Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Recently in several European countries, a tendency to ban this full-body covering burqa or the face-covering ‘hijab’ has been seen and as governments there are trying to outlaw this dress code, which is pushing many countries toward a debate.

While blogging on this topic, I asked my Facebook friends whether ‘burqa’ should be banned or not and what they shared with me as their comments and opinions are as below. It is needn’t to say that the comments are neither edited nor moderated.

Raj Sharma No Burqa is not possible to banned. its the simble of Muslim women Izzet....

Kalim Ullah BURQA or even any tradition, if government tries to change forcefully it has an adverse effect. Traditions are changed by evolution, discussion always help and positive effect.

In past SHAH Iran try to change the tradition unwisely, everyone can see the consequence.

Kalim Ullah BURQA is not part of Islamic faith, but a tradition of Muslim women of subcontinent and some other part Islamic world. Try to change forcefully this tradition tantamount to strengthen the hands of fundamentalist.

Gaurangi Patel Yes, it should be banned:It sabotages individual/female right & freedom to choose & wear whatever, whichever way they want to be 'in'.They are not the choosers here...it is predecided, & they follow wearing burqua,due to religious/social/community rules/conventions.

Albert Ashok Saroj, I appreciate your zeal you feel on your topics, I wonder how many women stay under burqa through out the world, and how many remain out of burqa, what is their % percent, which side has the freedom and enjoy their life more than othe...See more

Gaurangi Patel It is each individual's right & prerogative to select & be confident,comfortable & 'feel good' in the atire that they chhose to be in...WHY, in the nam eof "God", literary speaking(!) should ANYBODU else decide for them...?THEN, if a few chooses to move in Burqua, fine...let them be...!

Albert Ashok In 2008, I had drawn a cartoon on this topic friends can see that @ http://cartoonin.blogspot.com/2008/09/hijab-and-women.html ( copy and paste onto your browser) I have some views also there. Saroj, if you want you can use it too...

Gaurangi Patel While 'issuing' compulsions to wear burquas, the msg seems loud & clear:1 (by male of course:We are born oglers! Beware of us...try not to tempt us...or else...u know...:) 2."You are merely an object in our eyes,so, just 'follow',period!No questions asked...we have convincing answers, in any case...These, are, only to 'protect' you...again, by us:)

Gaurangi Patel sorry:"ogglers"

Alfia Wallace oglers is fine too.

Gaurangi Patel Oh O..thanks!

Vashini Sharma certainly it should be banned !

Nimmi James I don't think it is to be banned... I think it is easy to wear over the kitchen dress to go out immediately.But should not force to wear..give freedom to choose and wear...

Bandana Pattanaik Interesting topic and timely too. The question ultimately is should others/ state/ religion/ and other moral guardians decide what women should or should not wear. I would like to share a friend's response to a question I asked her recently. We had met many years ago. At that time she wore her 'hijab' and never wet out without it. She also wore very 'traditional' clothes. When we met again after nearly 8 years she looked very different. No 'hijab', no long clothes etc. I asked her what brought about the change. Her answer: "I haven't changed. When I was growing up there was a social/state pressure to modernize. Hijabs were looked down upon. So I decided to wear them. I did not want people to think I was less progressive just because I wear a certain kind of dress. Now things have changed. There is pressure from a certain section of the state and society to wear Hijab. The moral police is tracking every move of women. If we are seen with men who are not related to us, we are told that it is 'immoral.' So to defy this attitude I gave up my hijab and changed my style of dressing. You see I have always been a rebel."

Rekha Joshi Mukherjee ...to each his own actually...who am i to disagree???? burqua or hijab is a very personal choice with some women..and the family traditions they adhere to...recently i was in kashmir and found that the society is very supportive of women's education and over all well being...i never came across a single woman sporting a burqua...yes,they cover their heads..as we also do wen we visit any place of religious importance...and guess the weather usually remains very cold so it helps wen the head is covered....talking about women all over-wearing this drape,yes,as gaurangi said,it helps keeping the women-folk safe from the ogglers..hahaha ( guess it originated from there )..any law enforcement will not help here i think...those who wish to cover-up..wil always do so..and many have voluntarily moved on with the times...

Fide Erken What if they would choose not to wear it themselves.If it is banned, their wish to wear it will increase I think.

Nahid Osman wearing burqa is hiding her own identity......

