Who is Inderpal Kaur?
Firstly I’m not good at selling myself (laughing) But I’m a very caring person. I’m very loyal. I’m the type of person that if someone needs me, or needs someone to talk too I’m there. It does not matter who it is. I’m not after fame or popularity. I’m just who I am. What you see is what you get with me. Coming into Sikhi, has changed me and in a positive way. I love helping people. I love doing seva for the community. I’m compassionate and I don’t judge anyone. I am also very open-minded.
What’s your day job?
I currently work in a government office role. It’s a great job. But before that I was working as a Personal Secretary for Rolls-Royce.
You recently did a 10K run for cancer research. Why that chosen charity?
Yes. My father had cancer he had leukaemia. So it was for my dad’s remembrance and it was something I’ve never done before. It was quite touching the number of people who were there supporting each other. It was a great experience. I did the run with a few friends. I will do it again next year.
Who is your role model and inspiration?
That is a difficult question. But Kirtan is a massive inspiration. But I’ve never really followed anybody and I’m a very private person. I do my own research. The meaning of shabad is what I learnt and helped me the most. I also post daily Hukamnama this also inspires me and the sangat.
Basic Of Sikhi is another that go out and try and inspire people in regards to Sikhi. Bhai Jagraj Singh he spoke to everyone and inspired so many people.
You used to be a model back in the day right?
Yes. It wasn’t a career it was something I enjoyed doing at the time. I did modelling for brands like Topshop and H&M. I have always be known as a fashionable person withing friends and family. I always was told that I used to dress really well. I wanted to become a fashion designer when I was in my teen’s but that changed.
I was very creative with my hands. I did Art in school and I got an A. I’m more creative than theory. I did a course in Hair and Beauty and worked part time in that like dressing up the brides. Also holding down a full time job.
Not sure. Maybe yes and no. Just like every child back in the day our parents would tell us to go to the Gurdwara every Sunday, we weren’t allowed to cut our hair or eat meat on certain days but I never knew why or got educated. I guess it’s not really their fault as most parent’s came from India to live in UK to earn and build a future for their children.
Even though as a child with lack of knowledge about Sikhi and our history I still had a strong believe there was Vaheguru (God). I would look up in to the sky and talk to Vaheguru (God).
It’s a true saying “your child will follow your parents example” I’m truly blessed to have such a loving parents.
As a kid I was very observant, I still remember Dad would get up to do his Jhot and put dhoof on and read Sukhmani Sahib Path then go to Gurdwara at 5am. I never questioned him but I started getting up with him and went to Gurdwara. I watched sevadaars doing Seva and I practically started washing dirty taals, cleaning the tables and cleaning sangats Jhora (shoes) I was only 13 or 14 years old I think.
There was one Bibi (aunty) who inspired me so much towards doing Seva, she would tell me you’re doing great seva and one day you will receive your Karma da Phall. I never knew what she meant as i was still young and very naïve. I would believe everything what people would tell me. I still do. (laughing)
Being at school Religious Education was one subject I chose to study. I read about Guru Nanak Dev Ji and his teachings. Even at that young age I took on board what Guru Nanak Dev Ji was teaching me. I stopped eating meat and never touched Alcohol, I don’t even know what it tastes like and throughout me growing up I always felt that Guru Nanak Dev Ji was my “Best Friend” I would gaze up in to the sky and talk to him.
I had a passion in Art and started drawing Guru Ji pictures from age 14 to 16, I had grade A in my GCSE’s.
I left school and started college and that’s when Kaljug came over me. I still had good values and remembered God in my heart. I did FEAR God. I was a good person just had bad habits.
At the age of 18, one of my work colleagues (Singh) who was like a big brother to me gave me a gift – it was a Nitnem pothi sahib with English translation. I started reading Japji Sahib Paat in roman, I would read it every morning and evening, did this for 12 years. I have to admit I was reading it like a book rather understanding the true meaning to it. In my early 30’s I then started to educate myself more about Sikhi by doing Sangat.
