ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'Externalising' Internal Problems

Pratibha Patil, while calling for an end to the purdah system, very laudable advice, falls into the trap of popular perception that this system was introduced to protect women from the invading Mughals. The reality is, of course, quite different. Purdah was introduced much before the Mughals invaded parts of India. In different religious communities, the system of purdah was prevalent for reasons of status and control/ domination over the lives of women. Also, most armies, irrespective of their religious affiliation, have committed atrocities on women, and to single out the Mughals alone is a half-truth, more dangerous than a blatant lie.

The view that attributes all our ills to the “Mughal invasion” originated in British historiography in an attempt to demonise Muslim kings from whom they were wresting power. Communal historiography and communal organisations picked up this false perception and continue to propagate the same. This has been a way of “externalising” an internal problem.

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