Is A Woman What She Wears? : Purdah In Modernity And Islam

Source: Feminism India

By Nelofar Gulnar, who is currently pursuing undergraduate degree in Physics from Aquinas College. She is a person who is flanked by science and literature

What does it mean to be ‘modern’? What is the minimum length of cloth which equates you to being a ‘modern, civilized woman’?

Well, I am quite engrossed with these questions. Having my voice heard in some social spaces is getting difficult day by day. The reason is quite simple; my attire never matches the tastes of a ‘modern’ woman. It is as if I am dimensionally incorrect in terms of modernity. I am conveniently generalised as ‘conservative, narrow minded and old fashioned’. I may also get a tagline of being ‘an oppressed woman’, who is advocating for her own captivity. That sounds hilarious!

I had experienced a similar situation, when my teachers disregarded my request to wear hijab during a small speech, I was asked to deliver to an open audience. When they found that I was quite adamant to wear hijab, they suggested a second option of talking to my parents. This was, in fact, another way of expressing their notion that women don’t choose hijab, but it is forced on them. It hurt me deeply and thus I replied, ‘No Ma’am. It’s my decision, not my parents’. I ‘chose’ to wear it.’

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