A poster that has surfaced in the Chikhli village in the Navsari district of Gujarat apparently lays down a number of laws for Muslim women when they are walking on the roads. Shockingly, it dictates that not only should Muslim women lower their eyes when on the road — a definite safety hazard — but that they should not also wear heels or any jingly foot ornament!
Strange, and at times life-threatening, religious diktats are nothing new in India, like the time a preacher was arrested in Kerala for advising the parents of a newborn not to give the infant any milk until the five calls for prayer were heard. However, the reason the latest case takes the cake is that it tells Muslim women: "Tum naqaab mein raho, zamaana aukaat mein rahega." Loose translation: "Stay in the veil, and the world will stay in its limits."
It not only instructs Muslim women how to walk on roads, but also tells the exact kind of veil and dress they should wear. It even provides visual depictions of the dresses and veils with colours and designs that it says should not be worn by Muslim women walking on the roads.
What's more, the poster — put up by the local Ittehad Foundation — provides 10 points on how Muslim women should and should not behave when walking on the road, the first of which says they should always walk by the absolute side of the road, so they do not come in between men! Another says they should not venture out without their veil.
Other diktats, according to the poster — which noted author and activist Tarek Fatah put on Facebook after being provided it by one Sonam Mahajan — prohibit Muslim women from not only wearing heels but also any foot ornament that may make sound.
Meanwhile, Fatah seemed to have made a small error when putting up the photo. He wrote on Facebook: "Check out the only permitted dress code is the black sack Obama wore to escape to Pakistan." We are sure he meant the al-Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden, and not the former US president.