Why I Oppose The Ban On The Veil

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During my graduate days at Stonybrook, once it happened that I opened the door to find a kindly- looking elderly gentleman in a nice suit standing outside. Since no one came to sell anything to poor desi graduate students, I was a bit surprised. Soon however his intent became clear—–somehow he had come to know that there was a bunch of heathens living in this corner of Long Island and he had taken upon himself to show us the way of Christ.I respectfully told him that I was not interested in what he was selling and was about to close the door when, with the smile stuck on his face like a Halloween mask, he said in a voice whose edge was unmistakable —-“Son, you don’t know it but you are going  straight to Hell”.  Fortunate enough to have had a comeback materialize instantly on the tip of my tongue, I barked  “Good then I will see you there”, banged the door on his face and called the cops (since soliciting was prohibited on campus).

As an agnostic who does not believe in organized religion, I have always been uncomfortable with overtly-religious people. There would not be a problem as long as they kept their beliefs to themselves but more often than not, that simply does not happen. Soon they try to spread their “love”  through overt acts of persuasion of the kind I experienced in Stonybrook or of the type Zakir Naik engages in. This typically consists of a two pronged strategy of endorsing their own product and concurrently disparaging their rivals. This kind of belief-pushing irritates me but I take it in the same vein that I take a Coke vs Pepsi or a Verizon vs AT&T knock-down copy and avoid these harvesters of the afterlife as I would an Amway salesman.

However the crisis starts when the people who define themselves by their religion, through threats and through acts of violence, start impinging on my basic rights of expression. Draw a picture and get your head cut off. Be disrespectful and you lose your hand.  Be prepared to be physically assaulted or have your exhibition vandalized if you be deemed offensive. As if such extra-constitutional  intimidation was not enough, there is also the government of India which, through the force of law, does its best to inhibit expressions of free opinion, be it a Satanic Verses or a book on Shivaji. The logic is simple: they are to be banned because they hurt “religious sentiments”.

I always thought that in a democracy, free speech needs to be guarded especially when it hurts someone’s sentiments; for benign statements that draw no blood, what is the need for the protection by the state? Evidently I was wrong.

On the same principle though, I am opposed to the French ban on the veil as I see it as an impingement by a secular progressive society on the right of an individual, in this case someone who is overtly religious, to express herself as she deems fit. The official reason for the ban is that the burkha is a symbol of female enslavement and that it has no place in civilized society. While I recognize the need for the state to intervene where freedom of practice goes against the most basic human rights, like the right to live (honor killings, widow burning) or the right to education, the issue of the veil is slightly different in that many people who wear it do so out of their own free will (as evidenced here). While the state should interfere if people are forced to cover themselves up, it has no right to prevent citizens from making what are essentially voluntary sartorial choices, specifically those that impact only the person making that choice and which lead to no deprivation for anyone, except again the person making the choice.

The retort to this is usually “Aha Muslim women have been conditioned by their religion to welcome their enslavement. So when they say they actually want to wear a veil, they really do not. Or should not.”Once we accept this as valid,  we have started walking the slippery slope of majoritarianism wherein what the majority believes to be right, is sought to be imposed on a minority with control being exercised even on actions that are so intensely personal (like what people wear) that they really should not concern anyone else, far less the state.

Personally I do not understand why Muslim women would want to cover their faces up and found most of the reasons given here unconvincing. Veils, like any overt display of religiosity, makes me greatly uncomfortable. However I have no right to forcibly prevent someone from doing something that makes me uncomfortable—be it preaching, be it selling Coke between deliveries, or be it covering their face with a piece of cloth. I can protest it, I can call it retrograde and medieval but I have no moral right to stop it, either through might or through law.

If I started feeling that I had the right to impose my mistrust of all the manifestations of organized religion on others, I would be indistinguishable from religious conservatives who use this “We know better and you are offending my notion of right and wrong” stance to attack couples on Valentine’s Day or in front of a pub, thus preventing them from exercising their basic freedoms. In the case of the French ban on the veil, the fact that it is not a frenzied mob or a loony theocracy but a secular government, which is engaging in personal freedom-inhibiting behavior using secularism-feminism as its rationale, should not make it more acceptable.

Now of course the real reason why Sarkozy’s action is so popular in France and has gained such wide acceptance in Europe (considered to be more liberal than the US where paradoxically public opinion is against the French action)  has nothing to do with concern about the freedom or lack thereof of Muslim women. The burkha is seen by many as a symbol of Islamic assertiveness, a symbol that Muslims do not seek to assimilate into European culture but instead want to make European culture Islamic, in roughly the same way that chhat puja is seen by many in Maharashtra as an expression of North Indian pride and of their intent to not be assimilated into Marathi culture.

Without going into whether this burkha-phobia is a valid fear or whether the government can really do anything about that, one has to accept that banning the garment is a knee-jerk reaction to Islamic influence, one that serves exactly the opposite purpose for which it is intended. It gives the radicals a genuine grievance to promote the miasma of Islamic “victimhood” , lends credence to the “Islam is under threat” slogan, pushes even moderates to the extremes of religious isolation and shows that sometimes even secularism can be as dogmatic and stifling as ultra-religious regimes on matters of personal choice and acceptance.

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215 thoughts on “Why I Oppose The Ban On The Veil

  1. For a change a pro Muslim piece from you. 🙂 I quite agree that freedom of expression- as long as it is not resulting in any sort harm to others- should not be curtailed.

  2. Arnab

    Your last paragraph is indeed very correct- and I think that is a good rationale to what your statement is . The only thing that makes me oppose or think on the other side, is something that a friend from Lebanon told me many years back- that in his family, girls (irrespective of their will) would always have to wear the burkha, and the only way they could be out of it – is if the Govt came up with stricter steps. Not that I support that side completely – but maybe a point worth considering ?

  3. GB: Quick question: Now that the world knows that you do care for our “minority brothers”, do you plan to consolidate that stance by running for a Lok Sabha post for the phemily?

  4. Harshit,

    As I said co-ercion needs to be proven in order for the government to take such steps. The thing is it is indeed true that many Muslim women wear the veil because they honestly want to. I might not understand that but that doesnt mean that somebody has the right to make them not wear it.

    @Prakash,

    I am opposed to bans except in severe cases like for instance Khap or Talibani justice where local practice and belief takes lives and impinges on basic human rights.

  5. The French have a clear view on this issue: Burqa is not French. You may disagree of course and here at this point in time Majority-ism counts in France. Personally I don’t like Burqa.

  6. “..wear it do so out of their own free will..” are those women who never tried to come out to the streets without wearing one.
    Do we have any example of women, who never wore it since childhood, tries and then brags about the freedom it offers?

  7. @Arnab,
    Arent Khap or Talibani justice themselves “judicial bodies”? And they basically want or try to codify into law their interpretation of culture or religion which is, more often than not, draconian or from-the-middle-ages. Isnt the swiss or french ban an effort to nip-in-the-bud any such religious practice which might become part of law? It has already been seen in other countries where such “freedom” sooner or later forces the govt in power to make provisions in law as part of vote bank politics. Case in point being events like the Shah bano case in india. I agree even Sarkozy is probably playing politics here more than any real concern. But dont you think there is a side to this islamophobia which is valid to some extent?

  8. Prakash,

    So banning the veil will nip-in-the-bud Sharia law? If they dont ban it, then the Muslims would impose Sharia in Europe? And because they have, it wont happen (if it is as inevitable as you say) Excuse me? And where did Shah Bano (a case of asymmetric justice) come in here? Shah Bano was not voluntarily relinquishing her alimony…

  9. Agreed that its not upto the govt. to decide what to wear or not, cant the ban be supported just on the grounds of security?
    2. If we compare the practice of “Sati”, it required an unpopular government action to curb that menace. Even in that case, there might have been cases of women who would have voluntary preferred to die along with their husband. But most likely, it was because of coercion and the fear of social stigmata. Without a blunt government order, I dont feel that custom was ever going to be abolished.

  10. Long time reader and a fan. You couldn’t have been more right. It is exactly how i feel about this issue. Well said

  11. Arnab,
    I am just trying to point out the concern that those societies have. Today you have burqa, tomorrow they might want provisions for their own definitions of marriage and divorce codified into law. And then you have cases like Shah bano.

  12. I pointed out the Shah bano case to illustrate how their practice or interpretation of religion became a law because the initial supreme court ruling was seen as infringing on their “religious freedom”.

  13. Its not so much a literal or direct consequence that since they banned the burqa, sharia wont happen. No one is banning a ganesha temple, or ghunghat or kimono for that matter, right? burqa/minaret is seen as symbol, that if allowed or not-forewarned, there could be more and more islam in the public place and in laws. So cant it be seen as an indirect way of saying “that if you want to practice anything close to sharia islam, france is not for you.”?

  14. True, no one has the right to tell me how I dress or what not to wear. Yet to me it is extremely disturbing when I can’t see someone’s face. I agree the government has no rights to say that we must all exhibit our basic identity, but somehow veil conceals knowledge and that bothers me! But each to their own. I was actually surprised when it got an overwhelming majority.

  15. Talking of burqa, I think banning of the SB site was never right (especially for us, who “manage” on their own…)

  16. some links:

    on the swiss minarets ban: http://chronicle.com/article/Of-MinaretsMassacres/49393/
    excerpt:
    “The Swiss vote is a signal rather than an endorsement of intolerance. The Swiss, while facing only a sort of creeping, minor Islamicization of their society—requests for girls to be excused from swimming classes, or separate cemeteries of the sort Swiss Jews already have—are aware of the gargantuan intolerance shown by some Muslim societies against minority Christians. While they may not seriously fear such a consequence, many of them plainly want to draw a line in the sand and say: We will not become a Muslim-dominated society, and we will stop that process early.”

    An incident in belgium, where burqa is legal: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/1066809/belgian-school-sacks-teacher-over-burqa

    I agree to the point that such a ban infringes personal freedom. At the same time, it is hard to miss from incidents, like the belgium one, that the french/swiss ban is basically a move to..nip-it-in-the-bud. you allow burqa, and pretty soon people have to put up or fight cases like these.

  17. I disagree with you on this one. I feel the ban on the veil is appropriate due to several reasons. And this has nothing to do with my desire (which I do not deny) to see faces of beautiful girls. Firstly, this is a security issue. One can wear a burqa and pose as somebody else. In the current world, surely a security loophole of this magnitude cannot be allowed. Secondly, as Dib says above, one could always argue that there were women who wanted to be burnt alive with their dead husbands (for whatever reason) and it was wrong of the British government to interfere in their right to die.

    I would like you to take a look at this case where an Iranian woman went to court to order her husband to beat her once a week instead of every night. She is so used to the idea of being beaten up that being beaten once a week is not abnormal for her, whereas even one beating would probably end a marriage in the Western world. Unless the women are forced to abandon the veil, they will keep considering it as normal, even “liking” it, because they will feel it is much better than other signs of oppression such as beating. Only a total ban can snap them out of this brainwashed stupor.

  18. “as Dib says above, one could always argue that there were women who wanted to be burnt alive with their dead husbands (for whatever reason) and it was wrong of the British government to interfere in their right to die”

    Well has there anyone who came and said they wanted to be burnt alive? No. It doesnt happen because self-preservation is a basic human instinct. However there are several women who WANT to wear a veil/burkha/headscarf(and I didnt make that up unlike Dib—there were links provided in the blogpost which support what I said). The women profiled in that article are independent and educated—just religious(I know one of the ladies profiled in that article individually). You do not have to understand why they do it, just respect their right to.

