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Muslims are not the only ones who observe purdah. Some Hindus also do it.

According to Jawed Naqvi (DAWN 9 Apr, 2009), the first Indian president (Rajendra Prasad) “was not allowed to see the face of his wife for the first several years he spent with her in his village in Bihar. A maid would accompany him to his wife’s room in the middle of the night, after everyone had gone to sleep. The hurricane lamp would then be blown out. Before dawn, Dr Prasad had to slip back into his bed with the rest of the family”.

This reminds me of the Arab tribe about which I wrote sometime back, where the men are not allowed to see the faces of their wives or other women in the family.

I wonder how a man would identify a female accident victim. But then, where they live, they probably don’t have roads or cars, but suppose such a man and his wife have gone to perform Haj, and his wife is killed during a stampede. How would he be able to identify his dead wife among several dead bodies?

Shakir Lakhani
www.chowrangi.com, 18 May 2009

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