By Adeena Jamal:
I am a Muslim girl. I am a 20-year-old girl who has tried to break through the several stereotypes a Muslim girl is chained down to. I do not wear a burkha. I am friends with men. I update myself at several instances on Facebook in a day. I wear clothes that going by the conventions set for me, would be extremely revealing. I go partying. And yet I do not think I am a sinner. Maybe I am a sinner in the eyes of several orthodox Muslims, who claim to be an authority in this religion but just because I have the ability to voice my own opinions does not mean I am an outcast.
I have come across several young Muslims girls bearing the brunt of coming from an orthodox family, have limited education and are married off against their will at a very young age. Just because they are denied to speak doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice.
Muslims are the largest minority group in India. According to the 1991 census, 65% live below the poverty line. The literacy rate is 18 %. Few young Muslim men and women reach college, leave alone post graduation. Out of the few lucky ones, fewer are women, who probably have to take some step or another to reach the stage of college. Apart from the inability to pay the tuition fees, several Muslim women have the inability to reach to this level of education with the boundaries imposed on them.
Have you ever heard of a Muslim guy being whipped on the streets of Afghanistan for inadequate dressing or probably showing a bit of ankle? Sadly, no. However, one cannot miss onto the several burkha clad women across the globe. Giving due respect to their religious bent of mind, is it really required for you to wear a burkha? Is it necessary to impose a burkha on a girl who is just about to hit puberty? No. A little girl of 12 can surely be allowed to play around in a skirt and not a salwar kurta.
My implication here to write up is just to make one understand that one has seen such discrimination over the years, but nothing has been done. Sati has been abolished, so has untouchability. But what about this little aspect that young Muslim girls have to face. A little girl’s mental make-up is degraded over the years and after the entire hullabaloo, nothing has been done.