In my late teens, I would always question myself “Is there more to life?” I would observe and simply see so much drama around me. I had everything in life, a loving family, a roof over my head, money, car, I had a very busy social life, lots of friends and enjoyed going out but at the same time, I would feel so lost, empty and unhappy inside. I came to realise that it was depression I was going through. I was feeling really down and depressed for no reason. I was having suicidal thoughts and I would wake up in the morning planning in my head how I could take my own life. Everywhere I looked I felt my life had no sense of purpose here. I lost interest in most things, including my appearance. The deep thoughts about how I could kill myself physically took all my energy away because I was too afraid to take my own life and the painful thought’s about how my Mum and Dad will have to deal with it when they find out there daughter is dead. I felt so helpless and selfish because I was only thinking about myself and not the people around me who Loved me. One evening I sat down and I wrote my last letter of goodbye to my family and left it by my pillow. I still remember I went into my mum and dad‘s room (they both were still asleep) and touched their feet and cried my eyes out for forgiveness. I plucked up the courage to leave their bedroom and went to college to meet all my friend‘s for the last time. I then started walking into town and took an overdose. Someone saw me lying on the floor and they called the Ambulance. I was angry with God to why he had saved me but I was very lucky, lucky to be alive.
(This part was very hard for Inderpal Kaur to tell me as it is a very emotional part of her journey so please all be supportive towards her. This shows true courage in Inderpal opening up and telling this part of her story, this is very emotional for Inderpal. I’m so proud of her to finally be open and talk about it to me. Hopefully, this will help others. We are all human at the end of the day.)
I started going out again. I completed my Hair and Beauty course and had a career in the Beauty Industry (Bridal: Henna/ Hair/Makeup Artist) just over 10 years as well and working full-time for the Council (Office role) so I was working 7 days a week.
I achieved a lot in life. I entered a competition for “fun” called Face of Divinity” which they had to select 150 female models to the Grand Finale and I had no idea I would be selected
(I was really surprised). The Grand Finale modeling event was based at the London Mayfair Hotel and from 150 models only 5 were selected and I was one of them that was selected through to the next stage which I was totally shocked. This was an opportunity to work in the modelling industry along with some famous Costume / Fashion Designers.
As well as working full time and then in my spare time I enjoyed doing modelling. I was also a part of a Bhangra/Bollywood dance group and performed at weddings and charity events.
Even though my life was a bliss I still felt there was something missing. At this point there was no thoughts and no expectations in life even though I achieved so much in life, I loved my career but still I had that emptiness feeling within me. (my early 30’s)
A friend of mine told me about a Sikh Youth Project that happens every Friday at our local Gurdwara where they talk about Our Sikh Identity, history and our 10 Guru’s. I started attending these projects and it came to a point where I never missed it. I started to communicate with my Guru (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji).
For 12 years I was reading Japji Sahib Paat and had no proper understanding but by going to these Youth Talks at the Gurdwara it was like a “wake up call” from Vaheguru and that’s when I started to read it in English to understand what message is Guru Nanak Dev Ji is reaching to us.
This was the point where things changed for me, I was feeling more hunger towards the spiritual path and started going to Simran and Katha programmes which helped me a lot. I started seeing changes within me. I had no interest in going out with friends, my modelling/dancing hobbies reduced and I had the urge to attend a simran programme instead where I felt a strong spiritual connection and peace within me. It came to a point I became so desperate I needed more and more of it as this was healing that emptiness that I had for so long.
The desires to wear makeup, jewellery, and designer’s clothes just vanished I had no interest and loved my simple life.
I felt more and more compassion and empathy for others and for animals on my spiritual journey. Making that spiritual connection with my Guru I finally realised my place within the universe.
Where I used to focus on my pain, suffering, loss and personal struggle, now I focus on what I’ve gained. Through the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib Ji I understood that suffering became my medicine and from my own suffering I have finally realised God.
