As the holy month of Ramadhan is in its initial stage, the trend of wearing a Purdah (veil) can be seen growing among women in Kashmir especially among college girls and working women, however in a more modern and happening way. Rising number of women in the valley are adopting 'Purdah' purely out of choice with slight add-ons.
Clad in bright red coloured headscarf, donning a floral designer Pakistani Kurta over chic Benetton jeans, Osyla Majid (24) is one among the young lot of Kashmiri women who are making a trend by blending both western and Muslim cultures in order to look as fashionable as ever.
Osyla says the attire had to undergo a change so that young Muslim women like her kept pace with the fast modernizing society. “The trend of combining Purdah with jeans makes it more wearable for young girls as one looks both fashionable and within the limits of religion. Most of the girls I know now prefer to wear the combination of jeans and colorful scarf’s. It looks cool,” she says.
The image of the veiled woman is seen rapidly becoming acceptable to all those people who otherwise felt that she would be the icon of regression rather than progression in fashion. Rafia Amin (25), who started wearing hijab only couple of years ago is of the same opinion.
“I started wearing hijab out of my own choice only two years ago. I do wear Hijab, but only over jeans. I know I may sound unusual. The hijab otherwise looks very medieval. Before that I would think of purdah as a very unfashionable thing,” Rafia remarks.
While Purdah (veil) essentially is considered as a fundamental part of Islam and it ought to be as simple as it could be, the local Kashmiri women however can be seen making a style statement out of it here in the valley.
Like Osyla and Rafia, the rising inclination of young Kashmiri women towards Purdah in a modern way is attributed by many as an effort to replicate what Muslim women in Gulf countries do. In Muslim countries such as United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Malaysia, maximum number of women can be seen wearing western dresses with their heads covered.
“I have been to Dubai many times and nearly all women there embark hijab over jeans. The same trend is fast catching up among the young women of Kashmir. More and more young girls in Kashmir are combining Hijab with western outfits in order to look fashionably best,” says Syed Haider, a local.