By Sharanya Gopinathan
The amazing Kaur Project is a lovely attempt at bring to light the complexities of identity behind the common name Kaur. The website says that while many generations of Kaurs have gone without having their stories told, this project aims to recognise and historicise a generation of Kaurs “[existing] as teachers, lawyers, artists, entrepreneurs, doctors, homemakers, filmmakers and more, all carrying on the movement of revolutionary women.”
As their website explains, many Sikhs drop their last names and use a collective name (Kaur for women and Singh for men) in order to liberate them from caste, class and other factors that create differences between people. The site says that having a name like Kaur for women to adopt also retaliated against the patriarchal practice of women taking their husbands last names after marriage.
To be honest, just the text explaining the point of the website would be enough to make me fall in love with the project, but the highlight is, of course, the photographs of Kaur women. The photographs are accompanied by interviews and stories of the individual women, talking about how they feel about their identities as Kaur women. Gurmit Kaur’s story discusses her thoughs on Partition and belonging. Bhavnit Kaur talks about starting gymnastics when she was five year old. Christina Kaur goes into the reception her name gets, and the questions people ask her about her identity.
It’s a truly complex and beautiful project, and you can check it out here.