I actually never planned to take Amrit, it just happened. I attended a Simran and Katha programme at my local Gurdwara. The Katha was on “Khalsa Women and Mir Mannu’s Jail” Mir Mannu who ordered that all of the infant Sikhs who were with their mothers at the jail were to be executed immediately. Only those to be spared were those who converted to Islam. More than 300 infant Sikhs were killed by Mughals and their dead bodies given back to their Khalsa mothers, not a single mother embraced Islam. The women’s children were fixed on javelins before their very eyes. Their children were cut into pieces and garlands of those pieces were put around their mother’s necks. But the faith of Sikh women was unshakeable. This Katha completely disturbed my soul. At the end of the programme they announced there will be an Amrit Sanchaar the next morning.
I questioned myself and my Sikhi. I woke up the next morning the urge to take Amrit, it was 8:30am when I messaged a Singhni friend and asked her what I need to do. She asked me why? And I told her I want to take Amrit (she was so excited). I quickly had a full shower. I was running around the house getting myself ready as the Amrit Sanchaar was at 10am. My Mum asked” where are you going” when I told her she was surprised too.
Everyone was little surprised because I was the most outgoing and fashionable in my family.
I appreciate and love my life and I thank Vaheguru every day for giving me a second chance. Guru ji has certainly saved me.
What’s been your biggest struggle in taking Amrit?
My Kesh (facial hair).
I ONLY had fine facial hair on my face due to working in the Beauty Industry for over 10 years I was persuaded by my work colleagues to have Laser Hair Removal Treatment, so I started my first treatment in year 2009 till 2011.
With Guru Ji’s Kirpa I was blessed with Amrit In year 2012 (never planned) slowly month by month I had MORE facial hair on my face as I did before
We tend to tamper with our natural beauty for the sake of SOCIAL MEDIA and nothing is Permanent it’s a Gift from God that will keep on growing until you die.
I have had many messages especially from Bibiya wanting to walk on the Sikhi path after watching “My Journey into Sikhi” video which has made a huge impact to their lives. Four bibiya took Amrit last year in December as my post/video on Facebook had inspired them. I want to make my sangat aware too please don’t take Amrit by reading or watching video post on my Facebook. I’m overwhelmed with messages I receive on a daily basis that my posts have inspired sangat. My main mission is to get the Sangat more involved with Gurdwara Seva and able to start communicating with Guru Granth Sahib Ji slowly build your relationship with your Mother and Father. Taking AMRIT isn’t a game and I personally feel that a journey is between you and God once you’ve understood what our Guru Ji’s are teaching us.
Some of you are armed with Sikhi knowledge but certain things are stopping them from taking Amrit e.g. most popular FACIAL HAIR!!
Kesh is a gift from God and we shouldn’t feel embarrassed. We ALL have it no one is born without facial hair. God has gifted us with eyes, mouth, nose and ears and still we are unhappy or want to make changes to our natural beauty.
Its ONLY HAIR!!
I’ve learnt the hard way and I’m hoping that my experience will help youngsters to not to tamper or change their natural beauty.
Did people change towards you when you took Amrit?
Throughout my life I’ve had far too many friends but unfortunately I knew who the real ones were after I took Amrit. I have been used by people and realised they were only my friends because of money and my outside image.
I don’t have many friends now. I chose not to make many friends if I do I now go for quality over quantity!
My Only True friend is my Guru Ji – Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
Were your family supportive?
My family has never stopped me or any members of the family from doing anything. I am blessed and they all have a Spiritual side which we all respect each other.
Well work colleagues would put a bet on whether I would take that big step towards Amrit. I would go into work with my head covered then another day with my hair down and makeup etc. I remember when my Director made a comment about my look when I was practising and he said “I looked attractive with my hair down and why waste your life away by hiding your beauty” At that point I felt so disgusted with myself he made a flirty comment!! I went into work the next day with my head covered and never removed my Keski since.
My Director approached me with more respect, and work colleagues would praise me for my bravery on this path. I was known as a Fashion Icon at work (well smartly dressed) but my spiritual path again and again pointed me back towards simplicity. I don’t work for that company anymore.
