What’s There In The Dress?

August 3, 2012 at 9:15 PMAug (Friends, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

In both the cases, Guwahati and Mangalore, there has been a lot of argument about the dressing of the girls. A strange society that we are we blame the victims for the crime and thus silently approve the crime.

I heard one fellow saying something as ridiculous as, “If they were not indulgent in <beep beep beep> with that short clothes what else were they doing, PhD?” Wow! What an argument Sir-jee… Wonder what the relation between dressing and research is! Wonder if PhD requires a dress code! Truly, intelligence has limits but stupidity knows no limit.

The super unintelligent people speak as though dressing is the measuring scale to measure a person. When they go on to say that girls wearing short clothes are of loose character and what not, I feel a strange camaraderie with those girls.Yes, I do feel a strange solidarity…

To say that girls wearing short clothes are of loose character is as ridiculous as saying a man wearing a kurta and having a beard is a communist!!!Yes, I wear kurta. I have grown bread and trim it only when there is pressure from my parents. Shaving is a strict no! Now just because I wear kurta, which I do because I love wearing kurta for I feel comfortable in it, and because I am not just lazy to shave but also love myself with a beard for it makes me look only half ugly, it doesn’t mean I am a communist.

Oh world, come on…

A bunch of students recently were telling me how when they came to the educational town were told- by who known whom- that the man in kurta with a beard is a communist and apparently also has naxal connection! Being new to the town they might have believed it then only to realize that the man always in kurta with a beard has not even read a single page of the Communist Manifesto or even The Little Red Book. Telling me what they had heard about me this bunch of students laughed. I too laughed. I laughed more not at what was told about me but why such a thing was said. Just because I wear kurta and I have beard!!!  Some students, I am told, were also advised to avoid me because I am a communist. And the idea that I am a communist dawns on the brainless skulls and tongues because of my appearance!!! To add to the kurta and beard, I hardly laugh or smile which is purely manufacturing defect for which I pay by being a suspected ‘communist’.

A lady who has known me from my younger days, I am told, said recently, “He used to be such a lovely boy…” while speaking about me to someone. What has happened to me now? I am not lovely anymore. Why? I have become a communist in her eyes! Or to look at the matter objectively I wear kurta and I have grown beard! If I could grow beard in my younger days then, for sure, I would have grown beard then too. But nature has its own way… So nature delayed my being a communist!!!

So the mathematical calculation is this: beard + kurta + absence of smile = communist/naxal sympathizer or supporter which is no different from the mathematical calculation girl + short clothes + partying = loose character.

More often I am a “communist” in the eyes of the world because of my kurta and beard. But there have been a few instances where people have asked, “Are you a poet?” just by looking at me. Simple. It is the kurta and beard combination which brings the conclusion. Once a classmate asked if I wore kurta because I am a poet. “To assume that I wear kurta is as stupid as assuming that everyone who wears a kurta is a poet,” I said and both of us had a good laugh. In another instance an old man came to me, during the engagement of a very good friend, and held my hand. The old man was so old that he had to be held another person for support. I believe this old man asked that young man to take him to me and there he was, holding my hand and telling me that he saw some saintly shine in my eyes and asked me if I had read the vedas and what not. In the eyes of the old man i was a spiritual man in whose eyes there was some saintly shine! But more than often it is the designation of a “communist” that I carry like Jesus carrying the cross saying, “oh lord forgive them for they neither know what they are saying nor what I am.”

When I see these girls getting trapped in the ‘loose character’ designation I feel a strange camaraderie with them for I myself am chained in the designation of a ‘communist’. For all you know the girls may be just feeling very comfortable with short clothes like I am with my kurta and beard or maybe they just love wearing those kind of clothes like I love wearing a kurta. It is no fashion statement or an ideological statement. But the problem is with the omnipresent eye which with its mind’s eye disciplined by conformist attitude looks at anything nonconformist as an act of dissent and hence it becomes unacceptable.

Dissent is not accepted in any society, agreed. But what is more absurd in these cases is that the measuring scales of dissent. I can understand when Manmohan Singh says Maoism is the greatest internal threat. Whether I agree or not is a different matter. But yeah I understand and understand that he is speaking of Maoists who are grounded in their ideology and rooted in their militancy. But if somebody is to say that someone is a Marxist or Maoist just because of his clothes then boss… I don’t know if I am to laugh or cry.

