“Tell the believing women to
lower their gaze and be modest,
and to display of their adornment
only that which is apparent,
and to draw their veils over their bosoms.”
The Koran
The Chapter of the Light

“She shall be called a woman, because she was taken out of man”
The Holy Bible

Submission, renunciation and repentance are all taken as the ideal ‘qualifications’ of women. In an era where we talk of women liberation and empowerment the fact remains that ‘gender differences do exist’. We living in cities might not experience it that massively than the majority of the country does. Our religious texts and epics promote it largely.
I happened to watch a documentary, by Merajur Rahman Baruah, ‘Shifting Prophecy’. It was about the struggle of rural Muslim women. It is about their fight against the hollow standards of the conventional ‘Jamat’. The discriminatory rulings for men and women and the patriarchal standards set in Tamil Nadu. The documentary presented both sides and the sexist remarks of the Islamic male elders left me in a state of disbelief. The women are not allowed to be a part of the Jamat and their voice is not heard even by the Law of the land. ‘STEPS’ an organisation for elucidation. Enlightenment and empowerment of women rights has come as a boon. Sherifa Khanam the founder and mentor of the organisation has been fighting it hard to make a difference.
They are now in the process of constructing a ‘mosque’ for women or a ‘community centre’ exclusively for women. A women jamat is another goal which they are slowly achieving. Such inspirational stories need to be voiced. The voice of the marginalised and suppressed should reach the millions who are oblivious of their suffering.
Feminists are often taken as rebellious women who and seen as ‘out-of-the-lot’ people. The truth is that due to presence of such people in the society their presence becomes all the more mandatory.

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