Post No. 10,654

Date uploaded in London – –    12 FEBRUARY   2022         

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Neither in the Indus Valley Civilization nor in the Rig Veda we come across purdah or veil that covers face and head.

Neither in 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature nor in Sanskrit literature we see face veil or Purdah

All the Temple statues and paintings are semi nude; no veil; we see only bra and covering clothes from waist to foot.

2300 year old sculptures in Buddhist centres Barhut, Sanchi and Amaravati show beautiful ladies without face veil.

The only thing on women’s head is some crown or diadem. In all statues or idols of South Indian goddesses, we see this. Even in the Indus valley one with lot of necklaces, a Mother Goddess, wears a crown/ or headgear in a crude form.

Some people have pointed out that something like a veil is referred to in 8-33-19 and 10-85-30 of the Rig Veda.

In the footnote to 8-33, it is clearly told they referred to one named Asangan was cursed to become a woman and she became a man again. A strange story indeed. In that context the garment is spoken of. Griffith translated it as VEIL and the general meaning of veil is ‘that which conceals, covers’. Only in the context of Muslim women, it means a face cover.

It is a known fact that Muslim women who lived in desert conditions of North Africa and Middle East covered their faces to protect them from sand storms. Muslims in Turkey and several other countries including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia did not wear veil. Now only fanatical religious leaders force them to put on veil. Even in Iran we saw it only after revolution under Khomeini.

With the background of 2300 year old sculptures, paintings and 4000 year old Indus Valley clay figures we can boldly say Hindus never worn anything like face cover or head cover.

After Muslim invasion in 8th century, North Indian women started covering their head and if necessary their faces to protect their honour.

Bharatiyar ,the greatest of the modern Tamil poets, criticised face veil as the custom of Delhi Turks. Tulukkan or Tuurkkan is the Tamil word for a Muslim. R=L change is universal

Here is what Bharati said:-




The liana waist and the jutting breast

Are to be veiled, as Sastras so prescribe

2.By veiling the breast and liana -waist

Beauty is not under a Bushel hid;

Amorous art is not taught by word of mouth

Can love flourish behind a veiled visage?

3.’Noble are Aryan customs’ you say

Did ever Aryan dames their faces veil?

Having met more than once and love exchanged

Wherefore this coy persistence- all formal?

4.Who will then dare essay, me to obstruct

If by force I pluck the veil from your face?

Of what avail is pretension idle?

Can ever rind of fruit the eater defy?

–Translation by Dr T N Ramachandran from Tamil

One may wonder why did poet Bharati describe his imaginary lady love Kannamma with a veil? The whole poem is against veil ; perhaps he wanted to boldly attack veil under some disguise. He was disgusted to see Hindu women in North India  covering their head with sari. He lived in Kasi/ Varanasi for some time, and he had widely travelled in North India.

Bharati knew that Hindu women wore it because of Muslim atrocities against Hindu women. Bharatiyar described all these atrocities in two long poems on Guru Govinda Simhan and Veera Sivaji in Tamil.

Rig Vedic references from 8-33-19 and 10-85-30 are not about face veil or head cover. Rig Veda gives three words for dress worn by people

Vaasaas 1-115-4; 7-72-2

Adhivaasas 1-140-9; 10-5-4

Atka or drapi or uttariya , later days sipra  5-54-11, 6-172, 8-7-25

This was called usnisa or pugri in later times.

They can be broadly classified as upper garment, lower garment/ loin cloth and Usnisa, a turban or a diadem or a crown in kings and gods.

