Women on motorbikes — what’s the problem?

Published: February 22, 2013
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The writer retired as professor of physics from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

The writer retired as professor of physics from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

For a Pakistani woman seeking to travel on a motorcycle, socially sanctioned rules define how she may sit. Although unwritten and unspoken, these are inviolable: First, no girl or woman may drive a motorcycle or clasp the handlebars with both hands. Second, although she can be a passenger behind a male driver, she cannot straddle the pillion seat. Instead, she must perch herself with both legs on the same side and hope she will not fall off. To sit otherwise is considered a violation of female modesty.

With millions of motorcycles already in the country and their number growing daily, one might have supposed that the matter would have been discussed in some public forum. But I was unable to find a mention anywhere. This is somewhat strange. More controversial topics such as family planning, child abuse, and wife-beating have received at least some attention. This one has received none.

Clearly, the prohibition on driving of motorcycles by Pakistani women arises from a social taboo enforced by creating a sense of shame. Riding bicycles falls into the same category. A taboo, says the dictionary, is the prohibition of an action based upon moral judgment or religious belief. Taboos lead to discomfiture and must therefore be swept under the rug, never discussed.

This particular taboo comes at considerable social cost. A common sight on today’s roads is the middle-class family which, unable to afford a car, must perforce travel on a motorcycle. The precariously balanced mother, sitting to the side, clasps a child or two with one hand. With the other, she fearfully grasps at whatever else she can. The husband’s hands securely grip the handlebars while he accelerates and brakes through dense traffic and over pot-holed roads. A male motorcyclist is required by law to wear a safety helmet, but his female passenger is not. Expectedly, in an accident, she usually gets hurt more.

It was quite different in the 1970s and earlier. While living in the middle-class area of Rawalpindi known as Satellite Town, my wife would sit behind me while straddling the pillion and securely holding on to our baby daughter. We were not the only ones. In Islamabad — then a town for the elite — young women driving motorbikes could occasionally be seen. This no longer happens. My physicist friends in Iran and Turkey say they, too, are seeing a gradual disappearance of woman motorbike drivers in their countries. In Iran and Turkey, as in Pakistan, women may still drive cars. But in Saudi Arabia this is not allowed.

What explains the travel restrictions for women, as well as the recent changes? One answer can be sought in the work of anthropologists belonging to the school of thought known as ‘cultural materialism’. These social scientists say that economic and ecologic reasons account for everything one sees in society, including taboos. Marvin Harris (1927-2001) of Columbia University, who authored Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches: The Riddles of Culture, was perhaps the most well known among them.

Harris argued that “even the most bizarre-seeming beliefs and practices” are a result of ordinary conditions arising from “guts, sex, energy, wind, rain,” and a “host of ordinary phenomena” built by circumstances. His book explains why the hungry peasants of India do not kill and eat the ‘sacred’ cows which roam the country at will. The reason he gives is plausible: Killing cows was like economic abortion in earlier times when draught animals were critical to agriculture. If you ate the cattle, there wouldn’t be enough left for the plough and there would be no crops. Hence eating cows had to be tabooed.

But with mechanised agriculture, the original reason for sacredising cows has nearly disappeared. Traditions, however, change very slowly and so most Hindus still abhor the idea of eating beef. On the other hand, the imperatives of modernity do not allow ancient traditions to persist forever and India is modernising. Among my Hindu friends I can count several who relish beef steaks and beef burgers.

Let us return to motorbikes. Had Harris been asked he would probably have argued as follows: if women are allowed to ride motorbikes just as men do, this would increase their mobility as well as their choices in life (jobs, shopping, friends, etc.). Greater independence, in turn, would seriously challenge the system of patriarchy. In a patriarchy the father and other males rule over the women of the family, or male bosses rule over their women employees. Putting limits on the woman’s freedom to travel was, therefore, invented by men to preserve their power.

This begs the question why most traditional cultures, including Arabia, were patriarchal. Anthropologists say this arose from early survival needs of humans. The woman was better suited for nourishing and training the male progeny for the sake of the family, but ill-suited for the battlefield which brought in the booty. Under patriarchy, it therefore made sense for a woman to accept subordination in return for financial and physical security. Like cattle, women ultimately became property that needed to be protected.

But just as the tractor-plough forever removed the need to sacredise the cow, modern technology has removed the reasons which once made male control inevitable. The nature of modern work in an increasingly computer dominated world is such that both men and women can perform equally well. In industrial and post-industrial societies, women’s salaries are steadily approaching those of men’s. As for warfare, it is now more and more a matter of pushing buttons.

