An advertisement of the Haryana government in a monthly magazine portraying ‘ghoonghat‘ or veil as the “identity of the state” has caused a huge uproar. The ad that carries a photograph of a veiled woman alongside a caption reading “Ghoongat ki aan–baan, mhara Haryana ki pechchan (Pride of the veil is the identity of my Haryana)” appeared in a recent issue of Krishi Samvad, a magazine published by the state.
Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala hit out at the government saying the issue revealed the BJP government’s “regressive and parochial mentality.”
“This shows regressive mindset of the BJP government. Women from Haryana are ahead in every field. Just three days back, a young woman from the state was crowned as Miss India. Girls from the state have made a mark in sports arena and other fields. India-born US astronaut late Kalpana Chawla hailed from Haryana,” Hooda told PTI.
“Women wearing veil was not the original culture of Haryana. This practice started only after foreign invasions and because of the fear of invaders. In South India, there was no ‘purdah’ system’, ” he added.
Wrestler Geeta Phogat also chimed in saying it is reflective of the mindset that does not let girls come out of the veil. However, BJP leader and senior minister Anil Vij said the government is not endorsing women to be behind the veil.
“What you are seeing in a government magazine should only be seen as what was Haryana’s tradition. Nowhere are we saying that we want to force veil on women. We are in favour of women empowerment and we have done a lot in this regard,” Vij told PTI.
“We are committed to women’s education and have decided to open colleges for women after every 20 km. As regards the photo in the magazine, this has been the tradition in some parts of the state, but it is not binding,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI)