Man Ally Monday: Harleen Singh
My name is Harleen Singh and I’m the founder of ‘The Lost Heer Project’. Growing up in a rigid patriarchal society in India, I had shamelessly enjoyed the privilege of being a male child. Though my parents tried to treat their sons and daughters equally, I’ve often seen how rules differed for both under the influence of the society we lived in. I wouldn’t shy away from admitting how as a younger sibling I always thought it was my right to question my elder sister from what she wore to whom she went out with. Surely, the women with whom I was related were my “izzat”!
Thinking back, I realize how this “latent patriarchy” still exists in most desi families home and abroad. We live in modern societies, but the expectation that my wife cooks after finishing her job while I relax, or my daughter observes different curfews than my son are just small instances of inequality that thrive in our so called “modern society”. Gender equality does not take away the sense of “‘mardangi” (masculinity) from me. Instead, it makes me an ally against these inherent divisions that have shaped most desi families. I’m an ally because I want to challenge the anti-woman “traditions” that we proudly celebrate as “the culture”. I think all men should be allies to their wives and mothers and daughters and aunts and girlfriends because in the end inequality of any kind goes against the very teachings of Nanak.