Pakistani women have definitely been pushed back by the rise of anti-women organisations and the Taliban. But in spite of the dedicated efforts of Al Huda and other such pro-patriarchy organisations, egalitarianism is inevitable. Shooting Malala Yousufzai was undoubtedly a setback for female education in Swat but one can expect more education there in the future, not less. Survival needs in modern times make it impossible to ban women from travelling on motorcycles, even if this is presently done in such a dangerous and unnatural way. In time — measured in decades perhaps — Pakistani women shall surely sit naturally on their motorcycles and hold the handlebars with the clutch, accelerator, and brake firmly in their hands.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (103)

  • Nadir
    Feb 22, 2013 - 10:15PM

    Well said! Progress, that leaves 51% of the population behind is no progress at all. Insecure men need to be more open to the fact that women are not fragile beings that are worth nothing more than their connection to a male. After all, a women’s identity in Pakistan goes from being a daughter of a man, to a wife of a man, to a mother of man. And thats that.

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 22, 2013 - 10:30PM

    In one of my comments 2 / 3 months ago, I had mentioned that woman are not allowed to ride or do not ride motorbikes or even scooters in Pakistan. In India you can see woman, particularly in Hyderabad and Chennai riding scooters and also motor cycles. In all cities you shall see hindu priests riding motor cycles and that too wearing dhoti.

    In another comment, I had also mentioned that some Indian hindus eat beef, not regularly though, nor would I say they relish it over chicken and mutton. In my younger days in Kolkata, we had a muslim owned restaurant called “Nizams”. I do not know if it is still there. I had been there once or twice with my hindu friends and we all had beef roll, more out of curiosity than for taste. We friends have also had pork sausages when we went to Darjeeling. That was in the late 60’s. This restaurant in Darjeeling, “Kwality” (or “Quality” ) is still there and I saw this restaurant in the recent bollywood movie “Barfi”.

    There is a lot about Hindus or India that Pakistanis do not know.

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  • Saad Ibrahim Rasheed
    Feb 22, 2013 - 10:34PM

    A frank and honest discussion of one of the many social mechanisms that tick along quietly in the background of everyday life, helping to maintain this unacceptable imbalance in our society. It saddens me that we have yet to move past this nonsense, and yet the fact that these things are beginning to be discussed give me hope that the future will be brighter and more just.

    A society that is unable to look past the surface identity of a person, their gender, religion etc to consider the merits of the individual is not only unfair, but also self-destructive. Leaving a full half of our population behind in education and work opportunities is not something we can afford to do. If we want to improve the lives of our citizens and the state of the nation, we must harness every scrap of talent, creativity and labor available to us.

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  • kanwal
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:07PM

    Oh bravo! About time too! I remember in my Karachi Uni days, our group of girls were trying to learn motor bike dirving and were thoroughly harassed by male students of a neighbouring department who belonged to the biggest religious student gp of the KU.
    I really needed to use a bile some times for personal and professional reasons in karachi. The buses are horrendous and take lots of time. Besides, when girls go back home, they are bound to work in kitchen so there is a time limit and energy required upon reaching home. Of course this was not expected from my brothers ever. I could ve earned so much if i was nt bound this way. O know girls who had to either leave studies or resort to loans to pay the fees ( and KU fees is so little compared to what the parents were paying for her brothers’ studies) for a few semesters. A bit too late for the campus of my alma mater though:it is hoghjacked completly by the people who think the religion is in danger if you remove ur head scarf. So imagine the rest. But love this article

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  • sadhana
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:18PM

    Only a Pakistani can draw a connection between Hindus’ dietary choices and Pakistani persecution of women.

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  • alo majumdar
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:35PM

    Power to all women… vroom vroom :-) and a bit of inspiration
    link text

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  • John B
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:37PM

    Until women started to wear trousers and pants for horse riding, the skirt wearing women used to sit in side saddle on horses back too. Similarly, Scooters where designed for women who were once upon a time wearing skirts when motorcycle replaced horses,

    But, there is a reason, why women are not commonly allowed/seen to ride two wheelers in in many Islamic countries in modern times, whereas in the same countries the rural wosame once rode camels during caravan trade and alse used go ride bicycles and scooters aeound 30-40 years ago.

    The Islamic clerics /mullah of neoislamit schools are very active in prohibiting women riding bicycles and two wheelers because they say it gives them pleasure beyond the riding experience.

    Check out the You tube where clerics from KSA, QATAR and Egypt are very sincere in this discussion. The propagation of neoislamist televangelists are part of the reason too.

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  • YA
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:40PM

    This aint a problem ! But I guess car is much decent option for females !!

