Tuesday, April 20, 2010

was standing at the bus stop a few weeks ago, when i came across this girl in a burkha. the black long burkha, was just long enuff for me to see a glimpse of the jeans that she wore under it. as i looked at her feet, she was in stilletos those really hip high heels tat i generally fear whilst roving my eye at a bus stop :P

amazing ! is all i cud think of. for burkha, the much malligned islamic attire, was more a symbol of subjugation, somehting i guessed was worn out of compulsion and not out of choice. and here she was, wearing the burkha with elan over her jeans, and what i assume wud have been a chic top too!

as i gazed further at her, ( helped tat my bus was nowhere to be seen ) i couldnt help marvel at how at oddity she was from the burkha-clad-stereotype woman we always like to parade when we speak of the other half of our religious history. she spoke fluent english, a rather upper crust elite education shone thru the way she carreid her self. she was definitely employed. her bag exemplified her clasy taste . the ruffled folds on her burkha testified to have been on the whole day and not just to avoid recognition by kith and kin on the road. she really was in total control of herself, and her surroundings, aware of guys looking at her, and in a very confident and healthy way, enjoying the attention.

so what was she? liberated indian woman, living on her own terms, covering her self up from head to toe ( well almost) out of choice, asserting her right to be a muslim in this world, and yet be progressive and liberated ?

or was she a sad girl , trying to be "in" with the crowd her age, forced to be under a burkha? hiding her hopes and ambitions under the dark all encompasing cloth that religion draped on her ?

even as i could think of an answer to these queries, zoom came her boyfreind, and vroom went she behind him on a bike, burkha still intact!

what was she? who was she? the liberated woman? or the chained muslim girl running away from herslef?


Geeta said...

Very well-written!! - and points to a very curious fact. Maybe we should ask some of these women and find out what they think! Who knows, maybe its as simple as a teenager using a burkha to get away from prying eyes? On a more serious note though, I think there are a lot of different truths hidden behind a purdah - and until the purdah exists, it is going to be pretty difficult to fathom the depth of that belief system.

velapanth said...

Well-put AB.
But what I fail to understand is this fascination that so-called liberals have with the Burkha and yet there is no finger pointing at the Ghunghat since the principles are pretty much the same isn't it?!
Protect your women from the prying eyes of lusty men and envious women. Keep women subjugated and unaware of their individual identity.
There were social reasons for the custom to kick in at first but since then like with everything else the practice is being followed without a question - Is it relevant at this time and age, irrespective of community or religion.
We are afraid to question our so-called values and beliefs and when we do we are dubbed heretics and rebels....

o.pallavi said...

hmm..so the girl in burkha left you waiting for the bus and pool of unanswered questions.and in turn you left us with them.but i was thinking a hindu or a muslim, a purdah or a burkha, both reflect the insecurities we live with.N if these help you in anyway to subside those insecurities then why question??And who has time in this busy world to fight the "System".We just end up writing blogs and agree or disagree with it....

monideepa sahu said...

Very interesting and apt post. I understand that some women don the hijab by choice, and they feel it is to shelter them from prying eyes and preserve their modesty rather than subjugating them. I've also observed many girls like the one you have so nicely described. sometimes, they simply wear aheadscarf over stylish western garb too.