kaur stories, often are defined in relation to their male counterparts. Often their full contributions as thinkers, poets and warriors unto themselves have been eclipsed by historians, policy, and our communities.
But, a new generation of Kaurs exist as teachers, lawyers, artists, entrepreneurs, doctors, homemakers, filmmakers and more, all carrying on the movement of revolutionary women. They have found brave new ways to reflect their identities while offering their own unique voices to public discourse. We are proud to call them our contemporaries -- they are sources of inspiration, wisdom and leadership, who deserve to be known.
The Kaurs highlighted by Kaur Project are modern-day heroines - and for each Kaur story we share, there are thousands more, blazing their own paths.
*What is a Kaur?
These women share a commonality – the middle or last name of Kaur. They are not necessarily related. With the creation of the Khalsa Panth, Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth Nanak), gave a way for each Sikh to drop their last names and utilize a collective name (Kaur for women and Singh for men) that liberated oppression of class, caste and social determinants of destiny. Further, adopting Kaur challenged the patriarchal system of women having to take their husband's name.
How are Kaurs chosen?
Mostly this consists of “kaur-spotting” and explaining the importance of celebrating the diversity and inclusivity of Kaurs. Kaur Project documents and celebrates this through photography and storytelling. Some Kaurs are flattered while others are suspicious. We always ask permission before taking a snap and sharing their story.