Sunday, March 8, 2009

What women wear

The obsession with women's dress amongst the guardians of our social culture should be viewed from the perspective of the human right of equality. Under what obligation is the woman expected to adhere to the 'Indian dress' when men have opted for the more comfortable shirt and pant of the west a century back, completely eludes me. Recently a lady who was debarred from entering into the Christ college campus because she was in jeans and sleeveless T, was accused of making a mountain out of a mole hill. I agree clubs have a dress code and so do other institutions but the dress code specifies dresses for men as well as women and everyone is informed beforehand. A club and other such organizations deal with small groups of people, if somebody from outside has come to run an errand in the club then he/she is not expected to be dressed in the dress code. Therefore the lady is perfectly right in pointing this out- she is not a student neither is she a part of the college so her dress does not come in the perview of the authorities there. The right to equality is granted under Article 14 of the Constitution. Discrimination on the ground of sex ( amongst other things) is prohibited under Article 15. Our Constitution is based upon the principles of justice, liberty and equality and is committed toi the preservation of the dignity of the individual. All these lofty principles some defendable in a court of law are blatantly violated and no case is filed on the ground of violation of a Constitutional right. We keep refering to our ancient culture where women are venerated and worshiped and divine goddess, but that arguement does not stand in this day and age. The lofty religio-cultural ideals will for ever bind women to the definition of womanhood within that religio-cultural paradigm. Thus a woman in jeans cannot be venerated as a goddess, only the sari clad woman can evince such emotion-leaving all others who do not conform to that description open to attack. Justice can be brought about only by invoking the Constitutional rights which apply to all women equally irrespective of caste, class, religion, culture and any manner of dress.

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