Cosmetics,Jeans and Indian Culture

So I had taken a break from blogging and was busy studying. But the Vice President of BJP Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi made me come back to express my opinion. He said “kuch hamari behne..mahilayen..lipstick aur powder laga karke aur mombatti le karke aur paschimi sabhyata ke saath waha par aa karke politicians ko gaali de rahi thi. Ye theek waise hi kar rahi hai jo Jammu Kashmir me algaavadi jo hai wo bhi yehi kaam karte hai…blah blah blah”.  Translation – “Some women wearing lipstick and powder have taken to streets in Mumbai and are abusing politicians, spreading dissatisfaction against the democracy. This is what terrorists are doing in Jammu and Kashmir”. You can see him commenting at this link. Sigh! One would expect politicians to be refined, educated, progressive and most importantly to have good PR skills or at least a PR officer. Though BJP has distanced itself saying “These are Naqvi’s personal views and the party had nothing to do with it”; he has found support in RSS now. On NDTV, Sharmila Tagore requested to women that they should ignore Naqvi’s comment and that he is a nobody. By making this an issue we would be giving him way too much importance. I beg to differ because there are some things which I just have to express. And by keeping quiet we let these politicians get away with such so called gaffes.

Now I had no idea that the J&K terrorists and women speaking up against our good-for-nothing politicians are comparable. I mean I cant imagine how on earth one could even compare them? It is so so ridiculous. How can we expect such politicians to lead India and make it a superpower someday when their inner beliefs and thoughts are so archaic, orthodox and chauvinistic? For your information, Mr.Naqvi, one of the results of “India Shining” is that even my household help and many very much Indian women like her can afford to buy cosmetics (even if fake). Sadly that in your opinion takes away her right to speak up against the people she elected to represent her interests. Mr.Naqvi, kindly clarify first what exactly is the western culture aspect in the protests? Is it the candle lighting or the makeup of women protesters or the act of protest itself? I think you meant the makeup. And I suspect Mr.Naqvi’s comment was for the women wearing jeans too.

I have had it with this constant complain about western culture and Indian women following it.  Who said lip-stickapplying make up or using cosmetics is something western? Indian women and men have been using henna and kohl (kajal) since ages. In fact the history of cosmetics spans at least 6000 years of human history and evidences can be found in Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Chinese civilizations. As for the lipstick, it is known to have been used around 5000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia, when semi-precious jewels were crushed and applied to the lips and history-of-cosmeticsoccasionally around the eyes. Women in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization applied lipstick to their lips for face decoration.  And the best fact about lipstick – During the Islamic Golden Age the notable Arab Andalusian cosmetologist Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis) invented solid lipsticks, which were perfumed stocks rolled and pressed in special molds, and he described them in his Al-Tasrif. (Source Wikipedia. More about history of lipsticks at this link). All these are ancient civilizations and not western (which I think means America and Europe). Moreover please enlighten me as to why  and how wearing cosmetics makes me less cultured as any other Indian such as you, Mr.Naqvi?

Further, why does wearing jeans make us women less Indian ? Even after so much of progress, women and women_s_jeansgirls wearing jeans draw more attention or rather get more ogled at than those in salwar kurta or sari. I still remember the expressions on the faces of my male colleagues when I first wore jeans to an informal dinner party. Later I came to know that one had even commented that I should not have worn jeans infront of them!! WTF!!! I really don’t get it that if a woman is wearing a decent (not too revealing) top and jeans then how is it different from a sari which by the way exposes more than salwar kurta or jeans-top? You would rather have a woman be uncomfortable wearing sari than give her the freedom of choice,movement and comfort. I want to know that why does wearing jeans make me less Indian and again less cultured?

And if by western culture Mr.Naqvi meant that women should not come out on streets to protest and to speak up at all, then God help us!! I don’t want to express my  thoughts at such absurdity and make my blog move from G-rated to A-rated.  And for India’s sake I hope and pray he didn’t mean the candle lighting as western culture.

Don't you dare use lipstick or powder and destroy Indian culture.

Destroyers of Indian Culture

I wonder what our Honorable President Mrs.Pratibha Patil or Mrs. Sushma Swaraj of BJP has to say about this? I wont count Sonia Gandhi as she would of course have something to say as she represents Congress. Lastly, I would like to know the number of women in Mr.Naqvi’s family, the condition of their life and their monthly expenditure on cosmetics.

Ok rant over. Back to studies. You people keep giving me feedback at this post if you haven’t done it already.

