our house you’ll have to use a veil in front of elders.”
veiled head is a mark of respect.”
look at how audacious that girl is! No veil!”
your parents taught you the importance of veil?”
at her walking around without a veil inspite of being married. What a characterless
If you are thinking what’s with all
the veiled head remarks? I can only say welcome to conservative India
Well I’m sure you’d have heard atleast
one of these lines once in your lifetime; either being told to you or a friend.
If not, well you must have been extremely lucky! Infact, even if your own
family never burdened you with such decrees; chances are someone would have
made a snide remark about your so called ‘bad
So a question I choose to ask today
is why should we cover our heads? Or, let me rephrase, shouldn’t it be entirely
a woman’s choice whether to cover her head or not? Yes, it should unquestionably
It should be our decision and not a
diktat that this society bulldozes us with. Whether it is respect or culture,
it should be a woman’s own choice. Even if it’s our religion that says we need
to cover our heads, it should only be left to us to weigh the pros and cons to decide
as we deem fit. And whatever it is that we cherry-pick should neither be judged
nor frowned upon by others.
I have heard stories of women being
forced to cover their heads with the unfastened end of their sarees while cooking. Imagine standing
in front of the stove, cooking, sweating but unable to remove that cloak of
slavery from above! I have seen women suffer in extremely unbearable hot
weather and suffocate under a veil. Why? Well reasons vary from her being with
in-laws to the age-old rigmarole of respect!
Yes, the orthodox mentality of our
society doesn’t believe in giving women even the slightest of momentary
But have you ever thought why the
draconian rules of respect and modesty are thrust upon women alone? Don’t men
have to show respect? Don’t they have to be modest? While it’s alright for a
man to move around in shorts, a woman clad in saree or slawar kameez is considered ill-mannered
sans the veil! Seriously where’s the logic in that?
I don’t know who linked respect
with a woman’s veiled head. But that person surely didn’t have an inkling of
the meaning of respect. If I’m forced to cover my head then neither will I have
respect for the person who made me do so nor the people in front of whom I’m
paraded with a veiled head.
It’s simple; a woman’s head is not
anybody else’s to cover and whom she respects is nobody else’s business. So no
archaic dogmas, or over bearing in-laws or relatives or spineless men can make her
do either of the things the society passes of as diktats.
I don’t cover my head, not unless I
feel the need to. And I don’t think you should too unless you want to! It should always be choice over compulsion!