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  • gp65
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:46PM

    Many aspects of Indian and Pakistani traditions and culture are different ut this is one area where there is a huge difference. In any large city without a highkly dependeable and frewquent public transport system, you see women on mopeds, scooters almost in same proportion as men be it Pune, Baroda, Ahmedabad, Bangaolore, Hyderabad etc.

    In Bihar which is one of the more conservative Indian states and lags in most health and education parameters, the CM Nitish started giving a bicycle to girls who enrolled in class 8 to reduce the drop out rate from schools. The fact that their daughters geting cycle was seen as a plus rather than a minus shows that mobility for women is not considered problematic even in Bihar.

    In any case it is not clear Dr. Hoodbhoy as to what is the reason for the increased patriarchy that you have observed and also how straddling the bike as a pillion reduces patriarchial control compared to the other way..

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  • lums123
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:46PM

    western societies have provided security to the female and because of this women are a part of journey to progress in those nations while here at THE LAND OF PURE we publicly beat them, throw acid at their faces, harass them at work places and so on and so forth.
    If you compile stats you will come to figure out that almost 70% of the population is oppressed at SACRED REPUBLIC of PAKISTAN. 51% women 15% Shiite and 5 percent minorities.
    Thank you Dr Hoodbhoy for always coming up to point out the social malignancies.

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  • Lareen
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:54PM

    Wasn’t something similar published here a while back. http://tribune.com.pk/story/488527/ready-for-a-bike-ride-cycling-to-change/

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  • Faqir Ipi
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:55PM

    Woman rights always an excellent excuse for US, UK, UN to invade and occupy countries with resources. Nearly 1.3 Million women and about 835000 men are assaulted by their partner every year in the United States.

    Great phrases, such as ‘humanitarian agenda’ and ‘promoting democracy’ are being used just to lend an air of dignity and to cloak their intervention with the veneer of morality.

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  • gp65
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:56PM

    Hindus eating beef is a sign of Westernisation not modernisation since not eating beef does not have any obvious adverse effect. This is distinct from denying mobility to a woman which impacts her education, workforce participation and independence in performing simple transactions. I also found it interesting that you picked up not eating beef as strange and chose to be silent about pork?

    So to sum up, if people follow the dietary restrictions their religion prescribes for them, it does not make them antiquated; if they choose to overlook the restrictions, it is between them and their God. EIther way, that is not in the realm of public policy unlike women’s mobility is or at least should be.

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  • Beef Eater
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:11AM

    @Raj – USA: You bring up a good point. There is a lot of bovine meat consumed in India. Most of it is buffalo meat. In Kerala for instance, generally most Hindus, Muslims and Christians partake of fish, cattle and pork without a thought. It is somewhat of an oddity (for me) that all multi-religious festivals such as Onam and Vishu are strictly vegetarian and all communities follow that because that is the tradition. I personally look forward to the food at that time of the year.
    .
    Nobody bothers about the consumption of meat in Kerala. Beef is available in all southern states and Maharashtra as per my personal experience. Certainly it puts paid the theory of 15 being equal to 1.

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  • Dr Dang
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:18AM

    i’m a fan of this guy.
    Always makes sense.

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  • Foreign Leg
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:27AM

    @Author: Knowledge knows no boundaries and you have certainly proven why.
    .
    I was wondering how you would better your previous articles about systemic problems in Pakistan and here you have excelled yourself again by hitting at the root cause of some of the ills that prevail current society.
    .
    I do not wish to comment much about your article but would like to say that given the generation you are from, I find it extremely progressive that you are in touch with the times and maybe even ahead. It would be difficult for Pakistan to have a “Rosa Parks” moment given the existential threat it is facing from its own ill-conceived strategies, but I hope and wish we people of the subcontinent will live in a world where every person is free to do what he or she wants.

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  • Yes to Shariat
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:28AM

    I thought author would rather propose cheap cars for pakistanis as being a physicist this was his domain.

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  • Feb 23, 2013 - 12:30AM

    There is a middle way which India opted. When bicycles came then the private industry came up with Ladies bicycles. And when motercycles became common and affordable, the private sector stepped up to the plate and came up with Scooties for women which they can ride with grace.

    May be instead of demanding for motorcycle (which doesnt seem possible in near future) for women, one should demand for scooties which even a full burqa clad woman car ride without any problem.

