I can already hear the protests about freedom of speech, narrow Muslim mindset, the burqa as enslavement. All true to a degree, but do not apply to Ms. Nasreen.
Interestingly, the newspapers mention the burning and the shooting, but do not tell us what exactly she wrote. One has to go run a search. She gives the sorry state and misery of women in purdah and mentions one hadis. She says, what some of us have said often enough, that men should also be asked to cover up before they force the women. Force being the important term.
I can lay a bet that even if Allah told the Prophet that men need to be covered (which is her beef), the male interpreters would not allow it.
Why is it that Ms. Nasreen does not comment on the number of Muslim women achievers or even those leading full lives who do not wear the veil? Why is it so important to concentrate only on one aspect? If she bothers to take a look around and sees beyond her nose she will find many such Muslim women, and I am talking about those who practise the faith.
The terrible incident happened 200 kms from Bangalore city. Imagine curfew in Shimoga and prohibitory orders in Hassan for this tripe. One person died in police firing. Why? I have friends there and they tell me that Karnataka is extremely parochial.
Let us not forget the Ram Sene was born there and is based there. Does Ms. Nasreen have an opinion about how they operate? Which Hindu scriptures talk against Valentine’s Day?
Does she have anything to say about Kolkata’s colleges that asked women to wear sarees and not the salwaar kameez? Does she have anything to say about women from certain upscale families who cover their heads and the men don’t? Does she have anything to say about young girls who are initiated into body-baring professions, often forced into them in this consumerist society? Does she have anything to say about burqa-clad women who have raised a voice against several patriarchal notions and the veil has not been a disadvantage to them?
And this is for those Muslims who went on a rampage. (Do these guys even look like Islamists or upholders of Islam?) Don’t you have any faith in your religion to let one voice seem like a threat to it? What are you worried about? It is fear that makes you behave in this kneejerk manner. If you believe that Allah’s decision is supreme and Allah is everywhere, then probably Allah made her write that article so that she gets a bit of visibility and shows up her shallowness.
I wish the believers behaved like believers and not goons. It is because they sometimes do that there is every likelihood of someone else taking advantage of the situation. All those who are injured and the two who died chose the wrong altar to be martyred at.
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Does this woman have an opinion about the kanyadaan where the father gives away his daughter?
If she is railing against how we must not accept the crap being dished out as religion or culture, then perhaps she’d like to comment on this report:
The Samagara Muslim Samaj (SMS) decided to hold a mass marriage ceremony for 34 couples with Hindus giving blessings akin to a ‘kanyadaan’ for brides. But the wedding was minus biryani. As a mark of respect to the 200 Hindu guests at the wedding, the Muslims decided that the menu would be vegetarian. Collectively, the guests gave Rs 1 lakh cash and other gifts in kind.
This was on Eid-e-Milad, which also happened to be the anniversary of Godhra. It might be seen as a secular exercise, but there is no concept of bidaai and kanyadaan in Islam. It is another matter she goes from one male stronghold into another, as do women across the board. But, in technical terms, there is no giving away, just as her qubool (consent) is absolutely essential. Of course, as Hindi films have shown, someone pushes her head and an ‘ouch’ is seen as a yes.
I’d love to read an article by Taslima Nasreen about this custom where the parent (the father) does daan (gift, but more literally donation) of his kanya (daughter). I recall being upset when director Aparna Sen, an independent thinking woman, performed the kanyadaan for her daughter. She thought it was a great step for a woman to take over the man’s role in a religious ceremony, forgetting that the very idea of this gifting away is a bit regressive.
The Sens and Nasreens will mollycoddle each other. And the silent majority, and that includes the not-so-silent me, will neither wear a burqa or believe in kanyadaan.
The good thing is that despite it, no one starts burning vehicles when we say anything or dies because of us. And we do not quote any holy book to confirm or deny our position. We say it because we can stand alone.
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Taslima and her technicolor boat shows that the lady is an old hand at some things.