India seems to have been gripped with a strange but unspoken competition going on within its boundaries. States, cities, organizations, individuals, just about everyone seems to be busy taking on everyone else in a battle of wits. The only catch being, in this battle of wits, everyone appears unarmed !
Just a few weeks back, the management of the famous Mahalaxmi Temple in Kolhapur (Maharashtra) decided to impose a dress-code for the women devotees visiting the temple. But before they could hog the media limelight, some alert ‘social activists’ from the city of Ranchi declared that females who preferred wearing jeans would be greeted with acid attacks. Though these well-meaning ‘social activists’ didn’t confirm that the acid would be that contained in their own skulls.
While just the other day, the professors of a college in Bareilly, denied entrance to female students into the college campus. Why ? Obviously… the girls were dressed in jeans and tops. (More here)
It appears to be a really sorry state for the Indian male. With the females being the center of attraction of all and sundry (right from Guwahati to Mangalore) the Indian male can just sulk in frustration. I mean, a girl who is covered up from head to toe, revealing no more than 15% of her skin gets more raised eyebrows than a poor guy standing topless on the road. Why ? Just because the girl is attired in western clothes on Indian land. So unfair !
According to the management committee of the Mahalaxmi Temple, “it was observed that majority of women visited the temple in western attire. It doesn't look decent and also distracts attention of male devotees.” (More here)
And all this while, I thought a temple was supposed to be for the worship of Gods and Goddesses and They should have been the ones examining the devotees. Not the members of some committee. And shouldn’t the male devotees be concentrating on their devotion to the Gods instead of the girl standing besides them ? Ahhh… but haven’t I always reveled in the bliss of my ignorance !
And strangely, the Mahalaxmi Temple is dedicated to Goddess ‘Shakti’, the goddess of power ! When asked if the temple committee plans similar rules for male devotees, committee members said that there was "no need for dress code for male devotees". Errrr… excuse me, but shouldn’t it be the male devotees who should be properly dressed while visiting a Goddess ?
The professors of the college in Bareilly claimed that “wearing jeans spoils the college environment.” Of course, the male students and the male professors (many of whom themselves were dressed in jeans) would be expecting any and every girl dressed in jeans to break into an ‘item song’ on the campus. Detrimental to the studies… I tell you !!!
Strangely, sometime back the professors of an ‘all-girls’ college in my own city were in the news as they banned jeans for its students. And there weren’t even any male students or professors in that college !
And all this while, the ignorant me thought that the issue was about the showing of skin. (exclusively related to females, obviously)
Though, of course, skin show is sacrilege. For a female, that is. A man wearing an ill-fitting t-shirt and shorts is welcome to fold his hands and pray in a temple (I’ve witnessed it many times myself), but not a girl who forgets to cover up her head. I was a bit confused when I saw the male priest of a famous temple performing the ‘aarti’ with just a ‘dhoti’ tied around his waist. The ‘Tissot’ watch on his wrist was obviously ‘western’. Though he didn’t have a baseball cap on his head. Or any other head-gear for that matter. If the dress/decency aspect is to be considered, then how, he was the most eligible person to be nearest to the Goddess was something my idle brain couldn’t comprehend.
So, jeans, shorts or skirts are western. And thus, are strictly forbidden. But why just for girls ? Ohh… boys don’t wear skirts. So, jeans and shorts are fine for boys. But I wonder why don’t boys test the waters by trying out skirts. Maybe that will be fine as well. But as long as one is a good, cultured Indian girl, jeans, shorts and skirts are forbidden. No wonder the young girls from the village ‘Asara’ collectively burnt a bonfire of jeans and other western dresses in favor of a 'directive' dress code by their elders recently. (More here)
When a Sunita Williams walks smartly dressed in a pair of jeans, she is ‘Bharat Ki Beti’.
When a Saina Nehwal wins an Olympic Bronze wearing a short skirt, she is ‘Bharat Ki Shaan’.
Ahhhhh….. where was I ???
Last week while blog-hopping, I stumbled on to a story of a young American girl who has been going around topless in New York State since 1992 to raise awareness that it's legal for a woman to be topless anywhere a guy can be without a shirt. According to her, she was harassed by middle-aged men while debating going topless with passersby (including one man who said topless women are "going against God's law"). So you see, God’s laws are not just a boon to India. They are fortunately available all around the world. But it is in India, that those ‘laws’ can be effectively put into practice (exclusively to females).
August 26th is ‘International Go Topless Day’. But our society believes in celebrating our ‘top-less-ness’ all the year round. Our top floors are ever so empty !
(Image courtesy : Google Images)