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  • Uzair
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:35AM

    Excellently put Dr. Hoodbhoy, as always :) Personally I consider the rule for women that they can only sit sideways on a motorcycle abhorrent, as it is inherently unbalanced and dangerous. Of course, the very fact that there are a man and a woman carrying 2 to 5 kids on a single small motorcycle is something that should never be allowed, in any civilized country such a sight would give a heart-attack to the traffic cops and the adults on the bike would most certainly be jailed.

    @Faqir Ipi: You are a prime example of being brainwashed and/or having a conservative mindset that can not see beyond the interests of its own family and tribe, or in your specific case, its own gender. If you say 1.3 million women are assualted in the USA, then I assure you 50 million women are assaulted in Pakistan – the difference is that in USA the victims are given full protection of the law and society protects them and ensures that such crimes remain low, while in Pakistan the law disrespects women and society ensures they are made to feel criminals for being victims of harassment/abuse.

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  • Foreign Leg
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:38AM

    @gp65: Beg to differ ma’am. There are many societies in India that have eaten beef and pork for centuries. There are also many Hindus (including Brahmins) that consider fish/egg to be vegetarian.
    .
    Scientifically speaking, we can get all our nutrients from the typical vegetarian diet in India. For those who have grown up with meat in their diet, the thought of governmental control would amount to deprivation.
    .
    Definitely agree with you, it is NOT a sign of modernization and I hope people are not eating meat for the sake of Westernization. Vehemently agree with you that it should not be in the realm of public policy.

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  • Sara Ali
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:42AM

    Very pertinent issue and i am glad Mr. Hoodbuoy has raised it. Recently i was thinking why girls in our society are not allowed to ride bicycles. I was in the netherlands a while ago and i really admired dutch culture of cycling,everybody, young and old are on their bicycles and happy and healty. i was recenlty thinking of starting a new trend where girls in Pakistan must be allowed to ride cycles and bicycles, its not only healthy but good for the environment too. Why not we all take a step and instead of judging girls let them try things they want to.

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  • Feb 23, 2013 - 12:44AM

    Our People’s not allowed health workers for polio Vaccantion and shot her/him on head, Mr. Hoodbhoy is rising Question about why women are not allowed to ride/drive motobyces?

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  • saif
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:44AM

    btw you missed out on one thing , a woman wearing a helmet is also a huge taboo in our society!!

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  • Feb 23, 2013 - 12:44AM

    Our People’s not allowed health workers for polio Vaccantion and shot her/him on head, Mr. Hoodbhoy is rising Question about why women are not allowed to

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  • Zalmai
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:50AM

    @gp65

    Even the most enlightened Pakistani Muslim has to drag Hindus into their discourse and take a jab at their religion while discussing the emancipation and mobility of women. Since he mentioned the consumption of beef by Hindus, he should have balanced out his piece by commenting on the consumption of pork and alcohol by Muslims.

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  • Falcon
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:56AM

    Few things to consider:

    It is not just wife / girl friend that ends up sitting behind the man driving the bicycle, it can be a lot of other family members as well that might typically feel uncomfortable straddling the pavilion because of the dynamics of the ride. I will leave it at that.

    I know a lot of Hindu friends. I have hardly seen any one of them eating beef. For them eating beef is the same as it is for Muslims to eat pork. It can happen but is highly unlikely for most of the people. Your friends most likely are a statistical anomaly. Lastly, it has nothing to do with modernity, but more to do with religious preferences.

    While it is good to hear anthropologists view of why certain things developed a certain way. I think all of gender behavioral differences can not be explained in that manner. All societies have developed their own norms of what qualifies as feminine / masculine behavior. They might vary across the spectrum but the distinction will continue to exist. That is to say, nature does play a role in determining behavioral trajectories of male / female behavior in addition to nurture.

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  • ashok
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:59AM

    I was under the impression that Pakistani girls/women are Air Force pilots in the PAF. If they can fly fighter planes then why not motor-cycles or auto-riksha if they get the license.

    What has gone wrong with Pakistani males? Womne on motor cycle are more secure and safe compared to public transportations.

    I saw a sign that may be relevant to the Pakistani males:

    CHANGE BEFORE YOU HAVE TO

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  • Faraz Kakar
    Feb 23, 2013 - 1:04AM

    Scholars are the inheritors of the prophets

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Feb 23, 2013 - 1:15AM

    I guess all other problems are solved except one wow in karachi where even its getting harder to get bus seats for women and we are giving them bikes which will run on aqua ..

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  • AF
    Feb 23, 2013 - 1:21AM

    There is a female lawyer who practice in Sindh High Court, Karachi who rides a motorcycle and comes to court on it everyday.

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  • SoniaK
    Feb 23, 2013 - 1:35AM

    Some people have missed a very vital point here!!!

