Behind the Burkha

Posted: February 20, 2005 in Uncategorized

Remember the popular song, ‘Choli ke peeche kya hai’?
That song may have had posed some questions to some people at the time when the song became a hit, but another question that has plagued people for years, has been, ‘Burkhe ke peeche kya hai?’

In this day and age, one often wonders about the relevance of the Burkha. Muslim women have scaled many heights and being beneath the burkha does scant justice to them. However, this post is not about the merits or demerits of the burkha culture.

What I am talking about is the mystery that is, the burkha clad woman!

Sometimes the face is visible and there is lesser mystery. But many times, its only the eyes that are visible, and occasionally, even the eyes are kind of hidden with a cover of sorts. That is when imagination comes into play.

In that, if you get a chance to see well manicured toes and soft feet sneaking out from below the burkha, that can conjure up a notion of what else is above it. And if by chance, you have the previlege of listening to a beautiful voice from under the burkha, there is no way that you can stop your mind from creating a vision around it all!

So what is it that fascinates men about such burkha clad women?

Is it that whatever is a mystery attracts extreme curiosity?

Is it a question of the forbidden fruit being the most chased after?

If the burkha was not there, there may be disappointment about what lies beneath, in most cases! But as long as the burkha is present, you only have your own imagination to conjure up a vision of what lies beneath. And perhaps in that imagination is the fascination of discovering the mythical diva or the apsara, if you please!

Many a scene in early Indian films, have been inspired by the burkha and its mysteries. I even remember a famous song featuring Rajendra Kumar on stage, at a college function, singing,

“Yaad hai mukhko un aakhon ki paheli woh nazar,
Jab tera husn mere ishq se takaraya tha…”

He has accidentally bumped into the burkha clad woman, only seen her eyes, and has pretty much fallen in love with her, and penned a classic poetry!!

Likewise, there is the classic dialogue from Pakeezah, where Raj Kumar writes,
“Yeh pair bahut haseen hai.Inhe zameen pe mat utariyega.. “

In praise of just the feet of Meena Kumari, that he saw, in the train…

Yeah, the enigma of the burkha clad woman!

P.S. Just to make it clear, this posting has not been inspired by any burkha clad woman that I have recently come in contact with! 🙂

These days I take a new road from work to home, and it passes through an area where traffic slows down, and where also, there are a lot of burkha clad women on the streets. And observing them every day, I was inspired to write this piece..

(Necessary disclaimer had to be given… !)

  1. RPM says:

    Wow, so this is *not* a movie review blog then, eh?

  2. SPM says:

    Yeah.. was it not starting to look like a film review blog only?! I HAD to post this, to remove that impression.

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