Aligarh are increasingly using the traditional burqa as a fashion statement,
embellishing it with designer touches. Burqas inspired by English gowns or
those with Chinese collars, are doing brisk business. So are the modern abayas
from Dubai beautified by laces, pipings and pintex design.
These changes may be redefining the garment – observers say some two-piece
burqas have the chutzpah of cholis and the flirty feel of frocks – but the
makeover, expectedly, hasn’t gone down well with the city’s maulanas.
“Women are precious in Islam and the purdah was introduced to protect
them. The new style of wearing fitting burqas, and adding studs and stones to
them attracts attention and emboldens rapists,” says Mufti Shamun Qasmi,
vice president, All India Imaam Council.
Shopkeepers in the city say that demand of the garments is high, despite what
the orthodox voices may say. “Around 60% of my customers come looking for designer
burqas,” says Rehaan, a burqa-seller at the city’s Amir Nisha market.
“They are also viewed as a status symbol since many of the pieces feature
intricate zarkan embroidery. Today, many women are working and they want to
assert their empowerment through these designer abayas.”