Saturday, July 31, 2010

To burqa or not to burqa ...

We are once again struck with controversy about the flying bellows of an absolute odious garment - the burqa. To me it's an issue of what exactly do the men like about it and more so what possibly could the women love about it - if they do? And if the women want to wear the burqa, why do they even bother to shop around in some very fashionable boutiques for some fine, sexy, skimpy lingerie, and more. Gloom and doom should be full while it lasts. If everything has to be covered up in such a severe manner then maybe even a bag or a sack cloth cut to size would serve the purpose. Anything or nothing worn under those burqas would ever make a dent in its existence. Surprisingly vote and support for the burqa is very much present and I don't understand why. Perhaps I will never comprehend this conundrum. Some women say they feel liberated. Others say they feel safe. The only thing I say is that burqa clad women look boring, caged, and pathetic. If they have a form that looks radiant then that form needs to be taken out from under the black pall. What's the point of placing big black sheets on humans unless they are dead? Somehow in our topsy turvy world, even transvestites who love everything about women have firmly rejected donning the burqa. But just in case they would have tried the burqa, they would've had the time of their life confusing the male species. Eyes peeking through the chador would have said come hither while the lifting of the veil would've suggested to the seeker to run thither. It can be a very trying time for the interested men to figure out the essence of beauty through those kohl layered eyes and loads of layers of black - if they can be seen at all. Nonetheless, under the burqa anything goes,  just as well anything can go under the burqa - perhaps one instance of perfect equality in an insane world. 

Just the other day a thought occurred; what if one used some aerodynamic technique inside the burqa, perhaps it could take to flying and take the women along, much to the disconcert of the males. It would be quite a sight to see big black things flying around minus broomsticks of course. NASA steering away from its space exploration program and with its new policy of fostering peace around the world, would be delighted to study the celestial phenomenon and its connection with fundamentalism and radicalism. The flying burqa squads would however be lost forever and what would happen to the men? Who would cook? Who would clean? Who would have their brood? Who would pick up after their shit? Well for the latter part, I could offer a suggestion which would be to develop some form of arthritis by the women, which would make it near impossible to bend and pick. The women with arthritis would truly be at par with men - whatever fell to the floor would lie there and rot its heart out or they could just kick it to the side, really just to get it out of the way for the time being. Perhaps the women could use the power of their burqas to sweep everything off - good and bad, under the guise of 'merely walking around minding my own business'. Somehow the thought of turning the burqa into a lethal weapon of destruction never occurred to the burqa clad women. Some silly men tried it but got so hot that they decided - to hell with the suicide mission, they needed to get out of the damn thing as quickly as possible. But before the suicide mission even got into effect, the burqa clad men also got some unsavory attention from their brothers something to the tune of heaven on earth and worth dying for, when the bomber had been promised otherwise. During such a time, the innovative idea of a double burqa for double protection must have taken place in the brain of the suicide bomber. That patent will forever remain in the pending stage considering when that poor sod may or may not be released from those cells specially designed for bumbling terrorists.

Dance of Shiva by Joyce Singha-Ghosh
Coming back to the strange commotion this chador has created around the world, the question to ask is, who is really getting affected by it. From all reports and historical data so far, it's clear that it's only some men, in some corners of the world, that have been actually infected by the chador virus. No immunization against this virus has been effective so far. This is also one design that has stayed constant and thus defied the fashion world. For its size - the burqa does appear and disappear at times. Women who love it around their men, suddenly discard it as soon as they are on their own. It's perhaps this inconstancy that has created this ruckus. Some say it's a religious duty others say it's a womanly thing to do; still others drag God into it as if God didn't have enough to do or not do. Perhaps they think the Almighty is lowly enough to create a stink about whether people wore clothes or not and especially something like the abominable burqa which is completely shapeless, formless and tasteless - even for God. Despite these misgivings, I still give full marks to the remarkable oeuvre of the Creator including Darwin and his theories. There is absolutely nothing in creation which comes close to resembling an object as drab as a burqa. The burqa comes with a little slit for the eyes, which is free of course. The slit actually defeats the purpose of total control by the concerned men because it allows the burqa clad women to see. If it was supposed to be a complete cover, then the men who thought of it made some gross errors. But I always thought men were a flawed lot. There is however plenty of time to rectify. They can still give up on this useless invention but then it's also hard to give up on centuries honed skills of shelling out complete bull crap. The burqa thankfully hasn't killed the women, only driven them underground where sure enough they are quietly plotting and scheming to transfer the rights of ownership of the burqa elsewhere, some time, hopefully, in this century.