What was your biggest struggle within yourself?
My confidence. Always the need to please everyone. I know now you can’t do that. Even mixing with society I wasn’t being me. I wasn’t being true to myself. I was thinking more about others views and thoughts rather than mine. I think I have come a really long way now in overcoming that. I have confidence now and I’m building it all up again. I’m teaching others about confidence and being yourself.
I have been approached by a few media channel’s to talk about my journey into Sikhi but I refused.
I am no one I am just a normal person just like everyone else. We all have a story to tell! There are so many ways we can inspire Sangat (not just on TV) and one of them were when I created an Album called “Back to a Sikhi” which inspired many Sangat on my Facebook. Even though I had taken Amrit their journey also inspired me. The thought of these people inspiring me, it will also inspire others too.
My journey inspired many people, I always got asked “what made you change from glamour to a simple person?” “What made you take Amrit?” So I made a short video called “My Roller-coaster Journey into Sikhi” to help sangat. (video is below)
But I guess that wasn’t enough they needed more details. Automatically people judge you by thinking “Divorce, relationship break up or if someone close passed away. It’s not really true. Depression can come in many forms not necessary through bad experience. This is why I agreed to do this interview to share my experience and maybe someone is out there that is feeling exactly how I was feeling and to let them know “they are not alone” maybe my story will help them.
It’s strange, I recently sent a friend request to someone who I didn’t know but this is when you TRUST Vaheguru Ji (people come into people’s lives for a reason) I truly believe we are God’s messengers.
Not long ago this person who I sent a request too who I don’t know and never met before had just lost her partner and had no hope to live. This person trusted me and opened up to me, this person started drinking, smoking a lot and doing all the wrong things. I am actually helping this person with the guidance of Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
In just three weeks this same person is speaking to me with so much positivity, they started going to Gurdwara doing Seva, listening to paat (understanding what she is reading), this person hasn’t touched Alcohol for 3 days and stopped smoking and she’s finding more peace. I send Guru ji’s daily Hukamnama to this person and daily message to help them overcome this depression.
We agreed, once she’s 100% herself again we will meet up for a cuppa. I’m hoping to interview her one day with her journey and experience so it will help others.
This time last year I was humiliated by someone who I thought I knew very well. This person called me a “Facebook friends list Stalker” their friends laughed and joked at my expense which really upset me.
My attention was for something else and this is a fine example why I randomly send friends request because you just don’t know who you may able to help.
There are so many people I speak to that are going through so much depression, pain and anxiety. I want to help them, find their inner peace by doing this seva.
Pain is a part of life, suffering is an option.
Yes I am. You need to be comfortable with who you are. This is all I want to say about being positive.
ਆਪਣਾਆਪੁਨਪਛਾਣੈਮੂੜਾਅਵਰਾਆਖਿਦੁਖਾਏ॥ਮੁੰਢੈਦੀਖਸਲਤਿਨਗਈਆਅੰਧੇਵਿਛੁੜਿਚੋਟਾਖਾਏ॥: Apnaa aap na pashaanai mooraa avraa aakh dukhaaye ..: The fool does not understand his own (True) Self; he pains others with his speech. His underlying nature (of causing pain to others) does not leave him; separated from the Lord, he suffers (sggs 549).“Pain is apart of life, suffering is an option” but through that suffering theres also a Cure which we don’t realise till later in life. (talking from my own experience)
What does your Dastaar mean to you?
It is your identity. You know from a far that yes they are Sikh. You stand out from the crowd. Its mine. Its my crown.
Wearing my crown (Dastaar) is my identity as a true Sikh Warrior (Khalsa Akaal Purakh Ki Fauj). I am but a slave and a servant of Akal-Purakh, Timeless Being. I feel unique, proud and I receive a lot of respect from people when they see me. Dastaar is an article of faith that symbolise honour, self-respect, courage and spirituality. It’s my Guru’s unique gift to me. It expresses royalty, elegance and uniqueness.