    BTW France didnt cite any security reasons—if there was then there can be women security officers who can look at faces.

    Again beating and a choice of clothes arent the same thing.

    “Only a total ban can snap them out of their stupor.”

    That’s exactly what the Ram Sene-type say about short skirts…..only a ban can convince these cultural reprobates as to what Bharatiya sanskriti is. Banning something never works in a practical context, as I said it further promotes victim-hood.

  19. @Arnab

    A very well written article.

    However, you did not address the main issue.

    The growing Muslim population in Europe and the fear of the unknown and the different in the minds and hearts of the white Europeans.

    It would be really good to read your views and opinions on the growing social chasms in the European society in the form of demographic changes.

  20. Few things I have observed:

    1. Veil or Burqa is more prevalent in places which have significant muslim minority and not so where there is limited muslims, wonder why this difference?
    2. European contries have all the rite to safeguard their identity, interms of their landscape, people and culture.
    3. Security reasons

    I am all for banning the veil.

  21. i agree.. i am no fan of islam.. but i agree a blanket ban is not justified. it’s one thing to say you can’t wear it while driving or when you are at work as a teacher/doctor etc. But banning it completely is an infringement on personal freedom.. once you allow one such curb, the next one can always be justified.. a slippery slope, i say.

  22. 1. Dada, now would you write against why in several Muslim countries, wearing the Burqa is a must?

    2. “Well has there anyone who came and said they wanted to be burnt alive. However there are several women who WANT to wear a veil/burkha/headscarf(and I didnt make that up unlike Dib—there were links provided in the blogpost which support what I said”

    a. Stupid, stupid point – back in the 1800s, there was no media that the women would come and air their grievances to

    b. You are confusing between a Burqa and a ordinary headscarf – one is a security threat, other is not. Even yesterday night on NDTV (oh, that great champion of Islam), the French ambassador told in no uncertain terms that it was a security threat

    c. How did you know Dib was lying? Just because you can’t counter his point doesn’t make him a loser Sir

    3. “Again beating and a choice of clothes arent the same thing”
    What’s your point?

    4. “The growing Muslim population in Europe and the fear of the unknown and the different in the minds and hearts of the white Europeans.”

    We all know2 why that happens, don’t we? Contraception etc are unheard terms amongst Muslims, if you are not aware already

    In all, the ban is totally justified. It should be put in place in ALL of Europe

  23. Just because I am on a bech in the USA it does not mean that I should be forced to wear a bikini…
    A woman who is accustomed to covering herself will feel naked and more vulnerable when she is forced to wear lesser garments.
    For a veiled woman to show her face it is as uncomforable as asking a saree wearing woman to expose her thigh.

    All said and done, if you want to stick to you customs and traditions REMAIN IN YOUR OWN @#$#$%$%@ COUNTRY. SIMPLE.

    ( The same applies for all those indignant reactors on the Joel Stien article to)

  24. If we except that logic then even some Gulf countries shouldn’t tell people from other countries to wear burqa. Whats your take on that? They want everyone to follow their ‘law of the land’.

  25. Allthecrap,

    Do you want France or India to become Saudi Arabia? This is similar to saying “Indians are the most racist people in the world and so they should not crib when people are racist on them.” [replace Indians with Muslims and racist with intolerant of other religions] I find it amusing when people say “How do Pakistanis treat Hindus?” whenever we have problems with our Islamic minorities as if somehow we want India to become Pakistan with respect to their handling of minorities. Or for that matter Saudi Arabia. Please let us not compare ourselves to failed states or medieval societies.

    There is another thing. Is France a Christian theocracy? If it is, then it is fine for them to do what they have done. If you do not want to go live in a Christian theocracy do not go there. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocracy and makes no bones about it. Which is why I personally wouldnt want to live there. However I live in the US because it is not a Christian theocracy. Given that, if tomorrow they tell me that I cannot wear a kurta, then yes I would consider that to be an infringement on my rights as a Hindu.

  26. Yes Bong, Joel Stien should have stayed in his own country, but I dont think the bottom of a scummy pond counts as a Country. 🙂

  27. You took that in extreme context. I will never endorse view or ask an question like “How do Pakistanis treat Hindus?” . I was just pointing towards hypocrisy of some of the gulf countries. I am not blaming the muslims.

    After your reply I would be more specific and would say at least people from those countries shouldn’t protest against that. ( As major protest came from these countries.)

    I fully endorse the view of muslims who are already residing in france. They have every right to appose it.

  28. How about procreation? That is supposedly an intensely personal decision, but affects other people, and quite negatively when done with sufficient gusto (350 million to 1.1 billion in just 50 years). Yet it’s totalitarian to have a population policy like China. What a fiasco!

  29. True , I am just speculating on the widow-burning cases, I dont have any proof to support it. I agree, self-preservation is the common natural instinct. But religious frenzy can sometimes be a motivating factor. And they would then be cited as examples for others to follow , and it reached a point where it actually became the norm ( like Anirban said).
    Also, the problem is with the overt confrontational display of Islamist symbols. The Hijab which normally should have been an individual choice has become a propaganda tool in the hands of Islamists. Even 7/8 year old children are being forced to wear Hijab to schools. If its really about the “choice” of dress, should not that be decided when she is old enough?
    Agreed that the ban is a bit harsh, but the goal is also to integrate the muslims to main-stream and maybe this is a way to achieve that, if not the best.

  30. This is one of the best posts I’ve read. I don’t know why other commenters feel this is pro-Muslim or anti-Muslim though, as far as I see this is simply pro-right of expression and anti-intolerance.

  31. nice piece…..even though i would like to add….if freedom of an individual to wear what he/she wants to wear is the basis for opposing the ban then someone would want to walk naked in a public place as it might be his/her wish……It(say India) is a democratic country and it has not declared itself to be hindu/muslim/christain country……so it cannot put its wishes on an individual citing religious reasons…..also by walking naked no one will cause any physical harm to any person looking at the naked person…..one could argue tht it might cause some(may be majority) to get upset…but who cares……(i am saying this as u will agree tht wearing burqa might also offend people looking at them as most of the people in France might say)…..

  32. Amazing to see how anybody and everybody has an opinion abt Muslims and their lifestyle…I see people even talking about Sharia law and all…guys come on give yourself and Muslims a break, to each his own…there still are many taboos and ill in our society lets settle them first and than try to show our intellectual sides…lets sort out Khaap panchayats, caste discrimination, dowry, naxalism and uneven economic growth issues…Let Muslims live their life and dont judge them for everything arent we getting too obsessed with one religon??? Enough is enough.

  33. Sorry for going off track but I guess French move is taken while taking a similar fact in mind that within few years UK would have a Pro-Islamic population, to which in near future they would have to cater either this way or that way.
    France on the other hand having a strong pro-Christian society probably thought on the track that in next few years “Salahuddin returns” should not hit the theaters with a complementing crowd.
    If you will look closely France has no laws to ban “extreme public display of affection”.They dont hate it but they support it either..its somewhat “exceptable” in their culture.
    Personal freedom gets on the backseat whenever their is a state of emergency in any nation. This clearly indicates that any govt in the world is run according to the common interest not interest of subjugated overtly offense seeking people.
    Its really easy for anyone to protest but hard to be resilient or rather happy for a change…which by the way is in their interest

  34. I dont understand why most of the commenters here are not getting the basic point made by GB.
    It is being said that the govt should NOT decide what one should or should not wear. And telling me one cant wear a Burqa or a Turban is as bad as forcing one to wear one.

  35. “Amazing to see how anybody and everybody has an opinion abt Muslims and their lifestyle” – since the article is about them, so people are commenting. If you want to comment on Khap and other evils, start a blog and write against it, we would come and support you there.

    @Neha, similarly forcing women to wear a veil against their wishes is a crime too, or is it not……..

    I agree with nostalgic moments that though everybody has a freedom to do/wear/ write/draw what he pleases, it should be within some limits – there is no such thing as absolute freedom, or freedom does not exist in vacuum. If it does, there would no sections in different Penal codes (In India’s case, IPC 153, 19 etc) which would be against free speech in some cases.

    GB, you try to evoke the Mangalore pub and other such incidents, but I think you have missed several points in that…. that Muthalik is a paid agent, that his actions could have been to discredit the Government at the state etc, so that’s a different case altogether. As for banning books and driving out artists, that’s a different topic, and should not be confused with the current one (though they both fall under the broad umbrella of “freedom of expression)

  36. http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1264249692351&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

    The above article presents both sides of the picture.

    But GB, you have chosen an article of your convenience to show most women support wearing a Burqa. And who is the writer of that article? Who is demanding women to wear more clothes? Who is pleading for women to hide any traces of their underwear from public view? Nisha Susan, the very woman who supports pub-culture in our country, supports minimalism, supports ending pink underwear to strangers. Isn’t it an irony? Not at all, because she writes for a magazine that makes no efforts to hide their political colors, makes no efforts to hide their anti-stance to a particular section of society.

    http://islamineurope.blogspot.com/2010/07/europe-widespread-support-for-burka-ban.html

    http://www.euronews.net/2010/07/14/french-burqa-ban-widely-supported/

    This article shows majority of Europe supports Burqa ban. Now why am I showing only selective articles? Because the author has done the same to put across his point !!

    And now GB, I can expect it from the paid media houses, silenced by Padma awards and hordes of cash from Swiss banks…….. but I am surprised why did you not utter a single word when the Turban was given similar treatment in France and Canada? As someone asked, are you now part of the “phemily”?

  37. While I agree with you about the central idea of post – ban on veils, I disagree on some points you make which you make while justifying your stance.

    “As if such extra-constitutional intimidation was not enough, there is also the government of India which, through the force of law, does its best to inhibit expressions of free opinion, be it a Satanic Verses or a book on Shivaji” or ‘for benign statements that draw no blood, what is the need for the protection by the state’

    Do you mean as long as the blood isn’t drawn we should tolerate whatever shit the believer in ‘freedom of speech’ throws? Please clear.

    Simply any bloody fool can’t come and paint whatever he wants and still wish to roam free in the same country. Or any moron can’t report the “naughty” tradition of speculation on Shivaji’s parentage.

    The government must come into play if anyone under notion of free speech / freedom of expression is tarnishing the images of deities. We should remember that in the civilized society, along with the right of free speech comes the responsibility of respecting the principles and values of other religions.

  38. I oppose the “total ban” on the veil. The reason behind wearing veil is protection from unwanted attention. North Indian hindus keep Ghoonghat or pallu for the same reason. It becomes so easy to avoid roadside romeos.

    But i support the swiss minaret ban.Once they allow a minaret..they allow a person sitting in minaret giving lectures like Sharia – the only solution, sharia is the future of swiss etc.

  39. @Justice

    Ofcourse forcing someone to wear anything – veil, burqa, turban – is akin to a crime. But forcing someone to NOT wear something they choose to (and you’ve to agree that there are sections of Muslim women, who choose it) because YOU think that’s best for them, is rather preposterous too. Think about it this way: How would you react to someone mandating the wearing of burqa for all Muslim women? My guess is you’d find it unjust because it offends the sensibilities of those who choose not to wear it. Similarly, a ban mandating everyone to give it up offends the sensibilities of the other half who do choose it. So, well, part of the answer is not to go to either extreme assuming that we know best and therefore, opposing a blanket ban hinting at either.

