The image that comes to mind when we think of the veil is that of a Muslim woman in a burqua, whereas, the practice of veiling or 'purdah' (literally curtain) as it is known in South Asia, is not limited to any one religion.
It is not simply a sartorial practise but behind the practise lies centuries of gendered discrimination that aims to limit women's mobility, confine them within the family and control their sexuality. The logic of embodied 'honour' and shame' through practicing veiling is so internalised by some women that they do not see it as a choice.
Structures of oppression are internalised, so much so that one woman says that she will enforce this on her daughter-in-law. The irony here is that while women are the most oppressed by patriarchy, the burden of enforcing its norms is also placed upon them. While both the women underscore that the veil is a compulsion, not a free choice. And yet they cannot question this lack of choice or embrace the practice wholly. One of the respondents says that she has suffered physical injury because of the practice of covering her face. This is how patriarchy manifests itself in the normalisation of a practice that is essentially violent in it's intent of severely limiting women and their access to the world outside.
COMMUNITY CORRESPONDENT BABITA MAURYA FROM UTTAR PRADESH REPORTS FOR VIDEO VOLUNTEERS. THIS SERIES DOCUMENTING EVERYDAY PATRIARCHY IS SUPPORTED BY UNFPA
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