Gauhar Khan Slapped: Questions Of Morality

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“Being a Muslim woman, she should not have worn such a short dress,” said the 24-year-ol Akil Mallick.

Yes, you read that right! While attending a feisty event of musical exuberance, this 24-year-old man, Akil Mallick chose to style himself as a moral policeman and chide Gauhar Khan, a Muslim lady for her dress code. A night that was meant to be jazzy and overflowing with the flamboyance of music, turned rather dark for the Tinsel town lady, Gauhar Khan. This Bollywood actress has been a famous super model and the winner of the reality show Bigg Boss season seven. The anchor of the musical reality show, India’s Rawstar, Gauhar was shooting for its Grand Finale last evening when the rather glamorous event saw a murky twist for her. While on a break, a man from the audience named Akil Mallick began teasing her to which the lady retaliated with protest. Infuriated, Mallick touched her inappropriately, following which he slapped her. Startled and dismayed, the lady broke down to tears, unable to comprehend the sudden roll of events.

Though the man was overpowered by the bouncers present in the event and handed over to the police, his words echoed questions on morality. As Gauhar is a Muslim woman, according to Mallick, it is deplorable for her to don a dress “too short.” Well, as this self proclaimed moral policeman raised his eyebrows at her dress, he also raised several other questions pertaining to religion as well as one’s liberty to choose one’s attire. According to Islam, a Muslim woman is not permitted to expose her beauty except what is naturally visible. She is dictated to wear a Hijab that is a head gear, which covers her lustrous hair, neck, ears and a Khimar meaning cover, so as to conceal her feminine curves from the male gaze. Conservative as it is, such rules totally go against one’s freedom of expression.

This incident is certainly not the first one to have occurred in India, though. What a woman chooses to wear has always been in limelight. If a woman is raped, she is accused to have provoked the rapist by means of her indecent clothing. Even in this case, this man who claims to be the champion on dictating one’s morals was reported to have harassed Gauhar. It was only after she protested against him that he hit her and ostensibly, threatened her. It is high time that these moralists understand that a woman’s dress is not the mark of her morals. Her clothing, whether too short or too long is not an invitation for anybody to come up and molest her.

This man, Akil Mallick, arguing for the dress codes laid down for women by his religion seems to have forgotten about the guidelines emphasized by the same urging men to respect all women by maintaining the “hijab of the eyes.” He has been arrested and accused of violations under IPC sections 323, 354 and 506 that hold him guilty of voluntarily causing hurt, assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty and for criminal intimidation respectively.

Wearing a dress “too short” is no way a mark of any woman falling “too short” on morals. It is not the female clothing that needs to undergo change but such conservative thinking that considers men to be men, easily provoked and as individuals who are incapable of controlling their sexual urges, needs to change.

Sangeeta Purkayastha

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