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Burqa, purdah & Manhood

Have you ever wondered why muslim women wear burqas? Don’t they feel hot in all that black? Some may say that it is forced upon them or some may say it is by choice. I have asked this question to lot of women, whenever possible and the reply is usually “Our buzurgs (elders) have decreed that we wear the burqa. Whatever their reasons our buzurgs must be right.” And in case of a snappy one, it is further extended to “we don’t question them (the elders). And you have no right to question us!”

Even if they had not understood it themselves, they _the muslim women _ were the custodians of male morality and so they had to cover themselves up to stop the men from getting lascivious. I am inclined to agree with French President Sarkozy when he said that burqa is not a sign of religion but a sign of subservience (with no offence to readers who may feel otherwise).

Women who were made to cover up were compelled to do so to safeguard male morality. If that is not case then why were women were stoned when they were the ones who were raped and more often than not the offending man tried to seek an excuse like, “She provoked me; she had uncovered hair; she was wearing revealing clothes, etc to justify essentially what was his own lack of character?

Similar thoughts were brought forth in a 2006 write up (which is still relevant to what is happening today) which supported then British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s call to Muslim women to refrain from covering their full faces while in public places. This is how I would have felt if I had been compelled to don a burqa or any other covering that went against my own sense of pride in myself and my self-esteem. (READ:,8599,1547572-2,00.html)

Burqa, purdah, ghunghat, and to some extent dupatta — these are nothing but signs of considering women not to be mature enough to live as they are, be as they are, and rather exist as means to ensure that our men remain men and not turn into beast.

In such a society, we should call for nothing but women-centric laws. After all, it is they who need protection, and that too from men.


Carri Pence's picture

You illustrated a great

You illustrated a great point, the foundation of women being subservient to men is never in our religions but in our culture, society, and traditions. But the problem is that to go against traditions brings a hostility that can't be avoided, where those who goes against the norm are looked upon as disrespectful, westernized, or even going against their family. What positive ways can we move forward as a society attributing that the burqa is a choice.

farha rahman's picture

Its a great persuasive

Its a great persuasive writing. I do know some people who wear burquah, but they don't know why they have to wear it.

victorymust's picture

Carrie/Farha, Thanks for your


Thanks for your responses.
And really happy that neither of you took it as religious.
Life and its struggles are perpetual. Change for good will always work for the betterment. Just as everything in not good in the western world, the same is true for the other cultures. I love my outfits with dupatta but then I don't wear it like most women do it in my country. You need to be what you are, believe in and be ready to take responsibility for what you believe in. Our society did accept men when they began wearing trousers, so why can't they accept women also taken a lead.
I am not against wearing a burqa. A few friends of my wear it but occassionally and they all have been trying to style it. Today, on some days it even looks fashionable. Things are changing and we need to ensure that we convince pursuing the change for betterment (and not just for the change itself).
Life is good. We will make it better!

victorymust's picture

Carrie/Farha, just to add ---


just to add --- the same blog got me some hate mail.
I really wonder what to do at such times.

jadefrank's picture

Keep writing!

I was shocked to read that hateful comment on your blog... which proves that we still have so much work to do. I applaud you for speaking out and defending yourself, your rights and your voice. And know that when looking for support - you will find endless amounts of it here among your PulseWire sisters... we just need to work now on extending that support to mainstream society.

In friendship and solidarity,

victorymust's picture

Jade, I loved having that


I loved having that hateful comment :) For after all, someone had the guts to come forth and say this crap. I did not translate all the crap he wrote in Hindi.


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