Elsewhere in India, much is being made of a Muslim girl wearing a scarf to college. Should she be free to do it? Should she not?
Astonishing the kind of things people have time for.
Here, the Muslim children of the village go to the local convent in the daytime in the prescribed uniform, which includes short pinafores for the girls. Like the rest of the children they too sing Christian hymns to Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the evenings, wearing more traditional garments, the boys and girls cover their heads and go together to the local masjid for their Islamic lessons. No one finds this strange.
How is it that Muslims allow their children to sing prayers to a Christian god in a convent school?
I put this question to Farzana when I give her lift to the local market. Farzana is a fiery and rather beautiful young Muslim woman with two little children. Her husband is a part-time butcher, while she herself makes samosas at home to earn a little money since her rather touchy and conservative shouhar will not allow her to go out to work.’
Farzana doesn’t seem to think it matters. ‘Let them sing,’ she shrugs. ‘The children know who they are, isn’t it. So what does it matter?’
This seems to be the general attitude here. Yet these are staunch Muslims who observe all the customs and rituals, including namaz five times a day, though rarely do the women wear a burka.
It’s probably the same in a hundred villages and towns where people don’t give much importance to who is wearing what and why.
Which seems to suggest that those who make a hullabaloo over such things are only troublemakers,encouraged to be chauvinists and worse by those who fear them and a law which does nothing to deter them. Happily, they don’t exist here.