Recently there was a very interesting news report from Bijnor of Uttar Pradesh. State chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was to go to Rampur on 10 December to distribute cheques among girls under his government schemes “Kanya Vidyadhan Yojna” and “Hamari Beti Uska Kal”. On this occasion, the District Magistrate of Bijnor Sarika Mohan issued an order to the girls who were to receive cheques at the Rampur function, telling them to appear in simple and civilized dress, not in provocative and skinny dress; not to put on uncivilized dress like jeans, not even jewellery and black dress including burqua. Most of the girls and their parents protested against it. Muslim leaders also protested the ban on burqua; they even asked the girls to boycott the function. After these protests the lady magistrate withdrew her order saying that her order was taken wrongly and that she simply wanted the girls to appear in simple, sober and civilized dress (The Times of India, 11 December). However the function was organised. The chief minister and some senior leaders appeared in the function in black jackets.
The stand is weighty
The stand of the lady DM that her order was taken wrongly seems to be weighty. At least the modest and civilized families must have welcomed the purpose of her dress code that she wanted the girls to appear in modest and civilized dress. It was palpably evident with the order that this lady officer was fed up with the immodest dress, lifestyle and public behaviour of young girls. In this regard Muslim leaders must have welcomed her views. The real objection of these leaders was perhaps (rather definitely) to the ban on burqua. They should have contacted the lady DM to impress upon her to exclude burqua from her order as nothing can be more civilized and sober than burqua. Perhaps the lady DM included burqua in the list of banned dresses due only to its black colour; because in her opinion it was not proper to appear in black dress in this auspicious function. The first thing in this regard is that it is a superstition which does not behove an educated person. Then a burqua is available not only in black colour; it is there in other dark colours as well.
Even in Haryana
Whatever was the result of this move of the lady district magistrate of Bijnor, it does bring into light that many modest and farsighted people are worried about the character, lifestyle and likes and dislikes of the new generation. Just below that news report in the Times there is another report of the same nature (Delhi edition, page 18). Adarsh Mahila College, Bhiwani (Haryana) has banned the girl students’ putting on jeans and T-shirts. A fine of Rs one hundred will be charged on violation of this dress code. When the chairperson of National Commission for Women Mamta Sharma condemned it dubbing as absurd, the principal of the college Alka Sharma strongly defended the circular. She said: “There is no ban on jeans with long kurta but ban on jeans with T-shirt would remain in vogue.” This is good and healthy thinking. Every civilized citizen should hail it. Muslim circles must do it because this culture imported from the west is taking the new generation to destruction. The dictates of khap panchayats to punish boys and girls, taking law in their hands, are indeed condemnable. But most of the rulings of theirs to protect the new generation from waywardness are respectable.