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Does lipstick make me less Indian? by Phoenixritu

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37 thoughts on “Cosmetics,Jeans and Indian Culture

  1. Gosh !! politicians are impossible..
    why do they make so dumb statements.

    The main questions i have for all agianst western culture is-
    what is wrong even if men/women start wearing jeans and if they accept the western culture..
    IT wot destroy over indian culture ..
    ppl forget that english is western too …
    its all silly ..
    And by keeping quiet we let these politicians get away with such so called gaffes.
    they are going to get away even if people dont keep quite :P

    Reema: Still its better to speak out than keep quiet!

  2. I am glad people have started commenting and showing their anger. It is an insult to us as Indians and women

    Reema: Welcome to my blog! Yes we need to express our anger to stop such comments. Keep visiting!

  3. I can not imagine that if we are not in a saree and covering our faces with it, simultaneously shouting and abusing politicians, we are not Indians!
    Where has this been defined as Indian woman?
    In fact, why is there a definition for the Indian woman?

    Reema: Good point! What or who exactly is this Indian woman?

  4. Aaaarrrghhh, stomp stomp.
    I am speechless. I am thankful you have the eloquence to be the voice for us who cannot (and some some who will not) speak (so articulately, I mean).
    Besides, my thoughts on this man’s mind cannot be expressed without using some explicit language.
    The politicians who love Indian tradition and hate lipsticks… we all know the kind of deeds they do when they are not on the stage.

    Reema: Aaaarrgghhh!

  5. Here is my hypothesis to explain his statement:

    He envies women for being able to wear colour cosmetics in public without fear of oppobrium; he is a closet cross-dresser. ;-)

    Next time, a politician criticises women, try and entertain this image in your head and laugh it off. Some singes have jumped off l’arbres a bit too early (Nomad can explain this one!).

    Reema: :lol:

  6. I wish I knew more expletives…seriously!! Bharat mata ki raksha kar rahe hai yeh log!! yuck…to even think that as even a sarcastic remark!!
    Absolutely no focus on what the issues are…and such guys are those who represent the nation! I better stop here…cos if I went on, I might end up making this blog A-rated with one comment (with the few swear words I know!)

    Reema: Thats what worrying me most. How can we expect such people to lead us?

  7. ohhhh !!!

    I thought you will take a break from ur studies and and u will write about the the statements given by Kerala CM which literally insulted Major Unikrishnan and his family .. He said that not even a dog woulfd have visited his place when he was not allowed to enter the house by Major’s father .. But here u were taking ur anger out on Naqvi for his senseless comments which even should not get any importance..

    Ohh but I forgot that to show off the intellectual skill and the sophistication level, one needs to defame BJP, its any policy and its every leader .. So BJP’s Naqvi gets higher priority than Kerala’s CM who is from CPI ..

    Anyways, all the very best for the exams .. it seems that u r a hard working person and hard work always pays .. so i’m sure that u’ll do good .. Best wishes !!

    Reema: No need for sarcasm dear. First of all if you think I support CPI you are highly mistaken. I don’t support any political party. ANY. Second even if your favorite party’s leader said some bad thing, you should not turn a blind eye to that. Why on earth should his comments not get importance? Because he is from BJP? We women are hurt by it and I m voicing my thoughts as a woman. But ohh I forgot that it takes a lot of courage to admit something is wrong with things and people we support than defend them blindly each time. Third, nobody is defaming BJP or criticising its policies. A BJP leader commented on women and I reacted being a woman. Thats all. Do read my post carefully. I have also ranted against men who think jeans is against Indian culture. Fourth, if you notice I have not even written about Mumbai Blasts. Everyone is writing about it and I didnt think I can add anything new. Same with the Major Unnikrishnan case. But I felt I could say something against this misogynistic comment and I did. Take it in the right spirit even if its against one of your favorite leaders. My post is not against BJP but a misogynistic comment made by a leader who by chance is from BJP. Please stop construing my post as a political one.

    and thanks for the indirect compliment that my post shows that I have intellectual skill and sophistication level. Trust me I dont show off! Thats really me. :P

  8. Ahhhh
    so u r back :D

    LOL… A sensible person wouldnt ever react to his comments…. Well you(mr politician) are not wearing lipstick and powder… then why are you abusing us?

    Reema: I dont know if I m back or not :) Umm I m very much sensible and think its right to react to his comment :)

  9. Baap re… Relax… Why spoil your mood by cursing those stupid politicians. Until our government is governed by such idiotic guys comments like these are bound to come. Good that you have voiced your opinion. Now go back to your studies :) All the best!!

    That collage is good. Did you take time out to make it or googled it?

    Reema: Naa my mood isnt that spoiled. Thats blog is for! Thanks. I made the collage. :)

  10. I agree with Sharmila, He is nothing, no one and women should not give much importance to this. Keep doing your deed. His nonsensical, irrelevant remark (at this point of time) should not be acknowledged.

