A Muslim woman may be strong in her personal life, shrouded behind a veil we call the “burqa”, but she makes almost no push for empowerment in her oppressive public life. Controlled and bounded as she is by the Islamic society and her husband, she presents a demeanor lacking any courage. Most of the time, she does not speak a single word challenging her ordeal. The prominent reason behind her silence is, we believe, her fear.
The fear of being thrown out of the house and the fear of being ill-treated.
Thousands of burqa-clad women gathered to protest against the triple talaq legislation. Triple Talaq, a form of instant divorce, is a type of Islamic divorce which is used by Muslim men in India. It allows a Muslim man to legally divorce his wife by uttering ‘talaq’ three times.
It happens over internet, social media and even on instant messaging applications. Women have no say in their own life.
In the triple talaq practice, men don’t need to give any reason for the divorce and the wife’s presence is not mandatory at the time of the announcement. This shows their plight and reflects their oppressive life. Islam dictates that a Muslim man has the liberty to divorce and remarry the same woman twice. However, if he decides to dissolve the marriage for the third time, he can only remarry the same woman if she first marries another man, consummates the marriage, and only if the man dies or willingly asks for divorce, can the woman go back to her first husband and remarry him.
I question such a practice. This does nothing to maintain a healthy relationship between husband and wife.
A woman is forced to be the obedient daughter of her parents, the loyal and uncomplaining wife or the 'religious minded' aunt - these are the overwhelming images of a women that have dotted the silver screen for a major part of the Indian cinema's history.
Things may have certainly changed. In recent years, on screen portrayals of a women are more realistic, however the compulsions of catering to a large audience has prevented filmmakers from unveiling the real dreams and desires of a women on the silver screen to a large extent.
'Lipstick under my burkha', however, dares to go where not many films have ventured.
The film takes us on an interesting journey to explore the secret, but unfulfilled dreams and desires of a women in our society, be it the sales girl Shireen, who longs to get out of her passionless relationship or a beautician looking to elope with her boyfriend against the wishes of her parents.
Every person has the right to express his or her feelings and desires. Be it a sexual desire or simply a desire to look attractive.
Similarly, in order to be considered a “nice girl,” women are more likely to understate the number of people they had a relationship with, whereas men typically boast and exaggerate their sexual history. Indeed, embedded in our culture and language are opposing attitudes to women and men who have had sexual relationships with many people. Thus, while the term “slut” is defined as “an insulting word for a woman whose sexual behavior is considered immoral,” the corresponding male term “stud” is defined as “a man who is admired for being sexually attractive.
It has been found that even their clothing pattern reflects oppression. It is the way society has shaped women. They are socialized to be suppressed. Some women wear burka because they strongly believe it is their religious obligation.
People, male and female, should be able to wear whatever they like whenever they like. Dress should not bar Muslim women from exercising their Islam-guaranteed rights, like the right to be educated, to earn a living and to move about safely in society. Unfortunately, some governments impose a strict dress code along with other restrictions, like limiting education for women, to appear "authentically Islamic."
The only result would be suppression. While laws on rape, dowry and adultery have women's safety at heart, these highly discriminatory practices are still taking place at an alarming rate, affecting the lives of many today. This shows that despite of the strictness it is the socialization process which has crested inequality.
The way Muslims and Islam are presented in the mainstream is rife with stereotypes – it involves portrayals of Muslim women, often presented as passive victims of male power, who are simply unaware of their own oppression. Sadly, while Muslim women are at the frontline of the public disadvantage and abuse, they remain in the background of the political responses.
Men and Women should have the same rights, as we are made equal. Religious practices and laws need to change according to the time. Our society should understand the importance of women equality. We are suppressing half of India’s population from taking an active part in the progress of the country. This has to be stopped and change needs to bring in the society.They have to make sure that all of their actions are according biblical standards in the face of pressure from the contemporary culture.
Given the opportunity, Muslim women, like women elsewhere, will become educated, pursue careers, strive to do what is best for their families and contribute positively according to their abilities.
By: Diya Chawla