‘Indian Presidential candidate Mrs. Patil’s remark on ‘purdah’ system shows her total ignorance’

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net
Bhopal, June 18: The Indian Presidential candidate Mrs. Pratibha Patil's comment that "purdah (veil) system was introduced in India to protect women from Mughal aggressors" has been termed as reflecting her total ignorance of the Indian history and the dignified place that Indian cultural heritage has accorded to woman through the immemorial times. If this is the level of infatuity of a woman who is a candidate for the highest office of the country, it by all means disqualifies her for the job. 
The above observation has been made by Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani, the former president of All India Muslim Forum, in a statement on a news report wherein Mrs. Patil made such a comment. He is presently based in Tanzania where he is Dean, Faculty of Law and Shariah in Zanzibar University.
It may be pointed out here that "The Hindu" report entitled "End the veil system: Pratibha" in today's edition said Rajasthan Governor and UPA Presidential candidate Mrs. Pratibha Patil on Sunday left historians and Muslim social activists astounded by her remarks that the purdah (veil) system was introduced in India to protect women from Mughal aggressors. 
Mrs Patil was addressing a function marking the 467th birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap at the Nagar Parishad auditorium in Udaipur. She said though Indian culture always respected women, the veil system began during the Mughal rule to "save women from Mughal invaders." 
She said: "Today we are citizens of free India. There is need to put a stop to such practices. That alone will ensure real respect for women. When women are progressing in every field, it is our duty to discontinue such practices." 
Dr. Sherwani, however, expressed astonishment as to why the Muslim groups are taking it as an assault on the 'purdah system' prevalent in the community, and viewing the most preposterous comment of Mrs. Patil as reflecting her "pro-RSS" credentials. Her comment is a brutal attack on the very concept of 'Indian womanhood'. Despite all the ideological perversions of "RSS and other 'Hindutva brigade", they always remain deadly opposed to the westernized woman dress code and other obscene activities which are considered as the concomitants of the freedom of females. It is the same groups which defy the immoralities of the so-called 'Valentine Day', Dr. Sherwani pointed out.
He said that 'veil' or 'purdah' is the legacy of Indian civilization. If Mrs. Patil's memory is not so ephemeral, she may recollect the news reports regarding the funeral of late Madhav Rao Scindia, that no woman from the royal family came out of the house and accompanied the funeral procession, as they consider it highly immoral to come out in the public with open faces. 
Dr. Sherwani asserted that it is the single comment which morally deprives Mrs. Patil of the right to occupy the highest office of the country. It is a serious aspersion on the modesty of the vast majority of modest Indian women. Being herself a woman, her disparaging observations about the Indian woman is not a temporary aberration but an unforgivable sin, and if she has any scruples she must voluntarily withdraw from the Presidential race, he argued. ([email protected])