Peculiar Shuttlecock Burqa Still Resists to Exist in Pashtun, Saraiki Communities

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By Irum Saba

ISLAMABAD, Oct 28 (APP):The Burqa (veil) has grown in country’s fashion industry with certain region-specific modifications of colour and style but peculiar shuttlecock, despite rapid social transitions, still keeps its existence alive in the traditional Pashtun, and Saraiki communities.
This is phenomenal that Afghan-native and Pakistan’s Tribal belt’s cloak mocked and ridiculed in Western and Eastern modern societies and seen as exotic not only ensures its survival but no compromise is seen on its atypical identity.
A significant number of cultural populace of Pashtuns and Saraikies in Pakistan kept it owning with dignity and as a hallmark of their class despite rapid modern transition in Country’s social sphere. Pakistani women had transformed it by introducing new shades and adding embroidery on it without affecting its aboriginal identity.
“I know our wearing shuttlecock is mocked by so called modern segment but I confidently move in the city while performing my domestic responsibilities as my spouse is abroad for a livelihood, ”
said a 39-year old Shazia Aurangzeb Khan hailing from Peshawar.
“We live in Rawalpindi and visit our home town on and off but we cannot afford to cut off ourselves from our moral and cultural values that give us identity”, she added.
Sheena Gul, 81-year old and mother in law of Shazia said shuttlecock burqa is our women’s’ free movement license and a principle obligation bestowed by our ancestors to keep us safe from society’s’ bad eyes. My eye sight is weak and I am too old to wear a shuttlecock but we cannot allow our young girls and women to quit this practice.,”
“I used to wear a gown with a scarf at school but as I started my college my father asked me to wear a shuttlecock. It was hard to adopt this change as my friends belonging to other communities mock me and call me a shuttlecock Avenger(an animated cartoon character), Samreena, a student of Intermediate in city’s women college, expressed her sentiments. “But I don’t mind it at all in view of the fact that I am obeying my father and carrying my Pashtun culture along with me,” she proudly claimed.
Hina khan another Pashtun girl from Sawat valley said, “Honestly I don’t feel comfortable wearing it but I have no option as I’ve to continue my education in obligation to my parents’ instruction”.
A saraiki woman from Mianwali, Yasmeen Akram said, “No make-up no new clothing requires under this veil when you have to move in urgencies for market or hometown. I wrap myself in it while going to natives as it is being followed there strictly. It is so convenient to be dressed in it, no pins and pains to hold its pieces together like other prevailing burqas”, she remarked with satisfaction.
“I wear it as my husband appreciates me for putting it on as well. I am 43-year old and wearing it since I stepped in my teens,” said Dr Shaheena Niazi from Esa khel. “I proudly say that I have completed my Phd and carrying my professional carrier in this shuttlecock,” she added.
“My family never pushed me to wear it instead I personally like to keep my cultural values alive because I grew up seeing my mother and aunts wearing. And I am proud to disclose that my children also love to see me in it and my daughters are ready to adopt when they will grow young,” she concluded.
These shuttlecock burqas saw no modification in design and follows the basic structure over the years but now a variety of colors and stuffs are available which was a rare phenomenon in recent past, said Shahid Arrain a shopkeeper in Mianwali city market. He said prices start from Rs 1300 to 3000 depending on stuff and quality of stitching. But surprisingly, he told, it can cost you up to
Rs 10’000 for a special version.
Sardar Azeem from Dera Ghazi Khan said shuttlecock is a symbol of our women’s piety and purity and a religious obligation for them to adhre for free movement in the society.