Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fashion nightmare

The general thumb-rule is whatever makes conservative rule makers unhappy is good for the society. Now under normal conditions I find the burqua offensive (especially when school kids in Std I are forced to wear it). However it seems the waves of modernity cant be stopped, and change when it comes from within (in small increments) is going to be much more durable and resistant to backlash. All this is ..a nice silver lining.



Muslim women in Aligarh are increasingly using the traditional burqa as a fashion statement, embellishing it with designer touches. Burqas inspired by English gowns or those with Chinese collars, are doing brisk business. So are the modern abayas from Dubai beautified by laces, pipings and pintex design.

These changes may be redefining the garment - observers say some two-piece burqas have the chutzpah of cholis and the flirty feel of frocks - but the makeover, expectedly, hasn't gone down well with the city's maulanas. "Women are precious in Islam and the purdah was introduced to protect them. The new style of wearing fitting burqas, and adding studs and stones to them attracts attention and emboldens rapists," says Mufti Shamun Qasmi, vice president, All India Imaam Council.

Shopkeepers in the city say that demand of the garments is high, despite what the orthodox voices may say. "Around 60% of my customers come looking for designer burqas," says Rehaan, a burqa-seller at the city's Amir Nisha market. "They are also viewed as a status symbol since many of the pieces feature intricate zarkan embroidery. Today, many women are working and they want to assert their empowerment through these designer abayas."

regards