    Secondly, it has been a big question in my mind too about little girls told to go behind the veil without really being given a choice, but the more you think about it, the more you see that the debate over it being wrong is clearly different from preventing everyone from wearing it. In an ideal world, everyone should have a choice and whether or not they decide to go for it, their decision must be respected. To ban it is to not give anybody a choice. Plus, it hardly changes anything.

    All I’d say is that for me, personally, opposing this ban is not in any way condoning the burqa/ hijab as a concept.

  40. Here’s a “resource” on the above mentioned topic of some women wanting to commit sati, of their own will.
    http://rt.com/Top_News/2009-09-09/india-ritual-suicide-sati.html
    Just wish to add perspective to that discussion, as I had myself heard of a few cases where women wanted to end their life when their husbands passed away.

    Nevertheless, very well written article Greatbong, and I totally agree with your views on the viel subject.

  41. @Dibs & Greatbong: I cant help but agree with Dibs to some extent on the ‘Sati’ issue – just because there are no blogposts from back then to prove it , it doesn not mean that women did not want to come forward and burn voluntarily – please remember it was a time when Sati was thought to be ‘good karma’ for the wife. As recently as 2002 there have been instances of Sati reported. Initially it was fought by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, but the ritual was also banned by the then Brit govt. after which it petered out with education.
    So linking it to your argument above, maybe today there are women wearing the burqa out of ‘choice’ – maybe with laws like this 20 years down the thought itself will be strange for the next generation.
    You can ask “but why should a personal choice be thought strange” – why is there a notice on ATMs asking you to not cover your face when entering? why is it not allowed legally to walk down the street naked? Like it or not we live in a society with self-imposed laws, and a country can choose to have its own.

    As some people have mentioned above, its a political move, but given the very real threat faced I dont see the problem in a country trying to safeguard itself – why do you think the ban is only on burqas and not turbans or saris!

    Liked this post…the arguments for both pro and against are equally strong…only time will tell if the tactics work or not.

  42. Arnab,
    Just as an aside, do you know that the first google ad below the end of your article is “How to Convert to Islam”?
    Thought you’d find that interesting! 🙂
    Som

  43. GB,

    I read the article and almost jumped to comment here, for I thought I had a lot to add this article. Then on my down, as any educated reader and blogger should, I read the comments section so that I could be a part of this discussion. Hence the following comment should be taken in that sense (of adding to the discussion) and I hope that you come back and be a part of the discussion you started.

    Comment:

    I agree with the basic premise (as I understand) that the ban on burqa is an attack to freedom of expression and a ban never solves the issue (oppressiion of women, if it is the case). A ban on burqa would not result in end of oppresion of women. The men who think such a thing is normal to be done, would continue to do so and women who are used to it, would continue to take it, ban on burqa or not.

    This is entirely my opinion and it stems from the fact that while the sati practice has been abolished, there are women in corporate houses, there is female foeticide prevelant in the country and teh sex ratio figures. in most parts of the country like haryana are not very encouraging to look at.

    However, there has to be a step taken in the right direction (i.e. to end the oppresion, if such exists) and while the ban on the burqa should not happen, the french government and other governments need to take a serious look at this oppresion, and come up with measures that are actually sensible and would have broad effects in future. Ban on Burqa is simply a surface activity (if one were to believe their reason of oppression).

    Sati abolishment was a step taken in the right direction, and so is abolishment of “test the sex of the baby while still in the womb” tests. While, female foeticide is still rampant (as I mentioned above, and no I am not forgetting what I have said before), one can not flaw the judiciary and legislature to take the right steps in the right direction.

    And that is what paramount. “Right Steps” in the “Right Direction”

  44. (Error in previous comment is corrected here)

    “This is entirely my opinion and it stems from the fact that while the sati practice has been abolished and it is a fact that there are women in corporate houses, there is female foeticide which is still prevelant in the country and the sex ratio figures in most parts of the country like haryana are not very encouraging to look at.”

    Guess, I started dozing off, right in the middle of commenting! :p

  45. GB, I feel the best you write is when you have done a proper homework and feel about the issue strongly enough… I too have started to feel like some of your other readers that nowadays you write just because the issue is perceived as important by some junta and should be written about. Now dont come back with the retort that it is my blog and I will do what i feel like.

    The way you have put your thoughts across basing your stance on freedom of expression/free will also appear as being naive if you look at them with objectivity. The example you have drawn between noone coming forward to express a desire to become a sati and that between wearing a veil is a poorly conceived one.

    France as a nation defnitely has the right to ban something which it feels is a potential security threat and the ones who dont like it can definitely exercise their free will in places where such intensely personal and voluntary acts cause no issues to other people out in public. There will be times when these kind of tough decisions will have to be made for the larger good of the society & i am talking from a security point of view (and no employing female cops just to check people wearing veils is not common sense, only a burden) otherwise in the name of religion and free will a lot of such medieval practices which do no good to anyone will continue.

    As for your example I can come up with my own of the caste system in India…people like being called with their full names, titles given to their forefathers because they feel it is their identity and makes them sound respectful..some may like it but others who only inherited their SC, ST, OBC surnames and are made to feel like lesser human beings by some may feel it is a curse…i know it is a bit of a tangent but is there a way to get to a perfect consensus!

  46. Besides there would be more women who are made to wear the veil and women who wear it out of social stigma than the ones who do it as a voluntary act. And the ones who are forced in the name of hijab, tradition obviously will have little representation in banning it. Is there a way you can quantify the for and against it!

  47. Agree with your piece.
    Now, if a woman has right to wear bikini in public, she should have a right to wear burqa too. Burqa can be forced on women by mullahs and men in the house but then whose right is it to ban it? What if a woman wants to wear burqa because she likes it? What should be banned is mullahs forcing women to wear burqa. Law should be in place to protect women who dare to show middle finger to mullahs and not wear burqa. Also, instead of banning burqa, what they should make illegal is women refusing to remove the veil on the face when required. For example in airports.

    As far as deobandis are concerned, who suddenly have discovered that there exists a thing called secularism, freedom of expression etc, my response to them is this –

    If you want the Euro govts to give rights to wear burqa to women, are you also ready to give your community women right not to wear burqa?

  48. because they feel it is their identity and makes them sound *respectful*, I meant respectable here… my bad 🙂

  49. I made reference to deobandis because when burqa ban was first proposed, they opposed it on the grounds of secularism & freedom of expression.

  50. GB may I ask why my comment is still showing awaiting moderation…I havent said anything disrespectful to anyone or impinged on anyone’s freedom of expression IMHO… Can we agree to disagree here respectfully 🙂

  51. Let’s separate Burqa from Islam and then try to reason with ban. The Ban is for burqa which covers entire face. Women can still wear scarves over head keep the face visible and practice their religion. I do not see any problem with this. In current age of terrorism it is necessary. Because after all Humanity is greatest of all religion and value of human life is much greater than any religion, social principal.
    In India we see many instances where male criminals wear burqa to escape public/police. Hence ban on burqa covering entire face is welcome and many times must in our country as well.

  52. @vishal

    You talk about male criminals wearing burqa and getting away, can you kindly cite an instance, apart from lame movies?

    but i do agree that burqa should be separated from a religion during a discussion, and that is essentially what GB has tried to do in the post.

  53. @knightTemplar,

    Freedom of expression means precisely that, to be able to write/paint/speak anything. If it was to be able to write anything which is conformist, then we would not have needed constitutional protection.

  54. Hi,

    I totally get your point and support it. I come from Kerala which has a huge Muslim population and am well aware of the two kinds of women – the ones who are made to wear the burqa by force and the ones who willingly don it. Therefore, I understand and respect their need to wear the veil even though I am against the practice in theory.

    However, as many readers of this blog have pointed out, many issues are raised by this article. Forget France. What about our own “sovereign secular democratic republic”? What exactly is “secular” ? Let everyone wear whatever they please and practice whatever religious rites they want to? In which case, big questions arise. What about matrimony? How will the state define it without being partial to any particular religion? Does monogamy have to be made the rule just because 90% of the world has been conditioned to believe that monogamy protects and nurtures the institution of the family?

    As India, how should we define marriage, education, attire etc?

    Your article throws up a lot of questions.

  55. Pingback: Global Voices in English » India: Opposing The Ban On The Veil

  56. Pingback: links for 2010-07-15 « Unjustly

  57. “While the state should interfere if people are forced to cover themselves up, it has no right to prevent citizens from making what are essentially voluntary sartorial choices”
    –how about the logical opposite?
    If the state bans public nudity, would you still argue that state is preventing the citizens from making what are essentially voluntary sartorial choices?

  58. Just thought I’d throw in this anecdote for good measure. I was in Calcutta a couple of months back and I saw many Muslim women wear not just a burqa, but a Saudi style abaya, which actually covers your entire face with only the eyes visible. This was a bit of a shock to me as when I was growing up, such abayas were rare.

    However, later that evening, my cousins and I went over to Princep ghat. And what do we see? At least four couples furtively making their way to the boats, where each of the girls had worn this all-covering abaya. I highly doubt any of the girls were married to the boys they were with.

    Reminds me of an Umar Sharif joke where he laments how the burqa had become obsolete in Pakistan: “Burqa tha to chhedne ka system bhi alag tha. Log chhedne se darte they kyonke unhe dar tha ki kanhi burqey mein apne hi ghar ka samaan na nikle.”

    In the case of my Calcutta anecdote, the all covering abaya/burqa is perfect for a secret rendezvous because there’s no way your family would figure out it’s you under all that black cloth.

  59. One thing the French government might say (rightly or not is debatable) is that women wearing a burka prevent authorities from being able to identify a person correctly, which might be of critical important in matters of law enforcement.

    Karthik

  60. Just a few things GB::
    1. On grounds of expressing my right of being religious, extrapolating your reasoning, infidels shouldn’t be killed or Zakir Naiks shouldnt be allowed to disseminate their hogwash. But THAT happens & it is wrong & so is this.

    2. I dont think French are wrong in imposing this. Unlike us bovine Indians, Europeans & Americans are protective & non-assimilating as far as Islam or any Eastern religion is concerned (correct me if i m wrong), which i think is, right. I wouldnt like it here (though, again, i wont do shit about it) if proselytizing is done openly (which is, anyway done here in India). (I am talkin about Christianity in general)

    3. “..that chhat puja is seen by many in Maharashtra as an expression of North Indian pride and of their intent to not be assimilated into Marathi culture…”. Those many are strictly rabble-rousing bastard politicians( the-one-who-cant-be named); not a layman Maharashtrian (I am so i know). Please take care.

    4. GB, if i were a popular & loved blogger like you, i would not bother about writing on a ban in another foreign country while living in an adopted country. Why the hell would I? You are really a very great observer, but a request you to please keep off these thorny political issues. And more so when it doesn’t directly concern you or any of the readers (unless one IS a Muslim girl living in Paris). I would have welcomed the post had this happened in, say, US, or more hypothetically, our dear old India. (Just imagine, India would be burning in flames right now).

    4. While touching upon such a touchy issue, how could you miss that controversy surrounding passport photos? How freakin’ ridiculous was that?!

    But again, please don’t venture your flotilla in these stormy waters. 😀

  61. Hey Arnab,

    Just one minor point. Chhat puja is Bihar/UP specific thing and should not be called North Indian. I know you are technicall correct because you say “many maharashtrians beleive it as a symbol of north indian pride”. Yet I thought I have a point to make.
    You see, I am a north indian (rajashtan) and I had never heard of chhat puja till Raj Thhakre made it famous. I guess most marathi people (at least in bombay) also know that Chhat puja is not something most north indians associate with… leave apart taking pride.

