*Disclaimer*: This article merely questions the importance and symbolism that a dupatta holds in the life of a girl specifically one belonging to a desi household. It is not at all directed towards attacking the principles of Islam.
Do you ever hear the door bell and fling off of your bed ninja style to get your dupatta? Do you spend all day long re-adjusting your dupatta while balancing a tray of cups filled with tea to the brim? Yes, it is quite difficult being a girl in this age.
Being a girl brought up in a desi household is very confusing as you have your brothers dressed comfortably in a baggy shirt and pants whereas you have to strut around the house while dragging a 10m long cloth which most probably chokes you or comes along behind you mopping the dirty floor. Other than the fact that a dupatta helps dry your hands when they’re wet or wipes the sweat off your face on a typically Karachi-esque sunny day, does it really have any function? It’s not Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak or superman’s cape then why must girls be forced to live with the scrutiny of wearing this long and slippery “kapra”. Does it have any significance? It surely does from a religious point of view but when we think about it practically, it doesn’t really specifically serve any purpose.
Significance of a Dupatta:
It deeply saddens me that an article of clothing holds so much value in the eyes of the public. According to our society, a dupatta provides a girl with respect, honor as well as dignity. It is a vital piece of cloth for any girl living in our society. Thus if a girl has the audacity to leave the comfort of her room without a dupatta on means that she is of a loose character and her parents did not raise her right.
The Dupatta Controversy:
Have we ever stopped to wonder why we have put this much pressure on an item of clothing? It cannot protect us from harm or evil’s eye nor can it ensure us a place in paradise. It certainly is not made up of any magical powers. Its just a cloth, with no superpowers or specialties, just a plain item of clothing. Does wearing a dupatta automatically make a girl well-respected, well-educated or does she all of a sudden begin to offer the 5 prayers of the day? Does wearing the dupatta ensure that the girl will be well-protected and safe-guarded from the world’s evil eye?
On the other hand who is to say that a girl who does not wear a dupatta regularly does not pray or is not close to Allah? There is no real answer to that is there, or any solid proof to give evidence to this fact. Then why is it that our Pakistani society is so adamant on compelling young girls to dress this way; to be covered head-to-toe in a sheet. Why is it that these girls have to go through emotional and physical harassment due to the absence of this “dupatta”. Girls get catcalled and harassed no matter what they wear.
This just shows that a 10m of cloth does not solve any problems. The only way our society can get rid of this disease is by fixing people’s mentality. This mentality that “boys will be boys” is NOT okay. Boys will not be boys. Boys should be respectful gentlemen. They should treat girls with care. Not only should they care about their own female relatives but they should also be respectful towards all females around the world, no matter what religion, race or attire.
The meaning behind a girl’s dupatta:
Why don’t the people of our society stop to think about what it really means. When you tell your daughter or your sister or your wife or your mother to cover herself with a dupatta, you are telling her she is weak. You are telling her that this dupatta is her so-called shield against the world. You are telling her that she is a prey for the predatory men.
I do agree that to some extent girls must cover themselves up, they must be dressed in a decent attire and must be well-mannered. However when you think about it Islam doesn’t tell us that women are weak, Islam tells us that women are strong, they hold the power to bring a child into this world, they have heaven beneath their feet. Then why must it be women who tread carefully?
This is definitely a very ill-fated situation because as a matter of fact, the Almighty Allah commands men to maintain pure intentions. They should lower their sight, away from a woman. Men were commanded by Almighty Allah to safeguard and protect their women but unfortunately men are more interested in getting married to 4 separate women rather than treating their one woman well.
This is an issue that must be addressed. The only way our society can cultivate is if we cut off ties with these old-fashioned mentalities and theories. Men must be respectful to women, they must treat every women right, with dignity and honour. Whereas women of our society should raise their voice against any wrongdoings. They should stand up for themselves and fight for the rights that the Almighty Allah has so proudly bestowed upon them.