Thursday, August 12, 2010
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Continuation of the post at Burqa Ban ...
Ideally, I don’t think it is upto us (or the ram sena or the taliban, or the Belgian / French govts) to decide what should be decent enough clothing for women, in Indian context or in any other. Choice should be hers and hers only. What pleases her, what comforts her, what thrills / excites (add more verbs) her, the choice should be hers only. If someone wants to go jogging fully covered in veil* let it be, and someone coming to workplace in a swimsuit – let that be too …
But apart from the above parameters (What pleases her, what comforts her, what thrills / excites (add more verbs) her) , there is another aspect, which is as important (if not more) as are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, it is called Security.
It is said that during Sher Shah’s reign, security on the roads was asserted to be so great that “a decrepit old woman might place a basket full of gold ornaments on her head and go on a journey, and no thief or robber would come near her.”
She has as much right today (or had in other reigns), our dear old woman, to go out on a journey with a basket full of gold, but should she, and even if she is willing, even hell bent, should her family a) encourage, b) allow, c) advise against, or d) disallow her to do so. I am inclined more towards laters than formers . . . But still, what I (or ram sena or taliban or Belgian / French govts) think should not matter, but if her family goes for c or d options, do anyone has a right to criticize them? I don’t think so …
The heinousness of crime against women does not reduce or increase if it was committed against a sari / burqa / mini skirt clad one, but the (perceived) probability that such crimes would be committed does vary. And if gals (and more than them, their families) want to minimize this possibility, why should anyone object. And actually gals do that, sometimes they may go to college / workplace in a burqa / chadar, and once there, once away from the streets and comparatively secure in college / workplace, they may remove the burqa / chadar … What is the harm in that … and are gal’s families illiberal just because they are concerned about security …
Some ppl will ask, ki bhai, why should gals pay the price for a (probable / would be) crime that they didn’t commit ..
A valid point, but unfortunately that is how this imperfect world is.
Think about this present day old women, who is not allowed to (or at least, strongly discouraged from) going on a journey with a gold basket.
The aim, in both cases, is probability reduction, probability that a crime can be committed against one.
And it is not only gals, boys too are asked to avoid late night strolls by the parents / families .. tourism websites keep warning people against venturing in some particular neighborhoods at night, and for some, during day too. And it is OK. It is just that, unfortunately, the above mentioned late nights start way early, and such neighborhoods are too many (at least in north india / pak), for gals.
Also, same set of clothes, at different places / times, can provide different level of (in)security. Just like flaunting a diamond studded necklace at 11’o clock in the night is fine, if one happens to be in a white house dinner party (though with gatecrashers etc not sure about that either J), but not while taking the last Vikram home in Gurgaon, or while waiting for the bus to Hapur at a seculded Ghaziabad bus stop.
The right to be able to flaunt it (if one desires so), at both places, is the same. But will any of us feel equally comfortable doing them. I don’t think so, and it is fine … somehow, if we don’t feel comfy and don’t do something for the sake of feeling secure, it is OK, but if gal’s families think the same, it is not OK … isn’t it MCPism?
What individuals should wear, has to be the individual's choice**, and his/hers only, let all of us respect that. And off course, this choice would have an element of family's choice inbuilt it - let us respect that as well.
I am using gal’s families with gals interchangeably .. if this is illiberal, so be it .. but the question of (il)liberality, or for that matter, any question, arises only when it concerns women .. families have a say in a lot of things, and it is not seen as a problem … unless off course it concerns women … why should it be so?
What a child should wear is determined by his mom (something which prompted Ambrose Bierce to describe Sweater as “garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly” J), what a husband should wear by his wife, and (in some cases) what a wife should not wear by the husband … J - these things, even if not 100% right, are OK enough, nothing to break head over ..
When families have a say in what course one should take, what college one should go, and what sport one plays, what time one gets up, what should be one’s intake (complan or bournvita) and what shouldn’t (cigarattes / gutkha etc J), which soap one uses, which TV shows / movies / channels one may watch (and more importantly, which ones we shouldn’t), what is the harm if they have a say in what one (both boys n gals) wears ..
Individual freedom is fine, and should be argued for, but then, we generally don’t argue to make suicide legal.
I was I think 10 when my Dad got me a bicycle, and he warned me against going to MIC grounds, particularly during summer afternoons as it used to be deserted but for some “bigre hue larke” … but Adam / Eve were not the only ones to crave for forbidden fruit, and we (me and a friend, shahid, of my age/size) used to go, among a lot of other places, there as well for out bicycle practice sessions .. for a couple of days nothing happened, and we became daring enough to venture to the remotest corner of the field .. and then, one day, few boys tried to snatch the bicycle from us … somehow, our continuous screams and struggle persuaded them to abandon their pursuit.
10 and 18+ are different, I understand, but parent’s (family’s) right to advice (and kid’s duty to listen to it) does not become zero as soon as one touches 18, or 21, or 50 …
So, I see nothing wrong of an individual's choice of clothing is partly based on the wishes of her / his family. But I see 100% wrong when people having no connection with the individual start to try to force their choice / their moral code on others ...
* Yeah, there could be security issues … but anyway, most of the places have separate sec-check counters for men and women and they are both frisked anyway. Rahi bat disguise ki, at places where such checks are not there, toh we’ll ve to ban Santa Claus, fancy dress parties, and to extent santa singhs and banta singhs too. But still, I agree with Sambaran Da, wherever security is an issue, ban fully covered burqa.
** in 99% of the cases, excluding 1% for some eccentric individuals ..