Rupa Hazarika I have seen most of the women like to wear respective traditional dresses. Even I have seen our honourable president smti prativa patel always remain under the half veil of sari. Late smti Indira ji our former prime minister and many of such reputed and famous women who contributed a lot to the society by staying under half veil. I have seen my mother and mother in law too like to stay under half veil. Wearing of traditional/religious dress doesn’t mean that an women’s freedom is banned because many incidents like sexual abuse etc often takes place due to our so called modern wearing which expose women’s body only . I feel women need to increase enough mental strength , moral senses and courage to overcome obstacles in her life as well as contribute something meaningful to the society it does not matter what she wear burqa / sari under the half veil

Kshirod Parida Who will ban & for whom? It is a religion linked dress.Those who believe strongly they are using.Lot of women having modern education are not using.Dress has its own style & believe. When it will be banned,certainly it may a debate or disturbance in the society.Many people have taken it as option. in my opinion it should be left to the user or believer. There should not be any legal stand or force on it.After few years the taste and temperament may lead it in a different direction for the user.Let it be as such.Let them as they like.

Jaya Nair Sarojini, thank you once again for highlighting topics that can bring to the surface of any issues surrounding it. To allow everyone to express their views and to understand the logic behind it.

I've been in this country for almost all my life. My schooling, college and married life too in this country, as all my family are all here too.

Never seen a burqa until we traveled to Kerala on holidays and transit in the middle east. That was my 1st ever view of a burqa.

The explosion of women wearing burqa started happening just after the 911. I've been curious to know and was told it's not for religious purpose but for protection from sandstorms in the desert.

Why all of a sudden this urge to cover up?

Why decorate it with blingy objects and stones, if the purpose is to keep a low profile?

Why wear so much make-up, especially eye make-up? It attracts the opposite sex, which this costume is clearly trying not to do.

Some use it to leave the house in and takes it off and walk around in normal clothing and a lot of make-up and burqa back on to return home.

Why the deceit? Who are you doing it for? This is 2011, now 1011.

One of our regular customer, now in her 40's started wearing burqa recently but her attitude continues as before. She will do as she pleases and rise to the occasion as she desires. She smokes, gambles (it's forbidden in the quaran, i was told),swears in Hindi, Urdu, English at everyone she dislikes.

She has gone to Mecca several times. I was also told that you become humble and calmer. Many seem to do the opposite and feel as if they're above everyone. Holy place don't make the visitor Holy.

She even slapped a man in our shop. She was checking the scratch card (gambling in another form)at the counter, blocking this gentleman from being served. There was no physical contact for her to react in this manner. He didn't say or do anything, just walked away, respecting her burqa.

Sometimes she comes to the shop without burqa. At times, she has to lift the burqa for me to recognise her. It's against the law to serve cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets to under age. A hefty fine and prison sentence for the owner for not following the right procedures in identity checks. A person wearing a burqa is not easily identifiable, to know the age of that person or if it is that person they claim to be.

It could be Miss X (17yr old) bringing identity card of Miss Y (18yrs old or over).

The shop keeper is now in a dilemma of whether to serve or not. To ask the person to remove it would be breach of 'Human Rights'.

Burqa is a regular and normal scene everywhere nowadays, some wear it for convenience and other for their religious reasons.

This subject is quite confusing, nobody wants to talk about it. Many fear for being victimised or labelled as anti-burqa or Muslim.

I do strongly oppose wearing burqa whilst driving or be in a place where safety is number one priority. How much vision is obscured by it? I've had so many close encounters with accidents due to women wearing burqa.

Why wear burqa in the enclosure of your car? No one can see you long enough to turn them on.

At banks, ports, airport and places where your face should be identified for safety checks for obvious reasons. It could be anyone under the burqa. No one should be exempt from thorough safety checks at places quoted above.

Men would like to keep their wife/wives covered due to their insecurity.

One of my colleague had to evict a girl wearing a burqa from the cinema theatre for indecent behaviour with her boyfriend. Wearing a burqa does not make you invisible.

What has changed, for the burqa wearing in other countries other than Muslim countries as it was before? Muslim religion was existent before, nothing new.

We've had incidents, where a Muslim woman goes for a job interview, minus the burqa. When she is appointed, turns up wearing one. The employer asked her to remove it and was taken to court for human rights reasons. There have been other incidents, were granted compensations for their loss of job or pain endured.