Rig Veda Mandala 8 Hymn 33-17/19

1. WE compass thee like waters, we whose grass is trimmed and Soma pressed.
Here where the filter pours its stream, thy worshippers round thee, O Vṛtra-slayer, sit.
2 Men, Vasu! by the Soma, with lauds call thee to the foremost place:
When comest thou athirst unto the juice as home, O Indra, like a bellowing bull?
3 Boldly, Bold Hero, bring us spoil in thousands for the Kaṇvas’ sake.
O active Maghavan, with eager prayer we crave the yellow-hued with store ol kine.
4 Medhyātithi, to Indra sing, drink of the juice to make thee glad.
Close-knit to his Bay Steeds, bolt-armed, beside the juice is he: his chariot is of gold.
5 He Who is praised as strong of hand both right and left, most wise and hold:
Indra who, rich in hundreds, gathers thousands up, honoured as breaker-down of forts.
6 The bold of heart whom none provokes, who stands in bearded confidence;
Much-lauded, very glorious, overthrowing foes, strong Helper, like a bull with might.
7 Who knows what vital ower he wins, drinking beside the flowing juice?
This is the fair-checked God who, joying in the draught, breaks down the castles in his strength.
8 As a wild elephant rushes on this way and that way, mad with heat,’
None may compel thee, yet come hither to the draught: thou movest mighty in thy power.
9 When he, the Mighty, ne’er o’erthrown, steadfast, made ready for the fight,
When Indra Maghavan lists to his praiser’s call, he will not stand aloof, but come.
10 Yea, verily, thou art a Bull, with a bull’s rush. whom none may stay:
Thou Mighty One, art celebrated as a Bull, famed as a Bull both near and far.
11 Thy reins are very bulls in strength, bulls’ strength is in thy golden whip.
Thy car, O Maghavan, thy Bays are strong as bulls: thou, Śatakratu, art a Bull.
12 Let the strong presser press for thee. Bring hither, thou straight-rushing Bull.
The mighty makes the mighty run in flowing streams for thee whom thy Bay Horses bear.
13 Come, thou most potent Indra, come to drink the savoury Soma juice.
Maghavan, very wise, will quickly come to hear the songs, the prayer, the hymns of praise.
14 When thou hast mounted on thy car let thy yoked Bay Steeds carry thee,
Past other men’s libations, Lord of Hundred Powers, thee, Vṛtra-slayer, thee our Friend.
15 O thou Most Lofty One, accept our laud as nearest to thine heart.
May our libations be most sweet to make thee glad, O Soma-drinker, Heavenly Lord.

16 Neither in thy decree nor mine, but in another’s he delights,—
The man who brought us unto this.

17 Indra himself hath said, The mind of woman brooks not discipline,
Her intellect hath little weight.

18 His pair of horses, rushing on in their wild transport, draw his car:
High-lifted is the stallion’s yoke.

19 Cast down thine eyes and look not up. More closely set thy feet. Let none
See what thy garment veils, for thou, a Brahman, hast become a dame.

नहि षस्तव नो मम शास्त्रे अन्यस्य रण्यति |
यो अस्मान्वीर आनयत ||
इन्द्रश्चिद घा तदब्रवीत सत्रिया अशास्यं मनः |
उतो अह करतुं रघुम ||
सप्ती चिद घा मदच्युता मिथुना वहतो रथम |
एवेद धूर्व्र्ष्ण उत्तरा ||
अधः पश्यस्व मोपरि सन्तरां पादकौ हर |
मा ते कषप्लकौ दर्शन सत्री हि बरह्मा बभूविथ ||

nahi ṣastava no mama śāstre anyasya raṇyati |
yo asmānvīra ānayat ||
indraścid ghā tadabravīt striyā aśāsyaṃ manaḥ |
uto aha kratuṃ raghum ||
saptī cid ghā madacyutā mithunā vahato ratham |
eved dhūrigvedaṛṣṇa uttarā ||
adhaḥ paśyasva mopari santarāṃ pādakau hara |
mā te kaṣaplakau dṛśan strī hi brahmā babhūvitha ||



In South Indian weddings the bride and bride groom must play competition like games in the evening on the wedding day. It is called NALUNGU. Probably this is absent in North Indian weddings. So to surprise the bride groom, they decorate and dress up the bride nicely and put a curtain between the bride and bride groom. After a great suspense it is removed, and the bridegroom will be stunned at the beauty of his bride. He has seen her before several times, but not dressed as a bride. So to make it a memorable moment they introduced a veil or a curtain. Otherwise, it was never a part of Hindu women’s dress until the Muslim invasion; we know the famous story of Padmini and Aladdin Khilji. Just to protect her honour Chittor Rani Padmini  entered fire with hundreds of her girlfriends and servants.

Last but not the least, 3000 year old Egyptian, Greek, Roman statues of females did not wear veil.


 tags- Purdah, Veil, Muslim, Women, Bharati, Rig Veda, Indus valley

Poet Bharati and Mahatma Gandhi condemned Purdah (Post No. 5408)

Compiled by  London Swaminathan

Date: 9 September 2018


Time uploaded in London – 17-07 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5408

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.