  62. @ gb

    Hindu scriptures dont talk about what clothes to wear.
    So not wearing a Kurta may be a cultural freckle, and not a religious one.

    Hijab, Niqab and Abaya have a more direct connection to the religion propagated by the Quran and the Hadees itself.

    Comparing freedom to wear Burqa, and freedom to wear Kurta, may not be entirely correct.

    But I get the drift.

    @ others
    I am non-judgemental on this issue.
    But I feel that,the Islamic dress code should not be a impediment in law enforcement and identification issues.

    I know a few girls in Bengal who have reverted to Hindu Dharma in order to escape the Burqa in the humid heat of Bonga.
    he he..Just joking, they had more compelling reasons.

  63. I would just like to point out that it is well documented that a large part of the opposition that Raja Ram Mohan Roy faced for abolishing Sati came from women who wanted to die with their husbands. Also, when Vidyasagar tried to improve the plight of widows by encouraging remarriage, and tried opening schools for girls, he had to face strong opposition from women themselves. So do you mean to say these people did the wrong thing, just because people should be allowed to do whatever they want? Who verifies if they are free-thinking or have been conditioned to think that way?

    Also, as someone mentioned already, why is it illegal to walk around naked in public in most places? The view of my paunch may offend you but then the burqa offends you too. Surely your being offended is not a criteria.

    As regards your response to my earlier comment, I don’t see why or how you compare the Ram Sene’s lawless attitude towards mini-skirt-wearers and a government ban on a security threat. Also, beating and Burqa are in essence similar things – signs of oppression of women. I agree with Ankit’s logic above who said why it is a step in the right direction.

    Note that the ban is on burqa, not the hijab. Muslim women can go practice their religion and wear the hijab. If they don’t like it and insist on the burqa, they can go back to their homes in Islamic countries and be oppressed in peace. The French won’t go and interfere there.

  64. I suppose Sarkozy/France did what they had to do after reading this article below. Hope readers can read it and comment:


    “Hijab and women in Islam”

    http://www.faithfreedom.org/Gallery/19.htm

    Because of a high birthrate and swelling migration, Europe is becoming more and more Muslim every day. Islamic culture, dress and religion are so starkly different that Europeans have begun feeling like strangers in their own homes.

    Atleast the French, the Swiss and the Dutch have the guts to stop the Islamization of their country. What about Indians? What about Bengalis? Are you guys simply effete paper-tigers?

  65. I guess people here have read Orhan Pamuk’s snow which depicts life in a small Turkish town with the backdrop of the headscarf controversy in Turkey.The Turkish government imposed a ban on wearing headscarf in public places only to find that the headscarf became a symbol of defiance for young girls.The fact is Islamic values and belief system might be at odds with European ideals of personal liberty , but does that mean that every lady who wears a burqa does so only out of fear of being ostracized by her society ? Why is it so hard to believe that she can do it out her own volition and even take pride in that act? I agree with Greatbong on this. the ban on burqa reeks of a condescending attitude where one belives he has the right to define everything according to his own value system just because he has grown beliving it to be the right thing.

  66. [i]“as Dib says above, one could always argue that there were women who wanted to be burnt alive with their dead husbands (for whatever reason) and it was wrong of the British government to interfere in their right to die”

    Well has there anyone who came and said they wanted to be burnt alive? No. It doesnt happen because self-preservation is a basic human instinct.
    [/i]

    a loose statement by you. you have no idea of human behaviour!

  67. @ Sangita
    How dare you call us Bengalis “paper tigers”.

    We are Bengal Tigers. We saw 70% of our population being lost to Islam over the last six centures.

    You should hear us roar………Meeaaaoooowww!!

  68. I do not know of all the details around the ban but I did read somewhere on BBC that part of the legislation states that there is a fine (not sure of the exact amount – but I think somewhere around 5000 Euros) if someone was found guilty of forcing a veil. So, wouldn’t that be enough to curtail the imposition of certian inviduals on women to wear a veil. I don’t agree with the full ban. It should be an individual’s choice whether or not to wear a veil, a turban, or whatever it is and not of the government.

  69. Polka

    The answer to your question: “does that mean that every lady who wears a burqa does so only out of fear of being ostracized by her society” can be found in the link I posted above.

  70. Correction: Make the fine 30,000 euros or 1 year in jail..

    here is the link to the bbc site where i got the info:
    “It envisages fines of 150 euros (£119) for women who break the law and 30,000 euros and a one-year jail term for men who force their wives to wear the burka.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10611398

    i think that would be a pretty strong deterrent for anyone trying to force someone to wear it… so i suggest they put a law that punishes people forcing women to wear it but not completely it ban so as to provide muslim women to wear it if they chose so.

  71. Hindu women are forced to wear mangalsutra, bindi etc. after marriage? Even saree is made compulsory in most families. Women are solely responsible for preserving the culture anyway. Father-in-laws who have never touched a dhoti expect their wives, son’s wife to carry on the HINDU culture Adarsh Bharatiya Naari. No adarsh for men!
    Sorry, Just a rant!

    In Pune (the city of two-wheelers), lot of women sit sideways on the bike. Obviously because they are wearing a saree. PMC had made rules against the practice of sitting this way on a bike. Sure is really unsafe if the bike is in an accident (I don’t know if it was enforced.)
    Also, many girls/ women cover their full faces while riding a two wheeler. Even that was banned. Again, doubt if it was ever enforced.
    Such steps become necessary at times.

  72. Hi,

    I am not a regular reader of this blog but came to it from the Global Voices link. First let me applaud the author of the post for being so principled in his protection of the freedom of the individual.

    I am at the same time aghast to see the Islam-baiting on the comment-space including personal attacks on the author of the post and links to sites which peddle falsehoods about my religion i.e. Islam. I am a 33 year old Muslim woman, divorced with two children. I have done my MBA from an Indian Institute of Management. I mention that as some evidence that I am not some home-schooled maniac, which is what you think any woman who wears a burqua is.

    I took the veil when I was thirty. My parents, staunch Muslims, were opposed to it. I did it from my own belief and out of my own choice. I find it demeaning and condescending that people would characterize my choice as one taken by a half-wit who does what she is told to by scripture. I find it to be the height of intolerance that so many people think I do not have the right to cover my own face just because it makes them uncomfortable.

    I am not telling you to cover yours, nor imposing my beliefs on you. If my own two daughters grow up and do not take the veil, I will fully support them. I will also fully support them if they do.

    It is disappointing to see so many of my fellow citizens speaking from ignorance and hatred of my religion. There is a lot of bad things in Islam and I would be the first to admit that. There are a lot of horrible things that pass for Islam nowadays including the worst kind of intolerance in its name. However that should not justify strangers who do not know me second-guessing the choices I have made as an adult human being.

  73. ok arnab .. u are opposed to it and i support it .. end of .. to each his own.. now then … shall we come back to more important issues please- shall we ?? like- our prabhu-ji recently turned 60 – shastipoorthi – and you never mentioned anything on it .. ??!! not even a pip .. !! oh how could you arnab ..?? im very dissapointed .. 😦

  74. an expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less; While the expert of respective fields come and match the bong on topics of their forte, greatbong usually steals the show with his wide range of topic selection and therefore is the winner, more so given his tendency to do it over the past five or six years; I appreciate the amount of research that goes into most of the articles and the diversity among them, from Dhoni’s wedding to conclusion of world cup to such an NDTV primetime topic to the Bhopal gas epidemic… all these without covering the topics of his forte bollywood and cricket, hez a winner whoz going thru a lean patch & as goes with the popular form is temporary class is permanent adage, I don’t want to see him work his way out of the current woes with a flashy bong-bang vintage article but slowly work thru the shortcomings on research and get back to the fluent vintage flow…

  75. I just have one question though…Is there any major religion on this planet whose scriptures were not used to justify violence,slavery,oppression of women, genocide, rape, looting and all that is despicable among human beings? I am eager to look forward if somebody has the answer or not..snf Greatbong is it okay to post links which might be unrelated to the discussion but which might be of interest to you? (I mean videos and articles of a lighter vein)

  76. @ AG:

    If freedom of expression means to paint/write/speak whatever you like then obviously there wasn’t any need of courts, police, and constitution. It’s just that such ‘free’ people don’t understand the sensibilities of other people and that’s why Penal codes are in place
    against free speech in some cases.

    I reckon you won’t mind if somebody tomorrow roams in front of your home in disrobed state since you are an ardent fan of ‘freedom of expression’ ?

  77. I came across something very interesting Ataturk did in Turkey about the burkha in his quest to modernise Turkey…
    He made it mandatory for prostitutes to wear it in public. This was something even the mullahs could’nt protest against…You can imagine the results 🙂

  78. @ Savita Bhabhi – bahoot time hai aur aapke liye toh time kya jaan bhi hazir kar sakte hain log 🙂

    @ Ibn Warraq – that link was interesting

    @ Ameena – wow what a way to prove your credibility. All the best!

  79. @Knight Templar
    If somebody tomorrow roams in front of my home in disrobed state I will form my own conclusion about his mental state. Thats within my right.

    My problem is when people enforce ones own belief onto others, and try to limit “freedom”, which is an oxymoron.
    I can give several examples..can start with some old fool who tried to say the earth revolved round the sun. The administration at that time thought he hurt religious sentiments.

    And even today, closer home, if someone says something about pre-marital sex, he/she is condemned as hurting public sentiments.

    @GB
    apologies for involving in a one-to-one arguement in your blogspace. But freedom of expression is onething i feel strongly about, and I wanted to comment on that

  80. @Knight Templar
    If somebody tomorrow roams in front of my home in disrobed state I will form my own conclusion about his mental state. Thats within my right.

    My problem is when people enforce ones own belief onto others, and try to limit “freedom”, which is an oxymoron.
    I can give several examples..can start with some old fool who tried to say the earth revolved round the sun. The administration at that time thought he hurt religious sentiments.

    And even today, closer home, if someone says something about pre-marital sex, he/she is condemned as hurting public sentiments.

    @GB
    apologies for involving in a one-to-one arguement in your blogspace. But freedom of expression is onething i feel strongly about, and I wanted to comment on that

  81. @Dib

    Thanks for the link, but I am not sure if you went through the same carefully.

    the following is the breakdown of the males:

    2 terrorist suspects
    1 talibani
    1 suicide bomber
    1 murderer
    1 theif
    2 leaders
    1 himesh reshammiya
    1 boyfrind

    first of all, 4 out of 10 are not issues to security really

    second and most importantly, these were caught before fleeing, or without being recognised. Which makes me think, was burqa really going to help them? If they thought so, well, they were being lame, and them getting caught is proof enough of that. And if terrorist suspects, a talibani and a suicide bomber can be caught, then who can not?

    burqa was not really an impediment to security, it probably helped the security personnel to point out to ‘random’ people for checking, which in a wierd manner helped nab the bad men.

    P.S.: In no way I believe that religious symbols should be propagated through out a country, and the comment to which Dib replied was by itself a reply to vishal. My views on this matter in detail can be read above that.

  82. @shaswata panja

    Unfortunately, i have not read any of the scriptures in detail. However, the quotes which are generally quoted by the fundamentalists do not invoke any of the crimes that you have mentioned. It is their misinterpretation or brain wash or both, which probably has led us to this situation, where crimes are committed in name of religion.

    By no means, does it signify that any religion tries to throw crime into the society. If GB wishes so and allows me, I would like to make a post on this website, about my views on religion. I would like this platform, for it is read by view, and I believe that it would find resonance with your and other readers’ view.

