Friday, October 06, 2006

Veil Fetishism?

There is a very lively debate on comment is free. Jack Straw felt that veils impede communication and wrote a column about it. "I felt uneasy talking to someone I couldn't see", he said. Perfectly sensible I think. He wasn't proposing any legislation or anything like that.

Now people are up in arms against his racist and orientalist judgments and views. A veil (or a scarf?) wearing girl responds here. More responses here and here.

Lenin pours some sarcasm on Straw as well and points to some other links and also finds out that veil fetishism is on the rise! Ah well! I like veils too (not the burka, mind you, which is hideous). Of course, I am talking purely in aesthetic terms! No politics. No normative views.

2 comments:

bhupinder said...

Lenin's reference to 19th c poetry reminds that there are a lot of references to the hijaab in Urdu poetry.

One of the very powerful one's is in Majaz's nazm 'Hijaab e fitna ab utha leti to achcha tha" and also the sarcastic sheyr by Allama Iqbal which I cannot recollect immediately but which went on to suggest that "Needlessly do the people give a bad name to the mullah, in his heart of hearts, he doesn't approve of the hijaab either"

Alok said...

that must be a witty poem by Iqbal. now i am curious to know the whole!

those filmi ghazals and poems are also full of Hijaab references. It serves as a nice and easy device for romantic poets I guess. Beauty masked behind a veil and its pleasures offered to the luckiest, which invariably is the poet himself :))

I remember a few filmi songs... rukh se jara nakab utha de mere huzoor... or the song where rajendra kumar is singing odes to the eyes of the heroine because that's the only thing he could see of her face when he accidentally encountered her on the street!!

I wonder what would feminist critics say about these songs. I think they are also divided between those who support cultural relativism and those who are universalists.