One was a hairdressers job and the other was a school.

Why did they turn up for the interview without their burqa? At least inform their future employer of their intention to wear one in employment. The confusion and the distress caused could have been avoided.

Do you know how it feels like, to be in the presence of a faceless one? Not comfortable.

How would people feel, if everyone walked around with balaclava? Not pleasant or safe. Right?

Sorry, for the length of this note. Thank you.

Albert Ashok Jaya, I agree with you. you have some logic and reasoning with your words. Thank you

Albert Ashok Many people thinks veil is religious and traditional. My view point is :: it was not a practice from a certain point of an ancient time. society has created this in a particular geographic area and imposed it by some type of force. made it a regular practice by brainwashing. A generation was born within black cover . adaptation accepted and human society divided. one is exposing identity another hiding identity. lets society get educated and civilisation will wipe what is not necessary.

Mumtaz Mazumdar whts the problem with it maam? i myself wear it often. its related to our 'iman' (faith). if muslims have no problem with it, why does it always tickle others?? we shall live and die to save it!!

Jaya Nair Mumtaz, you wear it often or all the time? It's not about tickling anyone but when it's used for convenience. As stated before, i strongly oppose it being worn when safety is at risk. If it's to do with faith, why weren't they wearing it before? Why the explosion of it now? My daughter's friend started wearing it few years ago and now she refuses to wear it. Her explanation is that she felt suffocated and not herself. She feels free and much happier now.

Gaurangi Patel Yes, Jaya, absolutely right...

Albert Ashok According to a new study, conservative Muslim dress codes might be causing serious health problems for Muslim women: http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2007/06/burqas_vitamin_d_and_religion.php

Albert Ashok Enveloping outer garments, such as the burqa, are believed to cause or worsen medical conditions in some individuals. In particular, they contribute to a predisposition for hypovitaminosis D, which can lead to rickets or osteoporosis and may increase the risk of seizures in infants born to affected mothers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burqa

Gaurangi Patel This won't b out of place: esp in villages in India: women use sari as a veil, cook on "chullhaas", even in scorching heat, or gas-stove, N many hav caught fire...unlike 'burning' the lady

Albert Ashok All women should be left in their liberty and comfort: Lets women decide their own thing and rule their lives. Why religion and tradition dictate them? This world has nothing to do in keeping women in chain.

Kalim Ullah BURQA is not part of Islamic faith, but a tradition of Muslim women of subcontinent and some other part Islamic world. Try to change forcefully this tradition tantamount to strengthen the hands of fundamentalist.

AjAy Kumar Bohat Bikini Should be BANNED.....

Kalim Ullah In my opinion there are two options

1. It should be ban by government, lady police deploy at road equipped with scissors any woman found wearing BURQA her BURQA is cut. This action is supposed to be legal, or any method supported by force not will.

2. A law should be passing that anyone forcing a woman evens her husband or father to wear BURQA should be punished, police can be called by victim which take swift action.

This law should be published in newspapers to enhance awareness.

The first one further aggravate the problems, the second one will lead to eradicate this old tradition. Wearing BURQA is a tradition not by Islamic faith.

But a significant number of Muslim women like to wear BURQA for various reasons, so no one should object. BURQA is not as inhuman like wearing chastity belts, but certainly a bar of woman freedom, which should be resolved wisely.

Mumtaz Mazumdar serious health problems? by burkha? oh really! i have seen my grandmothers being in purdah for more than 70 -80 years, and they some of the most beautiful and healthiest skins! in west, whites are getting skin cancers due to over-exposure to sun! how many muslim women died due to burkha-wear?

Mumtaz Mazumdar its just another way to trouble the muslim community. Sarkozy has semi-nude Carla Bruni. He wants to see more skins. a satanic man who is just too curious to the purdah-nashin muslim women!

