Home > Culture, life, Philosophy, Religion, The World > The kilt, the burqa and the paranoia.

The kilt, the burqa and the paranoia.

This has got nothing to do with any Sergio Leno movie.

THE KILT : The Kilt was invented back in the early 18th century by an Englishman(yes my dear Scots, the kilt was invented by an Englishman :P) so as to offer a pocket friendly way for poorer Scotsmen, who could not afford pants to wear as bottoms. These kilts became an instant hit, and everyone started fashioning them. Somewhere around the midpoint of the century, the British Parliament all of a sudden decided to ban the kilt. It wouldn’t take much imagination to come up with an answer to the question as to why one would want to ban the kilt. But thats not it. The British Parliament had no objections to it being silly or the like, but they felt that this gave Scots their own way to dress, and form their own unique identity. This was according to the Englishmen in the Parliament of rebellious nature. Now, the kilt has become one of the most popular things one would associate Scotland with (probably in competition with the bagpipers and the Lochness monster) But who would have imagined that, it was once illegal to wear the kilt, in the country where it is currently the national dress.

THE BURQA: Around 260 years after the ban on the kilt was enforced, a ban on the burqa is being considerd. First Belgium, then France, now Britain. In fact, demands to ban the Burqa have found even more enthusiasm, with the French on their way to outlaw the clothing item. This is six years after they banned Sikh school students from wearing a turban to school. As people globally debate is it Just to ban the burqa, Islamic people in France have expressed their disappointment over the vote in one of the most Liberal countries of the world. When the government of a country starts fondling and issues diktats on the way one should dress, you know things must be surely messed up. When I founded out, that every neutral was divided on this issue, I was in for some relief, as I have been able to take my stand on this issue.

THE PARANOIA: On one hand, one would say, that it is the right of every individual to wear what ever one wishes to. However, this move can also be taken as a move to remove the uncomfortable elements that creep up in one’s minds around a burqa clad woman, especially in Europe. Even in India, one can quite clearly see men steering away from women dressed in burqas, which is very upsetting. Many of us might claim to be against religious intolerance, but very sadly, the fact remains that even in the minds of the most enlightened people of today, in this age of fear, it is not very uncommon to be unsettled by the slightest of displays of religious identities. Sadly we have to face the facts, one religion has been stereotyped to be ill-wishers of all except themselves. The identity of one religion has been maligned to such an extent, that some of us start fearing for our lives when we are nearby people of that religion. They are being separated out of the society, and a sense of insecurity is creeping in them. I feel very sad for my fellow men out there who have to face such hardships everyday. I seriously wish we could accept people of other religions, especially Muslims(if throwing the religion quotient out of the window seems irrational), I wish we could all live as one.

  1. July 15, 2010 at 05:25

    The situation with the Burqa is a little more complex, and its difficult to make analogies with the kilt or other garments worn as dictated by a religion. Like the kilt, the Burqa is not proscribed by religion, it is do with cultural practices going back centuries in parts of the middle east. More importantly, unlike the kilt, it is not always worn because the person actively chooses to wear it. Many women wear Burqas because they are directly forced to by their husbands, or indirectly because of pressure from their community.

    I was in Cairo a year ago and every young woman on the street was wearing a head scarf – a complete departure from 20 years ago when Egyptian women (and Afghans earlier) wore very hip and sometimes provocative western dress. What was particularly interesting that while a lot of them had all skin covered they were still wearing very sexy tight fitted tops and jeans / leggings. Not only that but a lot of them were openly walking late at night with their boyfriends. The whole idea under islam to cover the hair is for modesty and to prevent creating sexual thoughts in men. These girls were not any less attractive or sexy with their headscarves, quite the opposite. My conclusion was that these girls wore the headscarf because society dictated it (not because they independently chose to) and they wanted an easy life. When you spotted the odd woman without a headscarf she really stood out, sometimes eliciting stares from scarf wearers. I was told they were generally Coptics (christian)

    My view is that people should be free to wear what they want, no matter how strange it might seem to another person. The criteria should be that the person has genuinely chosen to wear it of their own free will.

    By the way, France maybe considered liberal by some definitions of the word but they are one of the most racist people in Europe!

    • Anurag Yelkur
      July 22, 2010 at 18:32

      Well thanks for explaining the situation with such detail. I guess personal experience counts over reading stuff off the internet and newspapers.

      Yes, free will is the important term there, but in a country like France, where only a select minority wears the veil, and is in fact creating a paranoia among the majority non-Muslim population, such a step might seem just to those suffering from the paranoia.

  2. fahad
    July 15, 2010 at 17:00

    a beautiful take on da “paranoid” surrounding all of us today in ths beautiful world of ours.Frankly it was shocking to see da reaction like this from 1 of the most liberal countries.honestly the world today has become so divided that dressing modestly is also seen as a means of international terrorism….

    • Anurag Yelkur
      July 22, 2010 at 18:32

      Well, they did have their reasons.

  3. July 22, 2010 at 12:42

    Kilt was invented in 18th century ? I thought it was much older than that.

    • Anurag Yelkur
      July 22, 2010 at 18:34

      Well, even I thought so, but a little bit of research on the internet showed me something else. The roots lie somewhere in the nineties of the 17th century, but it became quite popular during the 18th.

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