  83. Dada..bahut accha likhe..
    Dada ek request hai..please review Udaan Movie Jaldi se…
    After missing a lot of Anuraag Kashyap’s movie’s this time i wanna watch it in theater..per dada aapke review ke bina film dekhna to banta nahin na..

  84. @GB:Precise, concise and agreed to.

    @Kapil: Sheer genius, came across something similar to de-glamorize the Klu-Klux-Klan in a book once.

  85. When Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran can enforce Hijab/Burqa why can’t non Islamic Nations ban Hijab/Burqa? Don’t the majority of Non Islamic nations have any say in whats right or acceptable in their country…from when has majoritism become a bad word…it is bad if it taking away the rights of the minority but if the practices of the minority makes the majority cringe, well then it needs to be stopped. not withstanding the fact that the practice of the minority does make their own people cringe…and please don’t quote some 2-3 dumb women from a frivilous article in Tehelka who want to wear a burqa to hide their acne, or to be respected or who think ‘The new hijabi sees consumerism and its coercive, insidious culture of the body as an imprisonment. The hijab represents a freedom from that.(typical anti-capitalist pro-islamic lines of thought which she inadvertantly picked up either from a Madarsa/some cleric/or her hardliner family)’…plz don’t forget in many situations (not all) the act of Sati was performed volunteerly so should we allow it to continue just because some men/women have been conditioned to believe that its right and that it should be done..did not the British find the practice of Sati abhorrant and passed a law to ban it? (I know its a far fetched and morbid example but I wanted to make my point)..Now if Nisha Susan of tehelka had written an article during the days of Sati..there definitely would have been some 3-4 dumb brainwashed women who would talk at lengths at why Sati is the right thing to do? how it is good for the society? how it liberates the soul? how it is good to set an example for other women that she should not long for a life beyond her husband’s?…etc..when muslims want the Freedom to express their religion why dosn’t the majority dont get to express their belief of secularism..secularism is not just respecting other religions by allowing others to practice but also by avoiding an overt display of a particular religion through symbols, signages, attires, minarets etc.

  86. As per your last paragraph, before the burkha ban there should not have been any terror attacks in Europe. Also, since burkha is not banned in India there should not have been any terror attacks in India also.

  87. @Shaswata Panja
    yes, budhist/jain religious texts are examples of religious books that do not teach violence. i don’t know of any example in history where these have been “misinterpreted”… it’s strange, out of all religions, there seems to be just one which keeps getting “misinterpreted” to justify violence even in the 21st century. So have you considered the possibility that may be may there’s just a possibility that this particular one has something wrong with it?

  88. @Shaitan-e-Sharif
    “When Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran can enforce Hijab/Burqa why can’t non Islamic Nations ban Hijab/Burqa? ”

    Very simple. Because I do not want my country to be like Saudi Arabia. Period.

  89. Pingback: Burqa fines:Muslim pledges to pay 'burka fines' for Muslim women - Page 3

  90. @ Sabalil
    Actually there is very little difference between the six orthrodox schools (Nyaya-Vaisheshika, Sankhya Yoga, Purva Mimansa, Advaita, Vishistha Advaita and Dvaita) and 3 heterodox schools (Jain, Bouddha and Charvaka) school of Hindu Darshanas.

    It is foolish to talk about them as distinct religious entitites from Hindu Dharma.

    @ Sashwat Panja
    Hindu Dharma was never propagated using the power of sword (or gun).
    Before the Islamic invasions introduced this paradigm shift in how religion is propagated, Hindu schools used to duke it out at the intellectual level and the loser would accept the religion of the victor in a standardized Tarka-Vitarka.

    Many famous Greeks and Huns became Hindus (as did their clans) with this technique. The Champas of Vietnam/Cambodia are another example.

    For example, many Sankhya Yogis would become Jains and many Jains converted to Nyaya-Vaisheshika school who in turn became Buddhists who in turn evetually converted to Hindu Purva Mimansi (in Bengal) and Advaita Vedantins (in peninsular India) over a 2000 year period.

    But when it comes to Islam, we are dealing with a completely different entity. Its like a duel with a surgeon’s scalpel on one side and a sledgehammer on the other.

    @ all
    Coming back to our discussion on Burkha, let the folowers of Islam in Islamic countries decide what they want. As for countries where civic reponsibilities and security requirements are being hindered, the Islamic population has to adhere to the law of the land and wait patiently following Taqqya, until they become majority and impose Shariat law.

  91. @ Sashwata Panja
    Continuing from my previous post.
    One of the finest examples of how a surgeon’s scalpel cannot indefinitely resist blows from a sledgehammer, are the tragic and ironic situations in three of the most prominent historic Hindu intellectual powerhouses from the past, that fell to Islam.

    Sindh, Kashmir and Bengal (barring the small part we know as West Bengal today).

  92. ” It gives the radicals a genuine grievance to promote the miasma of Islamic “victimhood” , lends credence to the “Islam is under threat” slogan, pushes even moderates to the extremes of religious isolation”

    Now consider this. The French Govt bans the turban or they make it illegal to put a “tilak” on your face in public. How many moderate “hindus” do you think will get pushed to extremism because of this?

    At some point, we should look at the core issue of Islam being hateful by design. Next, they would want to be ruled by Sharia law in France.

  93. Should a rational person not believe in the law of the land?
    A government makes a decision for its citizens as a ruling body.
    When an orthodox Islamic country expects all women whether Muslim or not to wear burqa in public places,was there any hue and cry? It was that particular government’s decision.
    Enjoy the country’s rights and abide by the country’s law.There seems to be no confusion here.

  94. @rishikhajoor
    ” As for countries where civic reponsibilities and security requirements are being hindered, the Islamic population has to adhere to the law of the land and wait patiently following Taqqya, until they become majority and impose Shariat law”

    So what are you saying essentially means that majority should always dictate the way of living for the minority. The concept of equal rights does not exist. right?

  95. Arnab,
    Your knowledge of chhat puja and relating it to Maharastrian intelorence is as deep as Rakhi Sawant’s (or the other great Maharashtrain – Pratibha Patil’s) knowledge of modern science of technology. Don’t jump on to something like Islam with half baked knowledge learned from ‘Teach in 24 hour’ series. Otherwise you sound as ‘intellectual’ as the other ‘paper tiger’ sickular leftists from the Bongland like Burqa Dutt and the likes.
    Another unrelated question – have you landed any offer from the ‘phemily’ after publishing your book?

  96. BR,

    I would love to answer your question but first you need to spend 24 seconds to research the fact that Barkha Dutt does not come from Bongland. But for that you first need to swallow down the bile.

  97. @Rishi Khujur can we please exchange email ids I have a few questions I donot think it would be relevant to this blogs post and once again thanks a lot for posting so much info

  98. @ AG
    “So what are you saying essentially means that majority should always dictate the way of living for the minority. The concept of equal rights does not exist. right?”

    Thats how it works in Islamic countries.
    I have a strong inclination of treating followers of Islam the same way they treat non-Muslims.

    Nothing can be more fair and respectful than that. Treat them the way they treat you.

    The rest we can take forward from there onwards.

  99. @AG you seem to have a solution….We do not want to be like Saudi Arabia…here your assumption is that, what Islam is doing and what Islamic Nations are doing is wrong…sorry..that wasn’t the point I was making…for that you should have read the entire paragraph to have understood the essence of my message..I am not judging whether what the hardline Islamic Nations doing is right or wrong..all i am saying is that if they try to push their laws, rules, attires and idiosyncrasy (if any) in other non-islamic countries then the secular nations do have the right to protect the majority from it. Secondly, your definition of Equal Rights seems to be warped…Equal Rights does not mean the majority does not get the opportunity to decide its country’s and it’s own future…democracies and corporates work on majoritism and thats the way of the sane world and whether you like it or not the sensitivities of the majority needs to be respected!

  100. @AG you seem to have a solution….We do not want to be like Saudi Arabia…here your assumption is that, what Islam is doing and what Islamic Nations are doing is wrong…sorry..that wasn’t the point I was making…for that you should have read the entire paragraph to have understood the essence of my message..I am not judging whether what the hardline Islamic Nations doing is right or wrong..all i am saying is that if they try to push their laws, rules, attires and idiosyncrasy (if any) in other non-islamic countries then the secular nations do have the right to protect the majority from it. Secondly, your definition of Equal Rights seems to be warped…Equal Rights does not mean the majority does not get the opportunity to decide its country’s and it’s own future…democracies and corporates work on majoritism and thats the way of the sane world and whether you like it or not the sensitivities of the majority needs to be respected!

  101. “Estimates of the number of Muslims in France vary widely. According to the 1999 French census returns, there were 3.7 million people of “possible Muslim faith” in France (6.3% of the total population). In 2003, the French Ministry of the Interior estimated the total number of Muslims to be between five and six million (8–10%).[93][94]. As of 2010 the U.S. Department of State estimates that Muslims make up 10% of the French population and is the largest Muslim community in the EU.” (wikipedia)

    Look at the alarming speed muslim population is growing there. Suddenly french are facing alien veiled people everywhere.

    “France is one of the founding members of the European Union. It is also a founding member of the United Nations. It is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and possesses the third largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world.” (wikipedia).

    We should show some faith in their actions. They are good leaders.

  102. Nice article.Completely agree with you!!

    The French indeed have a propensity to go completely nuts at times!!

  103. If you think objectively, this ban simply sets a standard of minimum exposure in public. This aligns with the allowed maximum exposure in public (irrespective of whether you wish to run naked in public – Govt says you can’t).

    Burqa ban simply implies that for every human being: eyes, nose and lips should be visible. Burqa which doesn’t cover the face can still be worn. Technically, ridiculously large goggles or hands can yet be used to cover the exposed face. So firstly, this is not same as wearing bikini (as some commentators with far-fetched imagination observes). Secondly, with regards to exposure standards this makes perfect sense (French govt should have worded it well – instead they went for sensationalizing the whole matter).

    In a nutshell, ban on covering of FACE is getting rid of a social stigma. This should be viewed in same spirit as ban on drugs, killing endangered species, cursing in public, etc-etc.

  104. @Rishi Khujur
    what i deduct from that verbose and pompous reply is that you don’t consider budhism/jainism as separate religions. fine, if that’s what you believe. Others may not have the same opinion. Anyway, that’s not the point of this. Shaswata Panja said ALL regions have been misinterpreted to justify violence and not just islam.

  105. I want a complete ban on bhajans sung in tune of bollywood hits and played at ear-shattering decibel levels..it infringes on the right of people to sleep in peace.I believe those who support the ban on burqa will definetely support this.

  106. I think, those who oppose the ban on the basis of personal freedom should have themselves some respect for the this noble value, as they will never allow their subordinates to entertain the same right, U might have heard of the Aqsa Pervez murder case, who was murdered by his father and brother for not wearing burka and hijab as per their religious interpretations. The Burka issue is not as sample as some of our friends who have not sufficient knowledge of the internal conflicts among various religious interpretations in Islam. Its the process of re-arabization of Muslims who have moulded as per their local cultural traditions, its the act of imposing homogenity hence killing the diversity among various sects. That is our friends should not be trapped with such whinning practices from the Islamists.

  107. @Polka, does not playing any music above a certain decibel level constitute sound pollution anyway regardless of content?

  108. Pingback: The French Burqa Ban – My take | SNAFU

  109. @Sabalil
    Hinduism is the oldest religion and jainism, buddhism etc. developed from it. These 3 religions have same core. Many hindu temples have idols of mahavira and buddha. Jains and buddhists dont get offended if they are called hindus !