Mumtaz Mazumdar we never stumble wearing burkhas. iran has all its women clad in burkhs. more than 70% teachers and students in their univs are burkha-clad females there. nuclear world of iran consists of more than 60% black-burka women. do they keep on falling and studying and researching there? in mecca and medinah, females are policewomen and in other authorities there, all clad in burkha. running the administration. and so on. one of my sister-in law is a gynacologist in a famous hospital in jeddah, from 15 years. she never told us that burkha has harmed her intelligence, confidence, mother and wife's duties or duties as professional? limited information upon the uses of burkha leads us to be against it. burkha rather makes us feel more at home in and carefree. health comes from food, environment and the sun is very strong to be able to penetrate inside the burkha. or else, long back the middleeast women would have been wiped out due to burkha. they have world's one of the most stable female ratio. sometimes, it exceeds males even.

Mumtaz Mazumdar Sarkozy is naughty boy. you see how he changes wives! like the colourful clothes! and people call him the icon of youth! in that case, we should expect our women, to used and thrown by men. this will be more problematic than the so-called problem with burkha.

Supriya Panda Why any dress be either "imposed" or" banned" when it is the liberty of an individual to select a dress as per his/her choice and catering to he comfort-zone.And why Burqa and no reference to many gents in some Middle East country who

J. Barrett Wolf Banning the burqa is a discriminatory act against one particular religion. It is morally no different than banning jeans and flannel shirts - or any of the regular things I wear -because the legislators felt that maybe, somewhere, somebody could hide a gun in them.

In both cases it is true at a weapon or a bomb can be concealed in clothing. So, the defining difference is the influence of anti-Islamic sentiment, driven by both simple fear and the inability to differentiate between those people who pose a danger and the Islamic religion as a whole.

Amit Ranjan Burqa is remnant of medieval oppression of women. Must not it must it be banned immediately but should also be deleted from the human psyche forever! It is another negativity of our global society which I vehemently detest. Global=all religion, cast, creed, nationality and even gender!

Pradeep Biswal Leaving aside the religious part of it it should not be mandatory for women.It symbolises a mediavall mindset of men.

Tariq Ahmed Siddiqi Burqa seems to be illogical. But why French Governement banned the Scarf? Why a Muslim girl cannot wear a Scarf in Schools there? A Muslim lady wants to cover her head and for this she wears Scarf. What is wrong in it?

Himalayan Voice We had a chance to see a photo being taken by a man somewhere in the Middle East. The man was taking photo of 3/4 women in 'burqa thing posing triumphantly'. We were flatly amazed and asking ourselves, why would have the man needed to ta...

Jyoti Prasad Pattnaik Burqa is just not a religius problem but a veil to protect someone from the harsh weather. And that is why It can be advocated that the forceful use of this veil may be diminished but a BAN can never imposed. Since this is the dress that women in the middle east countries wore not only as a compulsory dress code but as a piece of cloth which saved them from the sand sttorms and other harmful rays of the sun. I think if someone is forcing us to wear burqa it should be blamed but it can not be banned...

Ajay Sinha Is it need of today?

Amit Ranjan Burqa is remnant of medieval oppression of women. Must not it must it be banned immediately but should also be deleted from the human psyche forever! It is another negativity of our global society which I vehemently detest.Global=all religion, cast, creed, nationality and even gender!

Hemant Kumar Pillai burqa is like ghoonght(veil) and it is symbol of regard elders and keep dignity.

Vidya Bhandarker I would say now if we are still talking about India-and we have a democracy here. There are pitfalls true especially with the security issues however I still say no the burqa should not be banned:)

Vidya Bhandarker I have travelled lived across the world East and West and I have realized one thing about the strength of my nation-Not America, Europe-we in India are the most secular and democratic people. I talk of the silent majority and not the rabble rousing politicians. Our Muslim brotherhood in India is largely the most Sufi in its leanings. I talk again of the majority and not the minority rabble rousers. Stereotyping of our folk have gone to the nadir-not fair. Burqa is fine if they are comfortable with it. :)

Vidya Bhandarker Liking is not enough come and say it :) opine:)

Pullin Kapadia There are people who are not modern as we are and I feel its not good to provoke them butr simultaneously if a Muslim wants to come of the present situation and adjust to the modern times than at times he should be willing to let go off this particular Burqa system but enforcing ban on Burqa is going against the belief of some which creates dishormony in society as it their part of their culture since ages

Vidya Bhandarker With due respect I think banning a burqa is literally asking a Hindu woman not to were a bindi or a sikh to remove his turban. This is as you rightly say a matter of choice. Ethnic identity/social identity is part of individual identity. The law in a democracy should not come into it. I however do feel ethnic identity is not about modernity-it represents the "I " in a person. I was in Washington for long, but if there is a social invite I did go with my saree and bindi

Vidya Bhandarker Not a suit or dress:)

Pullin Kapadia Yes Definitely agree with your views Vidya but simultaneously if you are talking of Democracy and the views of different cultures than the thought should be on We and not I as India is a democratic Country with different cultures and various caste of people and keeping everybody in mind your statement stands on solid ground with a indepth foundation and it is these values of we all Indians that have kept us united at times of distress also.

