ManbirKaur, a 15-year-old Pakistani Sikh girl, has become a symbol of triumph for the Sikh community as she secures the highest marks in the matriculation exam in the country.
Kaur’s father GianiPrem Singh, the head granthi at Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib, said, “ I had never expected the overwhelming response that we received from my relatives, both Sikhs and non-Sikhs, to my daughter’s success in the secondary school certificate examinations.” For Singh, his daughter achieved what even boys of the community could not achieve which is why Kaur is more valuable to him than his son. “She has earned us pride and honor,” he said.
Kaur scored 1,035 marks out of 1,100 and emerged on top of the examination countrywide. Her accomplishment is no ordinary feat as the Sikhs are a marginalized community in Pakistan comprising only 1% of the population.
Kaur had taken admission in a pre-medical course at the Punjab Group of Colleges as she aspired to become a doctor, but his father said that he lacked the resources to send her to a college in Lahore. She has now enrolled at a private college on Mangtanwala Road near Nankana Sahib and the college has agreed to grant her admission without charging any fee.
GianiPrem Singh claimed that Kaur’s cousins had also done really well in the Class 10th examinations and Sikh families living in Nankana Sahib were encouraging their daughters to excel in every field. The Pakistan Sikh GurdwaraParbandhak Committee honored Kaur with a siropa (robe of honor) after the results were announced.
With regard to girl’s education, her father said that women have as much a right to pursue their dreams and should be treated no differently than men. He also added, “If they can run homes so efficiently, why shouldn’t they be allowed to conquer the world outside?”
Above caste, creed and religion, girls like Kaur are role models for other Pakistani girls and encourage them to get an education in order to stand shoulder to shoulder with the men of this country.