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And Now…Khushwant Singh on Taslima Nasreen February 17, 2007

Posted by K in contemporary, Gender, Life.

Defending not only Taslima Nasreen, but extending support to ‘Taslima’s call to burn Burqas’. I loath quoting in isolation, but the last sentence of his article in the Saturday Hindustan Times reads, the burqa ‘has become an emblem of jehalat- ignorance and backwardness’. I have already written about what I feel about such all-encompassing statements.

In his article he says that it is our sacred duty to protect her from harm. I agree; expressing of personal opinion ought not, cannot, be seen as and used as reason to gather in large numbers below someone’s house to threaten, shout slogans and generally be nasty. Nor can you take out a fatwa, and claim control over a life. If one disagrees with someone’s personal opinion, then one is entitled to publish a reasoned counter-opinion. Like that of the purdah being spoken of in the context of men before it coming down to women, and of showing the inaccuracy of the passages quoted by Nasreen, as many bloggers have.

Khushwant Singh seems to imply that women who wear the burqa cannot be (as they are not allowed to be) productive, ‘free’ members of society. I cannot help disagreeing with that. The burqa can chain only if one is forced into it. If one wears it of one’s own free and reasoned will, can it remain an emblem of ‘ignorance and backwardness’?



1. pr3rna - February 17, 2007

I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with Burqa as long as it is your own will and not forced by someone. Its like, I want to wear saree or trousers it is my choice no body has a right to tell me. There is one problem, you have to choose your proffesion accordingly. What I mean to say is, if you are a teacher and you want to wear a burqa, the school has a right to protest because the teacher needs to have an eye contact with her pupils. Expressions help a lot while teaching. For the younger lot it is all the more important. The other thing is that if it is against the rules and you know it, than don’t insist on getting admission in that very institution. You have a choice and they also have a right to deny, they may have valid reasons for that.

2. sporadicblogger - February 17, 2007

Exactly, I agree with you.
True, teaching is a profession where it can scare children to see their teacher dressed as the ‘baddie’ from cartoon network 🙂 I can also understand why you would be required to remove your covering for passport photos etc. Flexibility is what is needed, I guess; that, and a desire to cooperate from both sides.

3. Manas - February 18, 2007

I too think that wearing a burqa in front of children who have no sense of shame (sexual), is senseless.
I don’t like agreeing with people, but you have left me with no other choice.

4. sporadicblogger - February 18, 2007

lol, you like to disagree all the time? 😀

5. Manas - February 18, 2007

No. I like it sometimes! 😛

6. Manas - February 18, 2007

Finally I could disagree with you (deep breath!)

7. sporadicblogger - February 19, 2007


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