Dastaar for a Kaur is an indication to others that we are princesses of Guru Gobind Singh Ji (our father) and we are equivalent to the men. When a Kaur chose to stand out by tying a dastaar, she stands fearlessly as one single person standing out from billion people. It is a most outstanding act. When I look into the mirror, I want to see the reflection of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. My dastaar also helps me connect to my Sikh roots.
I stand out in the crowd (Born to Stand Out). “Khalsa mero roop hai khas,”
You also were part of the “Don The Dastaar Campaign” in which I was part of where you tied the Dastaar on me for the first time. How did it all happen? (video of me below as I was part of the campaign also wore a Dastaar for the first time)
The Dastaar tutorial was again not a planned journey. I wanted to teach youngsters how to tie it. I also attended Coventry University few months ago with The Sikh Channel supporting the campaign and tying it on students. It’s also to raise awareness about Sikhi. I’ve had many people ask me for tutorial’s in regards to the Dastaar and that’s what I do now. I don’t want money its all seva. I like to help people. I’ve had people contact me from Dubai and Canada to come and help with Dastaar’s and where there are Sikhi camps coming up. I will always be here to support and help anybody where I can. The problem with our community is we don’t teach. That’s what we need to do. When you have faith in your Guru that’s where you get your strength. I hold Dastaar tutorials at my local Gurdwara also. Anybody is welcome.
My Father Guru Gobind Singh Ji said, “I will give my Sikhs a distinct and unique appearance, which will be recognised while standing in millions.”When I receive any negative feedback I see that as a challenge for myself as I have no right to judge anyone. I do have a choice whether to block these people from my account but then when I read Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message saying “If you don’t see God in All, You don’t see God at All.” Guru ji’s message makes me realise that we are here to Love and to see Vaheguru in All. It is a battle we have to fight within ourselves and see every situation as Waheguru the Creator itself is testing us. I always keep the following quote close to my heart.“Love is my Gift to the world. I fill myself with Love. And I send that Love out into the World. How others treat me is their Path; How I React is Mine”
You also did the “Back To Sikhi” photo’s why did you do that?
That was another journey that wasn’t planned. My profile isn’t about me. Its about sharing everybody’s journey. Its always been my passion. That album has become very well received. I have had many many messages about it. I have people sending me photo’s even the sangat. I don’t tag anybody. It’s all about inspiring people. The photo’s are fascinating to see everyone’s journey. People judge thinking that you are probably divorced that’s why you are into Sikhi. But no, that is not the case. In your journey there will be all sorts of things that will change you. Motivate you. Inspire you.
You stated that Kirtan inspires you also, which ones?
I do listen to a lot of Katha by Bhai Niranjan Singh Ji who explains “full depth” of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. My few favourite kirtan I love listening to again and again are below. It surely lifts my spirit when I’m having a bad or stressful day.
You do a lot of Seva, what does this mean to you?
It means everything. I find peace in myself. I love helping others and it has always been in my blood. It is something my father had instilled in me. I help with the lungar for Coventry with Midland Lungar Seva Society. I don’t focus on one Gurdwara I go everywhere and do my seva where ever I can. This isn’t a job this is my duty.
For anyone who wishes to go down the Sikhi Path what advise would you give?
Take your time. Practise it first. Don’t rush it. Life is a test. Do it for yourself and only do it once you are ready don’t feel forced. You will know when you are ready.
Firstly what a insightful journey into Sikhi, I asked Inderpal Kaur a few months ago if she would be part of my blog and I had to convince her she wasn’t overly keen on doing this. I really I had to push her to open up. Inderpal Kaur is a such a lovely soul and will help you with anything. Inderpal was worried about talking through her depression that she had suffered in the past, as she is a very private person and doesn’t like talking about herself. But if this blog helps someone then Inderpal is very happy with this. Please show some love and support in regards to her journey, it wasn’t easy. But she is going from strength to strength. Please read through it and hopefully you will all connect with her journey.