Teji Kaur is a National Security & Human Rights lawyer based in Long Island, New York who has been part of the UNITED SIKHS legal team. For the past few months this young American lawyer has dedicated her life to the plight of Afghan minorities living in dire circumstances in Afghanistan.
“When I started working on the Afghan Relief Mission few month ago, I knew their dire situation through news of bomb blasts and violence they live with constantly.”
“Now that I have been able to talk to many of the Afghan families, I realise Afghani Minorities including Sikhs are one the most oppressed groups around the globe.”
Teji has learned in conversations with families that children from minority communities have had their schooling disrupted. Sikh children in Kabul faced threats and indignities daily while in public schools. Since the departure of American and NATO forces formal education has come to an end for most children from Afghan minorities.
Young mothers from minority communities who had to visit doctors’ offices were forced to pay extra fees since they were considered ‘Kafirs’ (unbelievers).
Afghan minorities running businesses lived with daily aggressions from occasional customers asking if they had converted to Islam yet?
At times on the way back to home out on the streets strangers pelted stones at them.
Afghan minorities did not feel safe taking public transportation and were forced to find private means to travel.
These have been just some of the realities minority communities have had to live with in Afghanistan over the past many years.
Teji has found inspiration in the grit and determination
of Afghan Sikhs to work on the Afghan Relief Mission.
Teji’s commitment to basic human rights is founded in her personal experience facing constant bullying in post 9/11 America as the only Sikh girl in her school.
Another tragedy at home provided motivation for a new path. Teji’s dadaji (paternal grandfather) was really sick and was admitted in hospital with doctors giving up any hope of his recovery.
In the depths of this pain and suffering, Teji recieved a Gutka (collection of hymns that form the core of a complete Sikh Daily Prayer) at home one evening and closeted herself in the bedroom for hours. Teji read the gutka from beginning to end in English for the first time in her life.
Teji felt a connection with a higher power and one stanza from Anand Sahib became her guide through this darkness.
Eh Man Mereya Tu Sada Raho Har Nale Har Naal Raho Tu Man Mereya Dookh Sabh Vesaarna……O my mind, remain always with the Lord. Remain always with the Lord, O my mind, and all sufferings will be forgotten.
Teji’s life has not been the same since. Teji embraced the Sikh path for the first time in her life. Thankfully her dadaji made an unexpected recovery, surprising his doctors.
Inspired by Sikhi, Teji went on to study law at Washington & Lee University followed by Masters of Law at Georgetown University to become an advocate for basic rights of every member of the human family.
“The pain and suffering of Afghan minority children,
women and men motivates me to push harder for their rights.”
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International Humanitarian Aid Director
Recognize the Human Race As One