The discussion is also liked by Anurag Gogoi, Susan Reinhard, Kiran Gill, Yam Desor,Santosh Kumar, Sujata Singh, Gaurangi Patel, Natalia Turisheva, Erbc Pattanayak, Ajay Sinha, Jyoti Prasad Pattnaik, Joseph Thambi, Sramit Jajodia,Himalayan Voice, Kumar Ritesh, Rekha Joshi Mukherjee, Santosh Kumar Satapathy, Alfia Wallace, Mumtaz Mazumdar, Hemant Kumar Pillai

My original blogging 'Banning the Burqa: What’s Really Being Hid?' can be read HERE

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Walk to Freedom

Slut Walk” a new type of protest march started on last April 3, 2011 in Toronto and is going to spread globally. The protest marcher’s women wearing high heels and fishnet stockings were prominent in a demonstration. They named their protest from the words of a Canadian police constable r Michael Sanguinetti, who said that women should ‘avoid dressing as sluts to market less likely to be harassed”. Comments sparked a global movement galvanised by Face book and Twitter. "SlutWalks" have now been held in Dallas, Asheville in North Carolina, and in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, and are planned for Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Reno and Austin.

I can remember in 1968, a group of women influenced by Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique staged demonstrations at the annual Miss America Beauty pageant held in Atlantic City, NJ. They argued this type of contest consciously manipulates its portrayal of women as ‘sex object’. They tossed their bras in the garbage getting instant media coverage and hence, the term "bra-burners" entered the media vocabulary as a pejorative for feminists.

Naomi Wolf and Ariel Levy with their books The Beauty Myth (1991) and Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (2005) argued that to make a woman interested in fashion and beauty culture is purely political and also a part of the process to maintain the patriarchal system. Even women were asked to give up fashion, make up and even lipstick so as they could refuse to subject themselves as any sex object.

But there is a strange similarity in the attitude of Western social and radical feminists of the second wave and the patriarchal society as far as the sexual objectification of women is concerned. Both of them believe women have often been valued mainly for their physical attributes.

On March 04, 2010, just one year before the beginning of ‘slut walk’ in Canada, I discussed about these Beauty Dilemmas in an article and later It is anthologized in my book Sensible Sensuality. and now I am reading a news that the crowd marched on police headquarters, calling on police to stop blaming rape survivors for what happened to them and chanted, "Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no,"

I hope this movement may bring awareness to the shame and degradation women still face for expressing their sexuality … essentially for behaving in a healthy and sexual way.”

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mother's Day 2011. Sunday, May 8

The best thing in a life to be a Mom: Feminists of our age should celebrate Mother’s day http://bit.ly/lzrwBb

Our feminist thinkers always so far try to skip the idea that offspring begging is a natural instinct of a woman and it is related to our ecological and environmental situation. Anything against it may resulted to disaster, we find, a woman has to pass through a different stage in her life span and there is a phase where a woman feels an intense need of her own offspring. Feminists of second wave feminism have always tried to pursue a woman against the natural law because it is seemed to them that motherhood is barricade for the freedom of a woman. But if the woman has her own working field, doesn’t have it mean that her working assignments would demand more of her time, of her sincerity and of course of her freedom? If a woman can adjust herself and can sacrifice her freedom for her own identity at out side her home, then why she shouldn’t sacrifice some of her freedom for parenting, when parenting is also a part of one of her social identity? And it could also be solved by rejecting the patriarchal role of parenting. We have to insist the idea of the division of labor in parenting. This equally shared parenting is now common in Western, but still in South Asian countries we find it as a taboo factor rather because of economic inequality between men and women, our crazy work culture, and the constrictions that are placed on us by traditional gender roles.

Mother’s Day is a day for many people to show their appreciation towards mothers and mother figures worldwide. It is an annual event but is held at different dates in the calendar, depending on the country.