Photographed in Pune, Maharashtra, India. This series is inspired by a newspaper article quoted below:
A ban on covering faces by women while driving motorbikes has irked several women’s organizations in the city. Satyapal singh, who took charge of the City Police Commissioner last week, has disapproved women covering their faces while driving. The contention of Singh is that terrorist can take advantage of the practice to disguise themselves. Pune, which reportedly has the maximum number of two wheelers on the roads, is listed among the most polluted cities in the country. The controversy also hit the blogsphere with girls protesting the ban on blogs and social networks such as Orkut and Facebook. – Times of India 27 July 2008
In reaction an online forum Fun Enclave stated this:
Twenty-two-year old engineering student Chaitra Date always wears a scarf to college to protect herself from city pollution. “This is ridiculous. Why are they banning scarves? We need to protect our hair and face from polltution. Even helmets hide faces, but they are compulsory. Why don't they ban helmets? “ Chaitra asks.
“Terrorism is on the rise and police wants to be more strict and increase security, so its ok,” says another student Anuradha Joshi.
Pune has about 3.5 million women who use two-wheelers and most wear such protective scarves. It remains to be seen whether they abide by the orders of the police chief. – by blogger ‘Zeus King of Gods’ 1 Aug 2008
On the other hand blogger ‘Amit Paranjape’ wrote in an article about ‘50 ways in which Pune has changed over the past 15 years’ said:
“Even back then, Pune was the national leader as far as beautiful collegiate crowd from the fairer sex was concerned. Back then, the teenage boys (and many, if not all men) had a great time enjoying this beauty on strategic places such as FC Road, as the crowd zoomed past on their 2 wheelers. Unfortunately today, with the invention of the ‘wraparound scarf’ it feels like Pune has significantly regressed in this area! Keep aside the security debate for a moment – in the wider interest of the male population, an immediate ban should be passed on this headgear!”
India a place with a sense of humor and a widespread nonchalance towards following rules and regulations especially on the roads, has dealt with this ban by simply ignoring it. As the heated arguments weave in an out of political content, the women continue to protect themselves from the vicious smog.
A famous pop song by Himesh Reshamia came to my mind while photographing this series. Jhalak dikhla jaa, jhalak dikhla jaa, ek baar ajaa ajaa ajaa – Show me a glimpse, oh show me a glimpse, just once come here, close to me. Show me a glimpse criminal says the police. Show me a glimpse beautiful women say the boys on FC Road. Jhalak dikhla jaa Pune.