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Under the Veil



Yamini Parashar is pursuing her BA from Delhi university. She likes to write poems and observe things and is concerned with social issues. She identifies herself as a feminist and sees herself as a clinical psychologist in a few years. She’s been a part of a few poetry programmes held in her city.



                                                                       Under the Veil



Under the veil was a woman



Delusion made her sight weak.



She began fearing men



Learning patriarchy in its many forms.



Head down, she has to look with shying gaze



She used to play on the barren streets



Now became a bride



And nowhere she got to see



Bride and daughter as given the same care.



Has to cook in the smoke of the chullah



The vision blurred from inside the veil.



What she wanted was nothing much



All that happened they believed as fate



Said, “We are women, we have to live this way



We want our bride to be the same, passive,



Juggling work always and veiling…



Can’t breathe inside the veil



Can’t see the world outside.



But veiling is my honour



Otherwise the gaze of any men could threaten me



It is my duty to protect my honour



Because a man’s dirty gaze is normal



But my liberation is not.”



Asking women to veil themselves



They say, “It is a shame women should have



And shame and honour is only for women.”



And when asked should men also veil themselves?



The women said, “They are men. Why do they need to hide their face?



Privilege is their birth right.



Facing consequences only for their liberation



From the suffocation they say only women have



It is a curtain that sets them apart from the world



Secluded in every form from the world.



They said veiling protects our dignity and honour.



But my honour does not lie in my body



You consider me pure if a predator has not seen me with a dirty gaze



Because a woman’s worth is dependent on how desirable a man finds her.



Living under the curtain, subjugated in every aspect



Men say, ‘It is protection!’



By veiling us, making sure that man finds somebody else to turn his dirty gaze and misdemeanours to.”



Veiling her to make sure that their voices are silenced;



To become passive’



To constrict women to domestic spheres and reproductive roles



Segregating women and telling them they are already weak,



That they need men’s backs to stand straight



Leaving their education and freedom



To live in the precincts of the home



“Perpetuating the differences and telling me that I’m weak



Made me weaker, by telling me to blame myself.



Virtuous conduct is all my duty.



Not falling as a predator’s prey is my responsibility.”



Women are harassed under the ghoonghat too



Women are beaten who resisted the purdah



Victimised by acid attacks for not being passive



“I’m looking through the vision of the veil



Suffocating and blurred it is



To live like a dead soul



With it covering all my skin



So I don’t fall into the predator’s eyes.



Hiding my skin is my honour.



Gazing at the ground



So I’m considered passive.



Can’t talk loud when the men of house are around.



Kitchen is the precinct of my life.



To be good mothers and wives



Who have obeyed since ages



Shattering the dreams that I hope to see



Telling women that you have to only aspire for marriage



I won’t bring disgrace to you



All I want is to be set free.”



 



Opinions expressed are of the writer.

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