k i s k a J i s m / w h o s e b o d y?

Post-Script: What I was wearing.
February 25, 2007, 10:11 am
Filed under: Behaviour, clothing, Context, modesty, Screen Sifar

On the eve of the incident which I cite as harassment, I was wearing a loose cut skirt, a full sleeved top and a head scarf which clearly makes me out as Muslim.

a. I must have looked nice. I must have come across as feminine. I must have existed. I must have flown across his imagination.But that is no reason to mark someone out for sexual consumption.

b. Wearing a head-Scarf makes you a target for all kinds of sexual violence.

In the city I live in, Vadodara, Gujarat, I find that Muslim women are meted out a treatment that subordinates us to a status lower than other (Hindu, Dalit or Christian , not to simplify any of the categories) women. Because coming across as a Muslim you are seen as oppressed, economically backward, uneducated and an easy prey for harassment. We are discriminated against everywhere.

The history of treatment of Muslim women in Gujarat after the 2002 state led ‘riot’ goes to say that we are not looked at as human beings, leave alone citizens.

During the genocide Muslim women’s bodies bore the brunt of untold, heinous crimes. Muslim women have been the prey of grave misconceptions, and of agonizingly bloated and damaging perceptions of disempowerment and lack of agency (it has to be said: How can Musim women here be anything but disempowered because of the way in which they’ve been constantly targetted?).

Anything you do as Muslim and woman becomes magnified several times in the eyes of an onlooker.

If mainstream non-domestic or public space in Gujarat is hostile to women, and it is so because of extreme conservative and masculinist religious attitudes, for Muslim women it is doubly so.

None of this, however gives me reason to take off my head-scarf.I dont think the anwers are within or without clothing. I don’t veil for other people but because I feel like. And I will veil for as long as and in as many ways and anywhere and in front of whoever I feel the need to.

Like everyone else I excercise the right to be who and what I want .