Often, these marriages are performed in great haste as the groom comes to India for a short holiday. In their enthusiasm to clinch, what appears to be a highly desirable marriage alliance, which will open up new opportunities, exposure and happiness to their daughter, the parents may throw caution to the wind and seal the match.
The link between women’s clothing and patriarchy is important to acknowledge and understand if we are to address some pertinent questions around women’s agency and ability to exercise control over their choices, bodies and sexuality – questions that feminists around the world, including in South Asia, continue to struggle with.
Sub-Saharan Africa itself is very diverse. There are Muslims, Christians and people whose cosmological beliefs and practices hark back to the thousands of years before the arrival of the monotheistic faiths. South Asia has also had some cultural impact, particularly in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. Against this general background, it is not surprising that notions of feminine modesty, which influences the regulation of dress, vary across regions and religious traditions.
Then came a time when this small-town simple Sati Savitri-esque girl moved to a big city. Sucked into city fashion, she couldn’t resist skirting sinful hemlines and being trapped in T-shirt tapestry. All her sanctity theories about clothes were thrown in the trash for good. In the process, she happily shed her desi avatar by shedding her saris and proudly embraced the ‘modern’ attire.