  110. I agree with u on most parts…I think that the ban on the burqa is not warranted. The fine might serve as a deterrent for people imposing such restrictions. Beyond that, its really not anybody’s business to dictate dressing choices. However, there is this issue of non-compliance of the hijabis with security measures. If that’s taken care of, theres no concrete reason for such a ban!

  111. @sunny
    whatever floats your boat, mate.
    just recognize and accept the fact that not everyone interprets this the same way. otherwise you risk being a bigot… no different from the ones that claim their god is the only one around.

  112. @sunny
    religion x developed from y and hence i don’t consider x to be an independent religion… if that’s the line we take, we will have to consider christianity and islam as offshoots of the jewish religion. sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it.

  113. This ban was inevitable. European societies are somewhat schizophrenic and this is beginning to manifest itself. The European claims to tolerance and multiculturalism have mostly been proclaimed by the more educated and travelled. The majority of the populace is part of a society that is pretty conformist and accepts change kicking and screaming.
    Muslim populations in many countries are beginning to creep above the 5% mark, and the fear of fundamentalists has increased. The public support to such a ban was always there, the catalyst has been the overblown perception of the threat posed by Islamic extremism.

  114. @ Sunny
    The unity is more fundamental than the mere manifestation of its practice.

    The commonality lies in the very basics, ie,

    – The nature of the Soul, their inter-relationship, and their relationship to the physical
    – The nature of the Universe
    – The relationship between the conscious and the subconscious and the superconscious

    The differences occur, in the choice of scriptures that are used define the above.
    Heterodox Hindu schools, do not give primacy of the Shrutis (ie the Vedas and the Upanishadas) over the teachings of guru-heads; Thirthankaras (in the case of Jainas) and Gotama Buddha (in the case of Mhayanas and Theravadas).

    But early orthodox schools like Sankya and Nyaya did that too.

    So there is not much of a difference, really.

    @ Sabalil
    Verbosity is safer than silence, in the world of word-peddling.

  115. @Sabalil

    H.H.The Dalai Lama has clearly said: “Buddhism is a part of Hinduism”.

    H.H.The Dalai Lama went on to further say: ““When I say that ‘Buddhism is a part of Hinduism’, certain people criticize me. But if I were to say that Hinduism and Buddhism are totally different, it would not be in conformity with truth.”

  116. @ Bengalvoice

    All the Hindu schools (orthodox and heterodox) combined together represent the second largest religious group in the world and a immensely powerful geopolitical force to deal with, originating from Asia.

    Not good news for certain others, who otherwise have caused havoc geopolitically, for the past 1400 years.

    Btw, HH Dalai Lama was one of the founding seers of VHP.

  117. @Rishi,

    Btw, HH Dalai Lama was one of the founding seers of VHP.
    That is some information. Is there a link to point to?

  118. @AG

    You’re free to form your conclusion abt mental state of a person roaming in disrobed state infront of your house. But just forming the conclusion would be enough for you or for that sake any sensible human being? Would not you prevent such a creature from doing such a heinous thing infrot of your home?

    And if you happen to prevent such thing happening, then are you trying to enforce your belief on that person?

    Enforcing one’s belief on others is one thing and standing up when somebdy deliberately hurts your sentiments is a different thing.

    I’m sorry but you’re comparing banana with a mango when you give an example of fool who said ‘earth revolved round sun’.

  119. @ AG,

    the real problem is not with the freedom of expression , but with the abuse of the same. Look at the case of Omar Bakri . This guy is virtually the most important preacher responsible for the radicalisation in Britain. The curious case is, for decades his relentless tirades against the West, his anti-Semtic speeches were being delivered in colleges in UK and were tolerated in the name of free speech, while in the dictatorships like Syria or Egypt, he would most likely have been hanged long ago. Now, of course dont jump to the conclusion that I am in favor of totalitarian regimes against the free societies. But, maybe somewhere we ought to take a pragmatic step against abuse of the rules, if not the ideally correct one. Afterall, there was a trade-off between the deaths of those civilians and upholding the sanctity of the freedom of speech.

  120. @sid
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishva_Hindu_Parishad

    The Vishwa Hindu Parishad was formed in 1964 by Swami Chinmayananda as president and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member S.S. Apte as general secretary, with Master Tara Singh as one of the co-founders. It was first mooted at a conference in Pawai, Sandipani Sadhanalaya, Mumbai on 29 August 1964. The conference was hosted by RSS sarsanghchalak M.S. Golwalkar. The date coincided with the festival of Janmashtami. Several representatives from the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain faiths were present in the meeting, as well as the Dalai Lama.

  121. @Sid, Rishi

    That is correct. The founding seers of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) are:

    * Pujya Swami Chinmayananda (who founded the Chinmaya Mission)
    * H.H.The Dalai Lama
    * Jain Acharya Sushil Muni
    * Master Tara Singh (veteran freedom-fighter and Akali Dal/SGPC pioneer)
    * Shivram Shankar Apte (RSS pracharak)
    * K.M.Munshi (freedom fighter, writer and educationist)
    * Hanuman Prasad Poddar (freedom fighter and founder of Gita Press, Gorakhpur)

  122. Very well said Arnab. I completely agree with you on the subject of banning Burqas. I would just like to add one more point to it. As you said, it may be difficult for a person belonging to a relatively liberal background (where women wearing veil are not commonly observed), to relate to someone who would willing wear the veil. However, I feel there could be other customs that are followed in these liberal societies as well which may not have any benefits in terms of survival or comforts. It could be wearing certain kind of clothes or wearing clothes to cover certain parts of the body. I am sure many of us, however liberal we might consider ourselves to be, and whichever societies we belong to, would have certain reservations or at least feel slightly uncomfortable following certain practices. Somehow, I do not find much difference in the feeling of a traditional Indian woman (say belonging to the older generation) made to wear a mini skirt while visiting a western country or that of a relatively modern Indian woman asked to walk naked on a nude beach and the feeling of a traditional Muslim woman not being allowed to wear her veil. I agree, it is the conditioning of the mind behind this feeling. But then the same conditioning also exists in some form or the other in even those who are giving this as a reason to ban the Veil.

  123. Susan,

    I do not know whether you are Nisha Susan (thus forming a mutual admiration society with GB), but the analogy you are portraying is absolutely stupid and if I may say so – rubbish.

    While one presents a security threat, sarees or other Indian clothes DO NOT. Who is stopping the Muslim woman from wearing a full body suit, salwar kameez? Why is “not wearing the Burqa akin to “being naked” or “feeling naked”? And if still some women insist on doing so, they should go back to those lands where Burqa wearing is the law of the land.

    ~First to be banned should be psudo-intellects of this sort

  124. In a society, a person should also take into account, to some extent, the rest of the society’s sentiments too. Just as a person should not roam around naked, because it is their wish, s/he should not roam around in a tent, just because s/he may want to. Society does have a say, to some extent, in how its constituents should behave. The same goes for sagotra marriages too.

    If anybody have problems, they can remain in their own countries, in tents, they need not invade France. Thanks.

  125. @Incognito,
    so according to you, the majority has rights to ban the minority from use of a certain attire, or usage of a language, or sexual preference?

    And what exactly is majority? what most people does? Is it just religion, or can it be habbit to? What if majority of people say..”I dont like the fact a very few minority of people drive a mercedez benz. It makes me feel inferior. It should be banned”

    Dont say I am giving stupid arguement. I am just asking, what is the definition of Majority.

  126. >>>”so according to you,…”
    Don’t impute your meaning to others’ comment, and then attempt to pull down that.

  127. What focus! Meanwhile the root causes, runaway population and wildfire emigration, will remain unaddressed.

    Outside Buddhism, most major religions, certainly the monotheistic ones, are dysfunctional. Hinduism could have been a fun religion if only its adherents did not become such a low-quality people.

    Humans (even Muslims) will happily let last year’s iPods rot in our desk drawers, but cling on to religions concocted thousands of years back, when pneumonia was fatal and a typical woman saw six of her children die before they reached 10 years.

    We can keep debating if the hijab should be allowed in France. Or we can go to the root of the problem: why is this decision needed at all?

  128. @Whocares
    Agree with you.
    However, I think here the discussion is not strictly on weather Burqa should be allowed, but whether the state (or majority) should impose its decision which is very personal to me.

  129. @Incognito

    “The same goes for sagotra marriages too.
    If anybody have problems, they can remain in their own countries, in tents, they need not invade France. Thanks.”

    What else (other than what i concluded) did you mean by the above lines?

  130. @ whocares
    “Hinduism could have been a fun religion if only its adherents did not become such a low-quality people.”

    Speak for yourself.
    The quality improves once knowdedge of Hindu Dharma increases.

  131. >>>”What else (other than what i concluded) did you mean by the above lines?”

    If you were to be assessed on what is seen below your belt, you would appear as a d#ck with two legs.
    But, would such assessment be correct, isn’t the upper part integral to the whole ?

    That applies to comments as well as communities.

  132. Recently, Syria banned the veil so as to ” preserve its secular culture” although 87% of the people are muslim and the country is
    a ” part of the axis of evil”

  133. @Incognito,
    let me ask you again. Did you mean in your comment that minority should abide by the rules set up by mjaority?
    If so, then what is mjaority in your definition

  134. well done GB. good post. your stony brook reference just brought back memories of a crazy hysterical chinese girl who used wander around around the chapin complex, catching anyone who walked by to try and force feed Jesus and Salvation down their throat!! This one literally hung on to the bag I was carrying to try and stop me from walking away after I let her know that I wasn’t interested. I think your “kind elderly” gentleman belonged to the same group of enlightened souls…

  135. @rishi khajoor
    No, I dont think it is relevant to fight about faith in this topic. This was more about individual freedom and state intervention

  136. @AG
    “No, I dont think it is relevant to fight about faith in this topic. This was more about individual freedom and state intervention”.

    Thats not what the Qur’an says.
    Is your opinion more important than the Qur’an?

  137. Import of previous comment for the benefit of those with discerning disability.
    point 1. a body part cannot be separated from the whole with meaningful results. you will end up with d#ck with two legs.

    2. Likewise, part of a comment cannot be separated from the rest and expected to retain original meaning.

    3. Likewise, part of a society cannot be separated from the whole and expected to retain character and cohesion.

    4. People who are unable to comprehend reality in its entirety attempt to force fit it into their limited perspective of schisms such as majority-minority and end up with distorted picture of reality.

    It is a different matter that such confusion is cultivated by western systems of exploitation through media and ‘education’ system as part of their plan to enslave and subjugate native populace. Deracinated people with distorted perspectives are useful tools for such systems to create divisions in society.
    Some of these people, consider themselves as ‘educated’, more ‘liberal’, ‘modern’ and look down upon the vast majority of their countrymen. These brainwashed people are quick to champion ‘minority’ rights because they consider themselves as part of the ‘enlightened minority’, whom the ‘majority’- comprising of adherents to native culture, are supposed to emulate and follow. Through such misplaced feelings of superiority these deracinated slaves of western empire hallucinate self-esteem.

    dhanyavaad

  138. Dear Greatbong,
    You have put a very valid point. May be there is a thin similarity between Hindu women (progressive, backwards, Arundhati Roy et al) who would prefer wearing sindoor and Muslim women who would prefer wearing veil.
    Although, I am an hindu, I believe that vermilion is an unnecessary (overtly religious) display. And I am sure many women would not agree to that. Likewise, many muslim women would consider veil as part of their identity (recently there was a news of women in Allahabad working out in burqas), although they are as modern as liberal as anyone.