Half measures never worked. In fact, a paradigm shift is required here. Sweeping changes have to be made for the burqa set up. It should be made mandatory inside and outside the home. No slits or nets should be allowed. As the vision would be severely disrupted, all work inside and outside would have to be performed by the seeing - which is the men. Consequently, burqa women will need to be carried around as the sack like outfit would make it impossible for them to do anything except hobble and shuffle. Eyes would become a fallacy for both the seen and the seeing. If men insisted on looking and imagining, they would have to develop the electro magnetic radiation energy. Perhaps in keeping with the declining economy, women of the same family or even neighborhood could be brought under one burqa just like global economy.  Most of all, as it's the men who seem to be so fond of the burqa, they should make it absolutely essential and compulsory for themselves it. If I were sure of anything in life, it would have to be the day men wore the burqa; that day would be the beginning of the end of the burqa controversy. Nary a speedier outcome could be imagined. Not only would the men outlaw the burqa, they would change the entire history of it ever having existed at all in any age whatsoever. God forbid, if He or religion ever hinted at the burqa, the men would get rid of them both faster than they would do the burqa. Another change I would like if the burqa still survived and the love for it stayed strong - is to see the burqa loving men go battle in this garment. With the new army uniform of burqas in place, I wonder if the enemy will smile at the sight of the bumbling and fumbling burqa clad men. Perhaps like in old times, the enemy would take time off to watch the fools at play, have their shots of whiskey or rum at pleasure somewhere right around the vicinity of the burqas. Now that would be fun and wars could be won through bloodless coups and battles. Peace would return once more. All this would occur over a cup of tea and a burqa.


  1. The Burqah, Veil, Purdah system were invented to keep the woman safe from prying eyes, and the predatory advances of most males. But that was in the days of yore, belonging to an era gone by.
    In today’s day and age, when women are proving themselves equal to, if not better than, any man, to be forced to be covered from head to toe is regressive. It’s an insult to the grace, beauty, intellect, and the very identity of women. And they can do away with it if they so choose. But after the recent debate on this issue when France banned this offensive garment, and the furore that ensued, one realizes that unfortunately, it’s the women who are largely to be blamed today. They vehemently protest that they wear it out of choice. Why one would imprison oneself into a lifetime of enslavement,debasement and discomfort, fails to convince. Not today, when there is ample support for the cause. Most of them don’t want to be emancipated, preferring to be incarcerated.
    And the Men have a wonderful time, glorying in the acquiescence of the women.
    Another well written piece..Keep them coming.
    love, Chhabi.

  2. Urmila Samson: Don't know much about this issue, and have had only one discussion with a friend (Candadian male) and a casual chat with another friend (burqa clad) that has thrown my thoughts on the matter into complete confusion.
    Your peice has clever humour, throws light on various angles of the issue and made very enjoyable reading.

  3. Neera Pant: Thought still re reading it ..will surely have more to say soon..extremely well written though with the humour spilling out..

  4. Salim Kidwai: Joyce, I have some very critical views on this menace or blessing - depending on the way one looks at it. But...its not the Burqaa, the Chador,or the Abaayaa which matters...its the way it is enforced.
    I wrote to a guy once..propagating this for women..'wear it for one month for me'...and I will sentence my wife and daughter to it for 10 years....Since then he has deleted me from his contacts!!!!!!!!!

  5. Jim Decouto: This posting was quite public and had the potential to be inflamatory. Aritcles and comments that have the potential to bring about change with zero harm thats respectful with a simple message in my opinion has literary and intellectual value that appeals to all where by bringing about sustainable change.

  6. Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury: Good one Joyce...I would like to see some men adorn the Burkha for a change..Im more surprised at the women who give this intellectual bullshit about the Burkha being liberating..sigh

  7. Abha Chadha August 4 at 2:58pm
    I have met many women who choose to wear the burqa. Some female members of their family wear it while others do not. And some wear full burqa while others cover their head and body only. And some wear it sometimes but not all of the time. Based on their level of choice. Wearing the burqa is almost liked seeing the world through a one way mirror. They can see you but you cannot see them. Interesting thought.

    Really liked your piece.. very tongue in cheek regarding a very serious issue.

  8. Nora J A. Aug 21, 2010, 10:34am EDT (from
    Great article! Loved your sense of humor about a demeaning practice for women. Am glad that the French took the initiative and banned the darn things. From what I understand, the women have to wear the burka to keep men from sin.... HUH?

    I agree with you, "the day men wore the burqa; that day would be the beginning of the end of the burqa controversy" !

  9. Len Maxwell Aug 21, 2010, 5:37pm EDT (from
    This is extremely well-written and discusses a topic that many people (possibly too few women) consider.

    I would only caution you regarding the size of your paragraphs. It is very difficult for many people to read long paragraphs online. Most editors agree that paragraphs should be kept to under 150 words.