Ban on girls wearing jeans and T-shirts in the colleges to reduce eve-teasing cases in Uttar Pradesh
From the various news that we are getting from across the world, it seems what a person can or shall wear is also slowly acquiring social relevance and has spilled from the realm of a completely private matter to something that concerns everyone else. To quote only a few examples, the Talibans and many such retrograde organizations have been issuing fatwa and firman for long warning the women and girls not wear all kinds of "western" dresses as also to strictly comply with the Purdah as prescribed by the rules of Shariat and other Islamic conventions. Going to the other extreme we have France where initially the government had banned the Sikhs from wearing turbans because they do not want any person to present a distinct look which they feel acts like a hindrance to the making of a homogenous society. Extending it further, Sarkozi, their flamboyant President has only recently not only banned the women from wearing Purdah in public but has also come out in the open, with harsh words which condemn the system of purdah as being an unwanted and unwarranted burden imposed on the Muslim women, which is acting as a hindrance to their path of equality. Not to be left out, the Uttar Pradesh Principal's Council came with a diktat that tried to put a ban on girls wearing jeans and T-shirts etc in the colleges.
The reason cited was that such a dress acted as a factor that increased the possibilities of girls being molested or ill treated. The order was promptly overruled by the State government to ward-off an unsavoury embarrassment. Thus we find all kinds of dress-codes and dress related diktats coming up in all kinds of societies and this tendency seems to have increased in the recent times. The question is- "Are such dress-codes warranted?" Isn't it that imposing any kind of dress related limitation is something that should strictly be avoided save in such places which necessitate some kind of uniform for their job requirements. I mean, a woman in sarees or burqas can't work as a air-pilot nor can she work in a security-related Commando force. But save in such conditions, whenever any kind of dress-code is imposed, its only effect is that of stifling and congesting the normal pace of societal life. It acts as a restraining agent to the proper prospering of society and gives arbitrary and undeserving authority to a few people to act as moral-police. This is certainly bad for society, whether it is done in the way the Talibani have been imposing or even the way Sarkozi has promulgated.
If a Muslim woman feels that she should wear burqa, I don't think the State should come in its way to define and interfere in a matter that is purely religious in nature. Much worse is the way the Talibanis, the hardliners, the Al-Quada people and all such other backward looking organizations have been pronouncing and implementing all sorts of abhorrent and abominable dress codes on hapless girls and women. One interesting similarity in most of the cases is that such restrictions are being imposed on the women folk only. While the men are hardly being touched (except may be the Sikh vase in France), all these organizations never give any opportunity to come up with more and more restrictions on the women folk. Is this proper? Isn't it a clear sign of gender bias and the hiatus between the positions occupied by a man and a woman in our society? It is high time such tendencies were given up. in all circumstances and people be made free to wear a dress of their choice.
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