    But that is only one side of the story. Women (and also men) are conditioned to believe certain things and that forms their perception of good and bad. Seventy/eighty years ago, remarriage of widow/ education of girl child was considered taboo by many people – and that would include countless doting fathers who loved their daughters as much as their sons. But still, they (and of course the other family members) had a perception issue about it. All they needed (and got) was some serious moral science crash course from Raja Rammohun Roy / Pt. Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar etc. And finally, that problem withered away with time.

    Likewise, there needs to be some sort of ‘crash course’ in the form of government notifications/ law of the land etc. that positively impacts the society. Today, many liberals might consider this forceful, but tomorrow this would be seen as a historic step towards women liberalization.

    It’s really interesting to see how society reacts and bears through this change.

    Regards,
    Sowmik

    PS: On a side note, long time no blog – why o why?

  139. @incognito
    I asked you a question simple enough. Evidently I would not get a simple answer for that. I give up trying.

  140. @rishi khujur

    I think AG cleared the point that it is not relevant to the topic here, as the topic is about freedom of expression. And then I also read the comment you put up as a result. I have got to add that it is the kind of thinking your comment reflects that is to be blamed for healthy discussions turning fanatic.

    Yes, I am making a comment on your opinions with my opinion hard laced with fact (fact being your comment), and I don’t care what any religious book says about this. This is freedom of expression and that is what this discussion is about.

  141. @Rishi Khajoor
    Yes, my opinion is very important to me. I have the right to express it, as long as I am not imposing it on you.

    And I dont really care what the Gita, Koran, Bible, Granth-sahib or for that matter any religious scripts think about it.

  142. @ Ankit Poddar and AG

    Both of you need to understand that, freedom of expression vis-a-vis the “Burkha” case above, in being defined by dictats of a particular Religion.

    I do not understand how you can delink Islam from the discussion when talking about the Burkha. Just because you feel uncomfortable to talk about or are ignorant about that “religion” doesnt make it irrelevent to the case.

    The whole issue is about adhering to the dress code propounded by that particualr religion.

    You can talk as much about “freedom of expression” as you want, but I can put forth the argument that your ignorance about politicial Islam makes you quite irrelevent to thi specific discussion.

    Stick to talking about bikini cuts and skirt lengths.

  143. @ AG

    i find it funny that when I asked you about Qur’an, you responded back by clubbig Gita, Guru Granth Sahib, Bible to the list.

    Your education (or the lack of it i guess), at work?

  144. Rishi Gajar,

    >Your education (or the lack of it i guess), at work?

    So what’s your excuse? Considering the time you spend blabbering on this comment-space one would think that it’s you who has had a lack of education which has led to you having no job. Or has your wife left you in addition?

    By the way, who attests to your knowledge of political Islam? You yourself? Your other RSS pathogenic Muslim-hating numbnuts like Bengal Voice etc who sound suspiciously like you under different ids? I can attest to your idiocy and your hatred but as to your knowledge of “anything” (except of course copy-pastes from Hindu hate sites like Hindu Unity), in all these years at RTDM, I have seen precious little.

    I normally do not comment or refute what you say because of the saying about the pig and the mud. However I think your predilection for personal attacks (commenting on education or the lack of it) has reached rather shocking levels. Yes I know I have also personally attacked you in this comment but sometimes red baboons do need a spank on the bottom from a stick so that they can at least do their audience-pleasing tricks.

    By the way, when you reply to this comment, do start *after* the insult calling me a Muslim or a Congressi. Please, for heaven’s sake, cultivate some more innovative insults, if only to demonstrate some kind of originality.

    Finally, as a brave Hindu, do put your own name when attacking others. Some might think you are a craven moron who hides behind anonymous ids to pour hate, trying not to be held accountable by their employers, who for all we might know might be funded by Saudi dollars (Shudder !!!)

  145. @Atindra Mohan Ganguly (AG) wrote:
    “So what’s your excuse? Considering the time you spend blabbering on this comment-space one would think that it’s you who has had a lack of education which has led to you having no job. Or has your wife left you in addition? ”

    Response:
    I have no job 🙂
    I have no wife 🙂
    But how does that make you more educated?

    @Atindra Mohan Ganguly (AG) wrote:
    By the way, who attests to your knowledge of political Islam? You yourself? Your other RSS pathogenic Muslim-hating numbnuts like Bengal Voice etc who sound suspiciously like you under different ids?

    Response:
    Well how about countering me with relevent arguments to prove me wrong, rather than attacking Bengalvoice and other people who present similar points of views as those of mine.

    If you can sleep well thinking that; myself, Bengalvoice and many others here, are the same as me and I am “numbnut”, then I am glad to help.

    For having a threat perception of the ground reality may well take you sleep away.

    @Atindra Mohan Ganguly (AG) wrote:
    Yes I know I have also personally attacked you in this comment but sometimes red baboons do need a spank on the bottom from a stick so that they can at least do their audience-pleasing tricks.

    Response:
    And then you complain that I question your education (or the lack of it).
    Red baboons dont exist 🙂

    @Atindra Mohan Ganguly (AG) wrote:
    By the way, when you reply to this comment, do start *after* the insult calling me a Muslim or a Congressi.

    Response:
    Wrong stereotype.
    You assume too of yourself Mr Atindra.
    You are too much of a chicken to be a Muslim.
    and too self absorbed to be Congressi.

    @Atindra Mohan Ganguly (AG) wrote:
    Finally, as a brave Hindu, do put your own name when attacking others. Some might think you are a craven moron who hides behind anonymous ids to pour hate, trying not to be held accountable by their employers, who for all we might know might be funded by Saudi dollars (Shudder !!!)

    Response:
    Rishi Khujur is a fine Hindu name. What I do and who I am has nothing to do with the arguments I present or the events I refer to, for eachof them are indpendently verifiable irrespective of my identity and color of my skin.

    Come back with more substantial arguments.

  146. Haha. It is nice to see someone too scared to put their own name calling someone else chicken. So is “Bengal Voice” a proud Hindu name also? So do you go to work under that proud Hindu name? I think not. Come and put your real name here and yes I shall have a debate. Also does your proud Hindu name change its spelling from Khujur to Khajur from time to time? In order for you brave Hindus to do something, at least be man enough to write your own name.

    As for your independent verifications, why do all your links go to the same five sites (Hindu-Unity, Jihadwatch etc) none of which are reputable news organizations, most of which are run by proud Hindus/Jews who do not use their actual names. Oh I know. All of them are dominated by enemies of the Hindus because of which you have to link to creative-writing sites with fabricated facts. Come back with *actual links* and with an *actual name* if you want credibility.

    And for the part about the wife leaving you, I am sorry if I touched a raw nerve. It happens. Some people have four wives, some have none. It’s called Karma. But as a proud Hindu, you already knew that did you not?

  147. @Rishi Khajur,
    Atindra Mohan Ganguly shares the same initial as mine. Thats it.
    The reason I clubbed the holy books together, was to say my opinions are more important to me than what is written in a holy book. I wonder what in that line showed my education (or lack of it)

    I repeat, irrespective of what my (or any other)religion says, to me an individual freedom is much more important

  148. Atindra Mohan Ganguly wrote:
    Haha. It is nice to see someone too scared to put their own name calling someone else chicken. So is “Bengal Voice” a proud Hindu name also? So do you go to work under that proud Hindu name?

    Response:
    Yes Mr Ganguly, I am a chicken, and am very scared to give out my real name.
    But again, how does that make my arguements or events I refer to, any less logical or untrue?
    Bengalvoice is not me, so I cant speak for him/her.

    Atindra Mohan Ganguly wrote:
    As for your independent verifications, why do all your links go to the same five sites (Hindu-Unity, Jihadwatch etc) none of which are reputable news organizations, most of which are run by proud Hindus/Jews who do not use their actual names.

    Response:
    Huh!!
    I hardly ever give links to Hindu Unity or Jihadwatch.
    Mention the 3 other websites also.
    Ask me specifically, about what you want to know and I will be glad to help you with a response to satisfy your standards of verification.

    Atindra Mohan Ganguly wrote:
    And for the part about the wife leaving you, I am sorry if I touched a raw nerve. It happens. Some people have four wives, some have none. It’s called Karma. But as a proud Hindu, you already knew that did you not?

    Response:
    Me with a wife and my wife leaving me? Woww!!
    You seem very interested in my female partners and on top of that keep bringing up genetalia references too.

    But again, that has nothing to do with my arguments or events that I present and socio-political issues that I talk about.

    As for our Karma, aint that a bitch?
    But we all have to work with it, Mr Atindra, yourself included.

  149. Lord All Mighty,

    >Yes Mr Ganguly, I am a chicken, and am very scared to give out my real name.
    But again, how does that make my arguements or events I refer to, any less logical or untrue?

    When you yourself are chicken (self-confessed) and attack others for being scared of political correctness and the truth, it is hilarious to say the least. First be politically incorrect UNDER YOUR OWN NAME before you fart all over. Understand? As to the arguments you make, without your name to back them, they are just graffiti. Nothing more. Pretty insistent and hateful graffiti on top.

    Out of curiosity, where have I shown any interest in your genitalia? I mean is there a part of you that wants me to? Please do illuminate.

  150. @ Atindra Mohan Ganguly

    When you yourself are chicken (self-confessed) and attack others for being scared of political correctness and the truth, it is hilarious to say the least. First be politically incorrect UNDER YOUR OWN NAME before you fart all over. Understand? As to the arguments you make, without your name to back them, they are just graffiti. Nothing more. Pretty insistent and hateful graffiti on top.

    Out of curiosity, where have I shown any interest in your genitalia? I mean is there a part of you that wants me to? Please do illuminate.

    Response:
    Does the sentence “Islam is not a religion of peace” change when Mr x writes it or Mr Y writes it. The discussion should be on whether it is or not based on its history, events, theology and doctrines.

    Whether Mr X is married, or has a girlfriend or whether his/her real name is Z has nothing to do with it.

    The question whether the wearing of Burkha is connected to a religious doctrine has nothing to do with whether Mr Rishi Khujur or Bengalvoice has a job or is a “numbnut” (isnt that a reference to my genetalia since you present both as a single person?).

    Remember Mr Atindra, the fact that the “earth is not flat” was also considered hateful graffitti at one point. Thats why I say, lets have a educated discussion.

  151. Rishi,

    You have still not answered my question—-where did I make a reference to genitalia? Please please tell me. This is an important question I am asking, for reasons I shall make clear once you answer it.

    The very fact that your real name has everything to do with your arguments supporting your hate is the reason why you do not give your name. You do not want to be held accountable for your hatred. If there was nothing wrong in what you were saying, there is no harm in saying it under your real name is there? Again the point stands. When you squeak, in your typically whining style, of other people being politically correct and of being cowards, do know that at least they are not hiding behind a false name. Proud Hindu indeed.

    To use a rhetoric you love, the reasons Hindus have been invaded by Muslims is because of wimps like you. Stop being one and talk like a man who has the balls (yes this is a reference to your genitalia) to stand up for what he believes in.

  152. @ Atindra Mohan Ganguly

    Calling me/Bengalvoice a “numbnut” does bring genetalia in.
    I mentioned that in my previous post but you probably never got the patience to read the whole of it.

    Atindra Mohan Ganguly wrote:
    “To use a rhetoric you love, the reasons Hindus have been invaded by Muslims is because of wimps like you. Stop being one and talk like a man who has the balls (yes this is a reference to your genitalia) to stand up for what he believes in.”

