society and norms – Dress and Appearance: The Burka

Viewpoints

This video explains more about the practice of veiling and the burka.

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BurkaThe burka (or burqa), also known as a chadri [Chad-REE] is not traditional attire.  The burka was mandatory under Taliban rule and common throughout Pashtun areas of the country.  The purpose of the burka is to ensure modesty. The part covering the head is tight to keep in place a mesh panel out of which the woman sees. The rest is voluminous, gathered in back in pleats that allow freedom of movement. The woman maneuvers the garment with her hands so that the mesh panel stays in front of her eyes. When modesty is not needed, the whole front part of the burka can be tossed over the head. Many women still wear the burka out of modesty and comfort, but some wear it for safety in areas where the Taliban are still active. Many Afghan police women also wear burkas to conceal their identity.

Qudsia ZohabQudsia Zohab works at the national museum and is studying literature at Kabul University. She says of the Taliban era: "…I particularly remember the burka - it was heavy and suffocating. Wearing it makes you feel ashamed. One of our relatives didn't wear the burka - she was beaten so badly [by the Taliban] on the spine that two days later she died. Many women wear burkas because they are still under the control of their husbands. Of course, some are happy to wear them because they don't have to think about what to wear. When my aunt is feeling unattractive in shabby clothes and no make-up, she wears her burka. "  [4]

 

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