Bharati born on 11 December 1882

Died on 11 September 1921


Subrahmanya Bharati, the greatest of the modern Tamil poets, condemned purdhah (veil) on Hindu women. he teases animaginary lady love Kannamma on wearing veil.

Here is the poem with English translation by Dr T N Ramachandran


Removal of the Veil by Bharati
TN Ramachandran’s Translation

It is the custom with Delhi Muslims
To keep the lotus face with veil covered
The liana waist and the jutting breast
Are to be veiled, as Sastras so prescribe

By veiling the breast and liana waist
Beauty is not under bushel hid;
Cupidry is not taught by word of mouth;
Can love flourish behind a veiled visage?

Noble you say are Aryan custom s old;
Did ever Aryan dames their face s veil?
Having met more than once and love exchange d
Wherefore this coy persistence— all formal?

Who will then dare essay, me to obstruct
If by force I pluck the veil from you r face?
Of what avail is pretension idle?
Can ever rind of fruit the eater defy?


Orignal Tamil Verse



Gandhi on veil from Nehru’s ‘Discovery of India’ (posted yesterday)


Anti Purdah
Gandhiji has been, and is, a fierce opponent of purdah and has called it ‘a vicious and brutal custom’ which has kept women backward and undeveloped. I thought of the wrong being done by the men to the woman of India by clinging to a barbarous custom which, whatever use it might have had when it was first introduced, had now become totally useless and was doing incalculable harm to the country. Gandhiji urged that woman should have the same liberty and opportunity of self -development as man.



Sanskrit in Mahmud of Ghazni Coins!


Compiled by london swaminathan

Article No 1579; Dated 16th January 2015


Who is Mahmud of Ghazni?


He invaded Western India from Ghazni in Afghanistan 17 times and plundered all the temples and palaces on his way. He died in 1030 CE.


What is Rajatarangini?

It was the chronicle of Kashmir in Sanskrit. Rajatarangini means River of Kings. Written by Kalhana 900 years ago. It was translated into English by R S Pandit, Brother in Law of Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India.

R S Pandit gives some interesting information on Sanskrit language:


“The poets of Kashmir were in demand in India and Kashmiri Bilhana, the poet laureate at the court of Chalukya King of Dekhan gives us a charming account of his arcadian homeland. In describing the women of Kashmir, their beauty and  accomplishments, he tells us that they spoke Samskrit fluently ( The Life of King Vikramanka, Canto 18-6). Untle the 11th century Samskrta was undoubtedly dominant in Gandhara and the Punjab as the language of culture. Mahmud of Ghazni must have been aware of its importance since the first coin he struck in Lahore bear the legend in Samskrta”.

“These coins are in the British Museum and the legend on them is the rendering in Samskrta of the Islamic creed”


“In Kashmir it remained the official language even during the rule of the early Sultans in the 14th century. Kalhana thus wrote in the language of the Gods and ignored the Apabhramsa not merely because he was sure of a large audience in Kashmir but for wider publicity abroad”


No Word for Purdah in Samskrt! Women’s Freedom in Ancient Kashmir!!


“There is no word in the Samskrta language for Purdah (screening of women from the gaze of men) or for harem or seraglio. The ruling princesses had plurality of wives who resided in the Antah-pura (Interior Apartments) or the Suddhanta (Pure Interior). As in the earlier age of classical drama and literature, we find from Kalhana’s work that seclusion or veiling of women was unknown even among royalty”


“The quees of Kashmir, pursuant to the ancient law and convention, were sprinkled with sacred waters of the coronation side by side with the kings, who shared the thrones with their consorts. The queens had separate funds, their own treasurers and councillors and were actively in the government of the country.”


Inter caste Marriages


“Inter caste marriages are mentioned and a princess of the blood royal was given in marriage to the Brahmin superintendent of a convent. The best of the Kashmiri rulers Candrapida and his brother Lalidaditya, the ablest warrior king were, according to Kalhana, the king’s sons by a divorcee, a Baniya woman of Rohtak near Delhi. Mother of another warrior king Samkaravarman was the daughter of a low caste spirit distiller. King Cakravarman married an untouchable Domba woman and made her the premier queen who enjoyed previleges among royal ladies of being fanned by the Yak-tail. Her relatives were appointed as ministers”.

–Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, R S Pandit’s translation.