    Rishi’s response:
    Thats why I say, calling me a whimp will not make Hindus any safer or Islam any less culpable. I have always stood for what I beleive in and worked for it to the best of my abilities. But keep trying your best to get my name.

  153. @ atindra mohan ganguly

    I like it that you chose the name “Atindra Mohan Ganguly” as you nom-de-plum to do your admirable barrage on me.

    Just FYI, jihadwatch website is not run by a Hindu or Jew (the usual suspects arent they), but a person of Turkish origin. Now instead of spending any more time abusing Rishi Khujur, try to fnd out more about him/her.

    Chooo!

  154. Maybe amidst all your Islamic study, you forgot that numbnuts does not imply literally that your nuts are numb but that it is a “phrase”.

    >Thats why I say, calling me a whimp will not make Hindus any safer or Islam >any less culpable

    When you being a wimp call other people wimps then YES it makes you look like a big big….for the want of a better word…numbnut. There is a reason why mainstream newspapers do not publish anonymous articles, people are expected to stand behind their opinions.

  155. Atindra Mohan Ganguly wrote:
    Maybe amidst all your Islamic study, you forgot that numbnuts does not imply literally that your nuts are numb but that it is a “phrase”.

    Response:
    Aha! Now the “phrase” comes in.
    Yes I have to say that when I was busy studying the history of Islamic aggression and its record of butchery, I forgot to realize that me being a “numbnuts” actually does not refer to my genetalia, but is a “phrase”.

    Thanks for educating me on that. In future I will be able to better deal with the river of personal abuses hurled at me by you, as being mere “phrases” and consign them to the proper folder of “trash” where they belong.

    I do not exclude myself from the category of “whimps” when I talk about Hindus. If you may have noticed, I use the word “we” most of the time. I do not cconsider myself to be above or beyond anything that I am asking anyone else from doing.

    I like it that you chose the name “Atindra Mohan Ganguly” as you nom-de-plum to do your admirable barrage on me.

    Just FYI, jihadwatch website is not run by a Hindu or Jew (the usual suspects arent they), but a person of Turkish origin. Now instead of spending any more time abusing Rishi Khujur, try to fnd out more about him/her.

  156. >>>”I asked you a question simple enough…”

    Don’t play injured innocence.

    Your terms of addressing an issue is to dismember society into artificial divison of majority-minority. The fallacy of such divisive mindset is that there is no homogenity among people to warrant such grouping. People hold certain opinions due to diverse reasons. Some, because they have been indoctrinated to adopt such view. Some others, for selfish reasons. Some others, because they are led to believe that holding contrary opinion is a sign of ‘progressiveness’. Yet some others, because they seek the crutch of that charade to justify what is forced upon them- the reverse of ‘sour grapes’ phenomena, people tending to see good in the conditions they are forced to undergo, so that it becomes easier to bear, and gives them the chimera of self-esteem. Yet some others because they seek to appease aggrandizers.

    Grouping all these people, and those who hold the opposite view, in separately homogenous way, is as incorrect as considering the lower part and upper part of a living body separately from each other and homogenous within themselves.

    Such attempt is inconsistent with reality, involves force fitting reality into limited perspective, thereby distorting it and further compounding the intellectual atrophy of such people.

    Legitimacy of a position is not established merely because somebody happens to hold that position. In your home a traveller may take rest for some time, a thief may enter to steal, your neighbour may enter to converse with you, your servant may enter to clean, and so on, each of these people happen to be in your home for different reasons. Their presence in your home does not legitimize considering them as member of your home.

    In a society decisons have to be arrived at considering each position in its own merit, not by dividing people into incorrect groups. It is such decison making that panchayats practice in real India, unlike the westernized part of india where people are divided into groups and viewed in terms of minority-majority. The fractured society that results from such divisive mindset become fodder to western aggrandizing systems of islam, christianity, capitalism and communism.

    dhanyavaad

  157. @rishi khujur

    Stick to talking about bikini cuts and skirt lengths.

    Why don’t you read a little more than the comments directly addressed to you.

    My original opinion on this subject has been mentioned above. Wait I will reproduce that!

    I agree with the basic premise (as I understand) that the ban on burqa is an attack to freedom of expression and a ban never solves the issue (oppressiion of women, if it is the case). A ban on burqa would not result in end of oppresion of women. The men who think such a thing is normal to be done, would continue to do so and women who are used to it, would continue to take it, ban on burqa or not.

    This is entirely my opinion and it stems from the fact that while the sati practice has been abolished, and there are women in corporate houses, there still is female foeticide prevelant in the country and the sex ratio figures in most parts of the country like haryana are not very encouraging to look at.

    However, there has to be a step taken in the right direction (i.e. to end the oppresion, if such exists) and while the ban on the burqa should not happen, the french government and other governments need to take a serious look at this oppresion, and come up with measures that are actually sensible and would have broad effects in future. Ban on Burqa is simply a surface activity (if one were to believe their reason of oppression).

    Sati abolishment was a step taken in the right direction, and so is abolishment of “test the sex of the baby while still in the womb” tests. While, female foeticide is still rampant (as I mentioned above, and no I am not forgetting what I have said before), one can not flaw the judiciary and legislature to take the right steps in the right direction.

    And that is what paramount. “Right Steps” in the “Right Direction”

    That is my argument,I do not bring in stupid elements like bikinis or religion (yes, i club them together) in an argument that is based on fights for basic rights! I don’t bring them in the argument for they are irrelevant, not because of my ignorance. I have enough understanding of both

  158. Whoa!! AG and Rishi!!! Nice stuff to read in the afternoon!!

    And Rishi, you dirty scumbug – I mean RSS pathogenic muslim-hating numbnut – how dare you challenge the secular way of thinking? Don’t you know what just happened to two RRS pracharaks TJ Joseph and Sirin Middya? How dare you question AG or all those secular Bengalis?

    Now go and fix the pavements in your cities in Karnataka, Gujarat (and probably in Paris too) where the remaining enlightened souls from Bengal will emigrate – to join the already emigrated 50% of them – after Bengal becomes an Islamic republic.

  159. @ Ankit
    Phew!!Thats all fine.

    Okay, do you also talk about “global warming” without involving the “Sun” in the context of the discussion?

  160. @ Mangoman
    And my guess is tht AG is neither a Bengali, nor secular. Just using a Bengali’s name. But there is no way to confirm.

  161. @rishi

    Yes, I would not be invoking the sun in the context of global warming. Global Warming is a pollution related problem. Stop coming up with moronic analogies. Use wiki or google for your research, if you are not going to use anything better.

    And what are you doing in a discussion, when your reaction is “Phew” to an opinion?

  162. “Global Warming is a pollution related problem” – half truth. The sunlight is trapped in the green house effect, resulting in global warnming. the pollution adds Co2, which traps the sunlight.

    Anyways, is this how to make false arguments to fool people, Ankit Poddar?

    ~Global Warming can also be cause by dark black tents 😛

  163. @Justice

    If you wish to get into this discussion on global warming:

    What you have pointed out is a natural phenomenon to keep earth suitably warm for habitat. Other wise earth would have been Pluto.

    You could simply go and do a Wiki on Global Warming to understand my statement. If you can make use of the internet apart from this site. I would have provided the link myself, but I believe it would simply put my link up for moderation.

    And very simply put, why do we talk about carbon foot print, Copenhagen, and global warming in the same breath, if it wasn’t a result of pollution?

    Guess, such simple induction logic is beyond you. Irony: Your display name is “Justice”

  164. Ankit,now you see, you have started diverting, only because you do not have any argument against anybody, but just want to argue to prove your “liberal” credentials, about whom nobody gives a damn. Forget it,I am not arguing against you because that would be giving a moron like you too much importance.

    GB, here is another one for you (I would be publishing all such links till you actually are sorry for arguing on behalf of moronic mullahs- http://www.mid-day.com/news/2010/jul/300710-ATM-kiosk-JP-Nagar-abuses-Security-Kumar-beaten.htm

  165. While I wholeheartedly support the ban on the veil, and also do not quite agree that Islam is not relevant to the issue, I must say Justice and Rishi are just proving themselves stupid saying global warming is due to the sun. Guys, if you suggested a wrong analogy, accept it and move on! You have put your points and some people have accepted them. You don’t have to redefine the meaning of global warming to prove the ban on burqa is justified.

  166. @Justice

    You got involved first in the discussion about the analogy extended by Rishi Khujur.

    You better not blame me for diverting the discussion.

    And do not get carried away and do not call me a moron. Kindly exhibit some sense of mutual respect and decorum in a discussion.

  167. Interesting, but a little naive i felt (unlike the usual posts), to take such a strong stand. I’ve been reading The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen where he did happen to mention the French ban. I, myself, do not know a lot about it, but felt what he had written made sense. The western idea of secularism is quite different from India’s. In India secularism means treating all religions at par, whereas in the West it means that the state does not favour any religion in particular. Considering this it does make sense for the french to ban the Burqa( although I do not personally see the need for it ). Also, as many people have pointed out before, and endorsed by Dr. Sen, many girls do it not just out of free will but out of pressure from their families and other reasons, but yes, that does need to be investigated before taking such a strong step. But yes, after reading this post I did realise the rather obvious reason for the govt’s decision, since it is a sure shot way of pleasing the locals who post 9/11 have become skeptical about anything islamic.

    P.S. NO OFFENSE TO ANYONE (people are very eager to get offended these days)

  168. Let me put it this way,I wouldnt board a flight if a couple of unidentified burkha clad women got on too, or for that matter some burly sword and kirpan carrying Sikhs.

  169. The reasons purported by the French government for the ban do go against the ethos of a free society, however the Burqa should be banned because it is a legitimate security threat. Even Syria, a Muslim country, has implemented a ban on it (or at least are discussing the possibility) in certain spheres of public life.

  170. Well has there anyone who came and said they wanted to be burnt alive? No. It doesnt happen because self-preservation is a basic human instinct.
    ——
    Millions of people voluntarily sign for military duty knowing it is risky. Do they have no sense of self-preservation? If one glances at the history and looks at WW1 and WW2, one can see that hundreds of thousands of young man had voluntarily sacrificed their lives. So what is the problem in accepting that during the 2,000 year old history of India some 8,000 woman (stats from Wikipedia) wanted to be burnt alive. As being a Sati was a matter of glory, the statistics are probably overstates.

    The Sati became a goddess. Through death she attained divinity. It was believed that through the act of being Sati, a woman ensured that 7 generations of her family and her husband’s family went to heaven.

    Given such a background, is it a wonder that some woman became Sati voluntarily? Is bravery only confined to Western man not Indian woman?

  171. I see many posts debating endlessly about a muslim womon’s choice to wear burqa and comparing it with some remote cases where hindu widows preferred sati-sahagaman.
    So, Burqa and Sati as EQUIVALENT practices from Muslim and Hindu sides?
    That’s a moronic comparisn. One is supposed to give protection to a living woman while the other one is to rid her family of a liability.

    I’ll give you a not-so-ancient Hindu practice that was chosen by most Hindu women because it gave them security(just like Burqa). After the Sati system was abolished, Hindu Widows (especially in south and west) were asked to shave their heads and resort to temple/midwife/kitchen duties ONLY. The idea was to make them sexually unattractive to men and thus prevent family dishonor.

    Anyway, A blanket ban is never a good solution to any problem in a democracy.
    I would still support a ban of extreme burqa because it poses a security issue.

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