Vaisakhi is around the corner and what better way to remind your loved ones of Guru Sahib’s powerful message than with a card. Let’s think about it — many of us send New Year cards, but what about Vaisakhi cards? After all, it is the most important day of the year for Sikhs! This lovely project by 3 Kaurs from the Bay Area, Japneet Kaur, Sargun Kaur and Biney Kaur, caught our eye and we spoke to one of the creators, Japneet Kaur!
What inspired you to make these cards?
Letter writing now is only spoken of in Harry Potter references or our parents’ love letters. It’s become such a rarity to send or receive a thoughtfully hand-written note, especially for our mostly digital generation. Each of us have a love for journals and planners, for physical artwork which can be held in our hands, and for paper in general (elements of stationery we hope to one day bring to life – linen paper, letterpress, gilded edges, and so on). So we decided to bring these passions together into a collective effort, and before we knew it we were sleeping at 6 am everyday and dreaming in Photoshop. In retrospect, it almost seems poignant that the birth of this collective occurred in honor of the birth of the Khalsa. You know, if you’re into teasing meaning out of things!
What message do you hope these cards send out?
We hope to encourage people to pause in their consideration of Vaisakhi, to internalize their sentiments, and to share them. The simple act of sitting down to write a note or a letter requires one to slow down life for just a moment, to really focus on the feelings – and by encouraging people to send cards, we’re really asking them to share their joy on this occasion. The same applies to the act of opening written correspondence, reading it, taking a minute to revel in the shared sentiments of a loved one. Each card was carefully planned to convey a very significant meaning.
What was the inspiration behind each of the 3 designs?
- “The Call” is a very literal throwback to 1699, when Guru Gobind Singh Maharaj called for five heads, the Panj Sees. It’s also a question we ask ourselves every Vaisakhi – are we ready to answer that call if it comes again? We really wanted to focus on this vital concept, so we kept the design minimal, with all the focus on the five Singhs and Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj’s talwar.
- “Motif” was intended to allow senders to purposefully interpret and convey Vaisakhi’s personal significance to them. That’s why we focused on typography, and the design of the card was inspired by the beautiful calligraphy and floral motifs found in Angs written by Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj’s own hand.
- “Vaisakhi de Rang” is a reflection of the Vaisakh season and Punjabi culture. Vaisakhi marks the harvest season, and it is culturally a time when many Punjabis and Sikhs celebrated rebirth, and the abundance of their harvests and livelihoods. We focused on creating icons representative of the season. For example, the tractor, baldh (ox), and daathi (sickle) are used in planting and harvesting crops, the staple crop being kanak (wheat). We also incorporated iconography we hope reflects the general culture of Punjab, including the parandhi, a turlay vaali pagh, a Nishan Sahib, and post-partition Punjab.
What does “Kaur” mean to you?
For all of us, being a Kaur first and foremost means being a Sikh, and internalizing and acting on the love and teachings of Guru Sahib. The way society has shaped up, we often feel the need to extrapolate additional meaning for being a Kaur – reasserting the power and value of being a woman. While voicing this becomes necessary in the current climate, where the intrinsic value of women is attacked repeatedly, the essence of “Kaur” is above such social constructs and arguments. A Kaur is no different from a Singh in terms of what Guru Sahib expects of Their children, what our roles are as Sikhs, and how our existence as Sikhs and as humans should contribute to this world.
30% of all proceeds will be donated to an organization working toward a cause very near to our hearts – Ensaaf. Ensaaf is a nonprofit organization working to end impunity and achieve justice for mass state crimes in India, with a focus on Punjab, by documenting abuses, bringing perpetrators to justice, and organizing survivors.
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