Stories about burqa

The Breadwinner: A story unafraid of uncomfortable truths

The women and children of Afghanistan have perhaps paid the price of war most heavily. The ongoing conflict leaves nearly half of the children in Afghanistan out of school, while 87% of women in Afghanistan experience physical, sexual or psychological violence during their lifetime. It is against this backdrop of war and devastation that we find the heartfelt film, The Breadwinner. Based on the book of the same name by Deborah Ellis and produced by Angelina Jolie, the film follows the story of 11-year-old Parvana (Saara Chaudry), who navigates her life disguised as a boy, and attempts to survive ...

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Does Sonam Kapoor’s name change make her any less of a feminist?

I have often wondered about what feminism means to me, and there are still a lot of cobwebs in my mind that need to be cleared. However, the recent controversy surrounding Sonam Kapoor’s name change post marriage got me thinking again, as after she was criticised for taking her husband’s name despite being a vocal feminist, she justified the move by saying no one “told” her to do it; it was her own decision. Photo: Screenshot I for one have always been amazed that people cannot recognise the inherent patriarchy behind the practice of children being given their father’s ...

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Army of One is so ridiculously offensive that it’s funny

When I saw the trailer on YouTube a month ago, I pitied Nicholas Cage; this man has not done a good movie in a long time and nowadays we only get to see him in memes and comics on 9GAG. So, thinking of good old movies (like Face/Off, Con Air and Leaving Las Vegas) has helped retain his credibility in my mind while watching any more of his stupid movies. Nonetheless, I watched it because I had nothing better to do at the time yesterday. So let’s come straight to the movie. The movie is more emotional and humorous than political. It covers the life of an ...

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France had every right to ban the burkini – Their country, their rules

Women and their clothing have long been a matter of contention in society. Men have always regarded the female body as a symbol of social honour and have sought to control the way women dress and the way they carry themselves. In the modern era, it is only in the last half century or so that women have really been able to get some measure of control over their own choices, and that too only in some parts of the world. In most societies, the patriarchal order still dominates. It has been a long and hard fought struggle for women to break free from the patriarchal stranglehold ...

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Killing patriarchy, one headscarf at a time

Every once in a while, I come across news that fills me with hope that patriarchy will indeed perish someday, and that all is not lost in vain. And the news about Iranian men donning hijabs, in solidarity with their wives was one of those rare moments. For the past few days, several men have been posting pictures of themselves wearing the hijab – and some even wearing the full burqa – to not only show solidarity with their wives, who have been forced to cover up in accordance with the strict ‘modesty’ rules of the country, but also to protest ...

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The perfect world for CII members would be one without women

I do not know under whose leadership the body of persons known as the Council of Islamic Ideology was formed. A few days back it recommended the banning of paper money and reversion to coins, as was the practice in the 7th century. I wonder why they didn’t ask the government to ban cars and trucks, and ask for donkey and camel carts to be used for transportation instead. Or that all high rise buildings should be demolished and replaced with huts and hovels! But their recent proposals to “protect” our women prove that these worthies are obsessed with women. ...

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More power to the women and less to the dupatta

Recently, I came across an article that seemed to propagate the indispensable role of ‘dupattas’ in our ‘cultural dress code’. I was amused by the fact that the article, which stressed on preserving Pakistani culture, began with an Indian song featured in the movie Barsaat, which was released in 1949. If I’m not mistaken, it was sung by the famous Lata Mangeshkar. So much for celebrating our own culture. What was most appalling about the article was the fact that it was propagating the idea that men stare, ogle, and gawk at women because they do not cover themselves up with dupattas. It quoted ...

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Being groped, harassed and video-taped on Independence Day

For anyone who has an ounce of respect for other beings, the 39-second video, which has gone viral in Pakistan, is difficult to watch.  In the said video, while on a crowded street at night, a vile young man drabbed in Pakistani national colours, evidently celebrating August 14th, sexually harasses a burqa clad woman. As his friend watches with a devilish grin wide enough to let an airplane in, he attacks a lady sitting on a bike by grabbing her from behind, gyrating against her, and then continuing the abuse for a several more uncomfortable seconds. I am not sure how this video found ...

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“If you want to teach here, you have to wear a burqa”

“You just have to wear a burqa inside the school; you are free to take it off when you leave the school premises,”said the principal of a Karachi-based school while interviewing a candidate. “It’s just a garment,” thought the candidate, and a garment that was helping her get a higher salary than all the other schools. So she signed the teaching contract and took the burqa home with her. All day at home, that burqa in her bag haunted her. How could she don something all day that represented something she hadn’t fully accepted in her heart? Wasn’t she lying to impressionable children? Wasn’t it hypocritical of her ...

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5 things I learnt after moving to Pakistan

When I made the decision to move to the notorious land called Pakistan, because of my husband’s job, there were mixed reactions from the community (to say the least). My non-Pakistani and non-Muslim friends were terrified for my safety and were keen on reminding me of the short list of communities; their concerns involved my husband’s salary, the tough humidity, and the eternal inconvenience of load-shedding.  Ignoring all concerns, I decided to take on the adventure and assured my friends that I was happy and ready for anything. Boy did I lie. I was terrified – but very much in love. I had ...

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