Monday, February 18, 2019
The Veiling of Women-
-- Dr Nasir Khan
If this woman in the photo can still breathe and survive, then that shows the survival instinct in these women is very strong. However, what she goes through, like millions of other woman, is a result of the thousands of years of the old patriarchal system, of domination and control over women, of their bodies, minds and sexuality, by all possible means, including the help of patriarchal and partisan deities and patriarchal religions, that became the social norm which none dared to question or challenge.
Some cultures go even a step forward, and view such enslavement and oppression of women as their true protection and the safeguarding of their 'honour'. The people belonging to such cultures are profoundly earnest in their views.
Many things may appear so absurd to the people where there is gender equality and women are aware of their freedoms they have won after long political and social struggles. But the women in old patriarchal cultures live in a different world; their mindsets are tuned to different taboos and coercive codes. We need not laugh at these women and the practices they are subjected to, but rather try to locate them in their cultural settings and come forward with acceptable solutions to make changes within very conservative and tribal socialites.
It is obvious, there are no quick solutions, but a gradual awareness among men will help, who are conditioned by old customs and traditions and who think they have the proprietary rights over their women in the same way as they have such rights over their personal chattel. The empowerment of women by education and social awareness of their own condition is also important to break the fictitious aura of ‘honour and respectability’ erected around such a mode of harmful veiling.