Freedom under my Burqa
by Meghna Kharat
(Lonand, Maharastra, India)
Winters are favorite of so many of us. One reason why I love winter, is because, it is during this time of the year, when I don't have to worry about what clothes to put on every other day. It is the sweatshirt that comes to the rescue of so many women like me. We can literally wear the same shirt for 3 days & put on a sweatshirt over it without anyone being suspicious.
A year ago during my UGC NET exam, I met a muslim girl. I was told to take off my sweatshirt at the entrance and she was told to take off her hijab. She was allowed to carry her scarf inside the exam hall, and I was told to keep my sweatshirt out. Having entered inside 40 minutes early we got to know each other. She said her parents didn’t want her to wear a hijab or a burqa. But then she was so fed up of everyday having to choose a dress to go to the college, that she told her father ,"Mujhe Burqa la do." Hearing her story was when I realised how much we have prejudiced Burqa. It has so much become the symbol of restriction and conservatism. Often few voices are raised in favour of burqa claiming freedom of choice. In those times I used to think -Who would personally chose Burqa and stay imprisoned?
But I was totally wrong. Yes Burqa may sometimes mean restrictions, but it can also mean freedom for some. Freedom to wear what one is comfortable in; freedom of choice. It is important that we keep our black glasses aside, and look through the shades of grey.***