    Reema: By ignoring him, we may lead him to believe that he can say anything and get away with it. By discussing and speaking out, we make him think twice before commenting in future.

  11. Well well these politicians have their foot in the mouth perpetually, I tell you! But it also brings forth the basic chauvinism which is hidden inside this man!
    Loved your reply to Soham!

    Reema: Yes atleast we got to know his real thoughts. Thanks!

  12. The politician was not talking to us.. he was talking to the people in his village or constituency who will be asked to feel proud that they may be poor and backward but they are the custodians of our culture. They will be made to feel (i hope they dont elect him) that being backward and poor is a privilege for them. I hope they realise that they are poor because to this bastard they are just a vote bank, and he has no interest in doing anything for their upliftment.

    Reema: Welcome to my blog! That is a good point. Maybe his constituency is filled with people who share his mentality. and he wanted to be in their good books. Keep visiting.

  13. Reema,
    Very Very true, It is a true WTF moment :)
    What is bothersome is every now and then this viewpoint rears its ugly head in various forms – religious heads, politicians, general public. The lopsidedness of attitudes is annoying to say the least.

    Reema: Welcome to my blog! Yes when educated and professional people ay such things its appalling. Keep visiting!

  14. I had assumed you wouldn’t be blogging and didn’t come here! Haven’t been paying attention to my surfer, and today I did that and to my surprise you posted! Well, Naqvi revealed his prejudices against western culture as he also made a remark about men in suits or something similar at the same time. I guess its an inferiority complex.

    Reema: It can be. Chauvinism is the result of inferiority complex usually.

  15. Been there, done that.
    i don’t know what NEW to say, something that hasn’t been already, but as Reema clearly proves it, it’s not just the politicians, it’s our whole society.. and it makes me sick

    Reema: Dont lose faith. I’m sure not everyone is like that.

  16. Welcome back Reema! I also beg to differ with some of the commentators here with regards to Tagore’s insight in “ignorance”. We can’t just ignore! And it’s not about glorifying anyone. If we don’t discuss and agree/disagree this issues openly, we wouldn’t be respected and it wouldn’t be just Naqvi in future throwing such comments all over places! Ignorance is not the best policy in this matter.

    I guess Naqvi is just finding excuses to flame a political riot. Gosh, it’s just too much!

    Reema: Yes!! That is why we need to discuss and rant about such comments so that they refrain from saying such things in future.

  17. I understand your wrath. I do. But I will tell you same thing, just ignore. You ahve written, vent it out, and dont bother about such stupid chauvinistic assholes. Look at all of them, you can find every single with absurdity, sordidness and corruption.

    How are your studies going?

    Reema: My studies are going on just fine :) Thanks for asking.

  18. Lets forgive them. They are politicians. They want to get that 5 seconds of fame on TV. Now everyone know this guy and would say ‘hey this is the guy who made that remark”
    They want to be infamous for whatsoever reasons.

    Reema: Yeah publicity is publicity good or bad!

  19. It is a politician’s job to speak. They speak no matter what happens. If you looked traditional with no make up they would have still commented. So just let it go!

    Reema: Our being upset is necessary so as to make the politicians think twice before saying that comes to their minds.

  20. what if the dog keeps barking at the sun coz its hot(This is an obscure translation of a tamil saying)…

    Reema: dogs keep barking, elephant goes his way. (hindi saying translation) :)

  21. When I saw the interview repeated several times on the news channels, I felt really good that the media was ridiculing him to no ends. Serves him right! He talked like a true pedestrian and now I am wondering if he is educated or not.
    He needs a black face and a donkey ride.

    Reema: Even pedestrians talk better than him!

  22. gaawd. im sure you would have devoured him if he was in front of you making this statement. I am proud to be a citizen of this country where my leaders are so illiterate and ignorant. When will the educated ones come on power?

    Reema: Mr.Naqvi is a graduate! But then literacy and education are two different things.

  23. SIgh!!! I have stopped questioning these idiots.

    As somebody said that these lipstick applying & suit wearing people are the ones who pay tax & thus their salaries & security…thankless buggers….

    I guess these idiots are scared because for the 1st time middles class ppl have come out united..and our numbers are mind boggling…if we want we can change things…and this scares them.

    Reema: Yes they are scared and thats cause making them commit such fatal political mistakes!

  24. Women are always blamed in our country! Second your thoughts. They say motherland, but we hardly see any respect shown towards women.

    The max they can do is resign like cowards when they have no answers.

    Reema: Yes it is all a big irony!

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  26. Hhmm true true this is a very good article, even though in australia we dont have a certain culture that gets disrupted but i have several friends whose families are strong with culture and demand that their teenage kids wear saris or so forth yet yehh ok good hmm bye

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