WOTW: Amanjot Kaur
“Hor fer Canada viyaah karwa ke aayi hain?” (Did you get married to move to Canada?)
“Kyon viyaah toh bina kudiyaan di entry mana hai Canada ch?” (Is marriage the only way for females to
come to Canada?)
I recently moved to Canada and the most common question that has come my way has carried years of
gender conditioning along with it.
I was born in a highly patriarchal family where my mother had to stifle parts of herself because they
were too difficult to be interpreted and digested. My parents got legally separated when I was 5 and my
sister was 2. I learnt the emotion of being wronged when I saw my dad’s wrong doings justified by the
society back then just because he was a male. While I saw my Mom picking up pieces of her life and
stringing them together making sure she gives us a happy childhood. Adding the touch of grace to it was
her sister, my Aunt who gave up her wish to be in matrimony just to be by our side. So, while growing
up, I learnt sisterhood from my Massi and how to be both parents in one from my Mom. Because of this
strong female energy around us, my sister and I have had a very different yardstick of measurement to
view the world around us. We have rebelled the stereotypes, fought against the biases, stood up for our
rights of love, respect, empowerment, and titles; both personally and professionally.
When I decided to move to Canada, I was 28, single but a Kaur. I have lost count of how many different
versions of biases I had to knock down to remind myself of the bigger promise that made me make this
move. Rather, if I aligned with those humps and thorns, I would and should have stayed back because it
is too risky for a single woman to take chances and step out in the western world all alone. Because it is
getting late for me to get married while my biological clock is ticking. Because the obvious way to get to
Canada is by getting married to an NRI. But instead what I do is question. What are these labels of
To the woman reading this, if you are a South Asian woman, there have been and there will be
tremendous moments when you’ll face these questions inside and outside of your head. What do we do
instead? We keep taking steps. Always forward, never backward. And when we do, we find the ones like
us. The Kaurs and Singhs who have been sent by our Gurus to make our journey easier yet powerful.
Because, after all this, we cannot settle for just anything. Be the Laadli your daughter deserves to see.