Similarly what is absurd is that girls wearing short clothes get branded “slut.” I also find it absurd when it is said that girls wearing hijab or burkhaa is “confined”. This attitude of equating something totally unrelated stuff is the absurdity. It is a joke, a sickeningly hilarious one at that. But not a good joke because it is difficult to carry the burden of being known as what you are not and what you haven’t done.

It can be argued that what is wrong if one is a communist or one is a slut. But that would be to accept what one is not. I personally dont think there is anything wrong if one is a communist. But at the same time I wouldn’t want to claim that I am one when I am not.

All this is as ridiculous as arguing that all Muslims are terrorists. As ridiculous as bearded people being suspects while travelling. As ridiculous as Muslim names being under scanner. What does a wo/man’s religion has to do with what s/he is? What does a wo/man’s dress has to do what s/he is?

If a Muslim wo/man is to prove that s/he is not a terrorist by declaring something like “My name is so and so I am not a terrorist,” it is only an insult to oneself. Similarly if a girl who has been molested by some sexually frustrated/ deprived men has to prove, because of her clothes, that she is not a “slut” or of “loose character” she should only be insulting herself by trying to announce it. If I have to tell everyone that I am not a communist and that I have no naxal connection, I should only be insulting myself. It is a self-insulting act because the allegations made are ridiculous and the connections made before the allegation is even the more ridiculous.

But at this point of time I think I should just tell the world that it is highly unintelligent to make connections between religious identity, clothes, appearance and the character and personality of humans. On behalf of all those who have been subjected to this burden of ‘designation’ based on illogical connections of the world, I would like to register my protest on the face of the nonsensical world which makes nonsensical connections and nonsensical judgments by saying only this- Grow up!


  1. rifatmursalin said,

    Yeah, it is rather unfortunate how the society is so stereotypical of certain subjects. You know how the saying goes: “NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.”
    What we wear is our personal choice, so it’s absurd that we should be judged based on what we wear. I wholeheartedly agree with you. 🙂


  2. dauntlessdaisy said,

    The problem with the people in our country is that they always fail to see logic or reason behind something and fall back on religion/customs/practices for everything and anything. The cultural diversity that India boasts about is it’s weakest point. Connecting a girl’s character with her clothes seems like an easy thing to do rather than standing up against an assaulter. On the same hand, calling someone a communist seems like another easy thing than participating in resolving the issues of the country. In other words, we have a habit of choosing the option which is easy and convenient for us. You are talking about growing up, I would say the logical citizen is yet to take birth.

  3. Omar Vadakkan said,

    It is really quite strange that you compared the incidents with the girls in Mangalore and Guwahati to your own predicament of a few people mistaking you for a communist because of your ’beard and kurta’ which you state redundantly for some reason early in this article/blog. In the former, the girls’ character and morality is being defined and in your case, just a political view point. Being a communist is not a part of anyone’s character, and I’m sure nobody would invade your privacy and violently attack you or molest you for being a communist.
    I didn’t even know there was an association between beards and plain clothes and being a commie until I read it here and it’s quite shallow to consider it a real problem.So it’s almost callous how you drew any parallels between those horrible incidents and yourself.
    In my opinion, everyone is judgmental and anywhere in the world, people will judge you based on what you wear and how you present yourself. What I’m getting at is, you cannot teach the kind of people who committed those hideous acts, about contemporary fashion. What is wrong is acting on misconceptions and attacking and violating someone. If you think some girl dresses like a slut, what right do you have to beat her up? That’s the question and not what’s in the dress.
    And I think we all know that the girls wearing skimpy clothes thing is a poor excuse in a lame attempt to appeal to a more conservative population. The people involved in these crimes are no defenders of traditional values, but are acting on jealousy and misdirected anger that stems from their poor upbringing, lack of education and general poverty.

  4. rifatmursalin said,

    Hello! I really enjoy your posts! You continue to inspire me through these authentic, heartfelt posts.

    I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Kindly see this link: http://rifatmursalin.com/2012/08/08/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

    Thanks! 🙂

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