From my childhood, whenever I wear a saree, I always put on a bindi with it. Still, now, my mother and elder sisters put a bindi on my forehead whenever I’m wearing a saree. They also wear it, whether they’re wearing a saree or a salwar kameez. That’s why the women of my family always had to hear from people, “Are you Hindu? Why do you wear such large bindis?” I don’t understand, where does my religion show up on my face when I’m wearing a bindi? We wear bindi because we like wearing it, it makes us feel pretty, not to show what our religion is!
The incident Lata Samaddar had to experience is known to many women in our country. Not only women, but men are protesting against the bindi issue too. A bindi doesn’t specify any religion, it is more of a culture of Bengali women. Bengali women have always worn bindi whether with Kajal or Shidur(vermilion). When a foreign person wears a Bengali attire, they wear a bindi. It has been an identity for so long, that it cannot be so easily removed!
Bigotries and prejudices have brainwashed some of the people in this country. The hatred inside them towards other religions and cultures is so intense that choosing violence wouldn’t be an issue for them. Not that they are practicing their religion properly, they are only using the name of religion to get away with all the wrongdoings with others. They are only showing how inhuman they are, how extreme they are! If such a tiny and harmless thing like bindi can hurt their belief, then the problem is within them. Their insecure selves cannot bear the identities, beliefs, and freedom of others.
After the bomb attack at Chhayanaut’s Bangla new year’s event in 2001, it was clear how severe the bigotry in this country is. Pohela Boishakh is an event for the Bengali people. Where were their religious sense when they went on attacking so many people, just because they think it was a ‘Hinduani’ festival. Didn’t their religion stop them from committing sin at that moment? These fanatics have been also trying to hamper the event of UNESCO-recognized Mangal Shobhajatra of Charukola Institute for the past few years. There are no restrictions for people to celebrate Pohela Boishakh, people of every religion, every race, and every caste can celebrate it. Pohela Boishakh is a festival of happiness and joy, everyone can celebrate it without hurting someone else. Then where do this violence and hatred come from? The violence has reached the point where the fanatics cannot even tolerate someone wearing a bindi. If their belief gets hurt seeing someone’s bindi, how fragile and weak is their belief then? Is this even faith or are they just using the name of faith to get away with all the sins?
Many people are protesting against the incident that happened to Lata Samaddar. The reaction of fanatics is horrible on this. They are using offensive and indecent words to counterattack, as they don’t have any logical explanation for their points. It is clearly seen how their mind is when they use such vulgar actions against a healthy and harmless protest. When Suborna Mustafa raised the topic of bindi in the national parliament, these extremists chose the most indecent way to question her personal life, her acting career, and her personal freedom. Many of them said it is not such a big issue to be raised in the parliament. What they do not understand is, that this is an obstruction to a culture, to the freedom of women. They do not see how women are being harassed in the streets, in fact, they support that harassment. They will put every effort to shackle women, but present themselves as religious to comfort themselves, that everything they’re doing is right.
Most of the people of this country have the mindset that women should not get much freedom, they should be locked up in the house. Even in the house, they should be dominated according to their mindset. They think that women who work outside the house deserve to get harassed. They want to destroy the culture of this country too. These fanatics want to suppress the festivals, culture, and everything of the Bengali people, thus they choose violence, and brutality. But we cannot let them get away with all these immoralities. The more they obstruct, the stronger we have to be to protect our culture and rights. The way Chhayanaut never stopped organizing their event of Pohela Boishakh, we will not stop wearing bindi either. We will wear saree, kajal, bindi and everything we like. This is our identity, our beauty. It is the identity of our roots, of our strength and courage. We will not lose to any bigotry, we will fight for our rights, and our weapon will be our bindi on our forehead.
Recently, Lata Samadder, a college teacher from Dhaka, Bangladesh filed a complaint against Nazmul Tarek, a constable(protection division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police(DMP). In her complaint, Lata stated that Nazmul hurled abuses at her for wearing a “teep” on her forehead. When she protested, he tried to run her over with his bike. This incident triggered condemnation both online and offline. Women’s rights organizations condemned this incident and demanded justice. He has been suspended for his criminal act.
About the writer:
I am Purnasha Aurora. I studied in Nalonda High School and later in Daffodil International College. Being a student of Nalonda, I have always been into creative writings. I’ve always been into music, films, crafting and every other creative stuff. I like to write about stuff that affects me or makes me wonder. Back in school, we used to discuss and write about the contemporary issues of the world all the time. As we had the freedom to talk about anything that comes to our minds, I could explore the world inside my mind in my own way. As I’m growing to see more of this world, the discrimination and the ignorance among people affect me a lot. So I try to bring up my thoughts on my writing that others can relate to. I hope that my words will make people wonder a little more, make them a bit kinder towards others, and make the world a bit better than it is now.
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