    Women in Pakistan are NOT DENIED motorcycles or scooters. There is a certain class that does ride motorcycles- although now riding cars is more than just a fashion- it is a style statement and women feel COMFORTABLE since they do have a lot to carry.
    As for scooters- there are NO scooters in Pakistan!!! The device was never invented or imported. Pakistan is a haven for cars- specially imported cars and women find it very SECURE travelling in cars.
    Maybe Mr. Hoodboy doesnot realize that a woman on a motorcycle in today’s era- where bomb blasts and firing is very rampant, besides the pollution and traffic jams- is highly UNSAFE. Anyone who wants to do it for fun is their own choice, but doing it on a continual basis puts a woman’s life at risk!!

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  • SoniaK
    Feb 23, 2013 - 1:39AM

    @Sara Ali:

    Seriously we should not judge people!!! Maybe people DONOT want to take up the activity!!! And they DONOT want highly active people coming from the Western world judging them and advising them!!!! Maybe they want to do something else with their time that doesnot involve cycling around the neighborhood!!! Can they be not judged for it????

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  • Feb 23, 2013 - 1:57AM

    women should be banned in pakistan – period!

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  • gp65
    Feb 23, 2013 - 2:13AM

    @Foreign Leg: “@gp65: Beg to differ ma’am. There are many societies in India that have eaten beef and pork for centuries. There are also many Hindus (including Brahmins) that consider fish/egg to be vegetarian”.

    Ah. But I am not advocating either eating beef or refraining from it. I am saying this is a personal choice that an individual makes keeping in mind their own beliefs. All I say is that a beef eating Hindu is not more modern (or less) than a non beef eating one. As far as vegetarianism is concerned I have made no reference to that. So I am unclear what you disagree with
    BTW, I appreciate most of your posts – I just don’t understand your message to me in this case.

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  • gp65
    Feb 23, 2013 - 2:29AM

    @AF: “There is a female lawyer who practice in Sindh High Court, Karachi who rides a motorcycle and comes to court on it everyday.”

    Your comment shows how rare it is if in a city of 20 million – people can actually notice one lawyer riding a bike to work.

    @SoniaK: If a woman can afford a car as well as the associated petrol expense, that is fine. When she is unable to afford it, the point is that society should not frown on a woman who chooses to travel using a bike. Your concern that people judge women who don’t ride a bicycle in Pakistan and asking not to be judged is absurd. It’s like asking not to be judged just because you don’t wear a mini-skirt in Pakistan. You know no one is judging you for that. If a woman does not want to ride a mobike or bicycle no one will put a gun on her head and make her ride. On the other hand if she wants to, there should not be social disapproval for that. The fact that apparently there are no women 2 wheeler riders in Pakistan substantiates the author’s viewpoint that there is a strong social disapproval that prevents them from doing so.

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  • Dipak
    Feb 23, 2013 - 2:30AM

    Just like Jinnah, I eat ham ( I am a Hindu ) and so many of my Pakistani Muslim friends. It’s up to the individual. The good Dr. Hoodbhoy will understand us.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 23, 2013 - 2:58AM

    Would the doctor of particle science reckon that women be allowed to ride a camel?

    Rex Minor

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  • Observer
    Feb 23, 2013 - 3:28AM

    @author,

    “But with mechanised agriculture, the original reason for sacredising cows has nearly disappeared. Traditions, however, change very slowly and so most Hindus still abhor the idea of eating beef. On the other hand, the imperatives of modernity do not allow ancient traditions to persist forever and India is modernising. Among my Hindu friends I can count several who relish beef steaks and beef burgers.”

    I am surprised that even a learned scientist and intellectual like you will make such specious argument. Why is “modernizing” being equated to eating beef? Just because some of your Hindu friends eat beef, it doesn’t mean most Indian Hindus are eating beef/meat or giving up their “tradition”. Don’t you think, many who don’t eat beef or any other meat may be doing so, not because of any perceived tradition, but purely based on the belief that it is wrong to kill a living being for one to eat and compassion for all life forms? Doesn’t killing an innocent animal actually downgrade humans to the level of animals rather then elevate them to “modernization” ?

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  • Naveen
    Feb 23, 2013 - 3:47AM

    By the way I feel only a pakistani can bring parallels between Hindu Dietry habits with Religious prosecution of women in pakistan

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 23, 2013 - 4:13AM

    All Bengalis, both brahmins and non brahmins are non-vegetarians. Mutton and fish are part of their regular diet. Most south-indian brahmins are vegetarians and many among them consider eggs as part of non-vegetarian diet.

    In most five star and seven star hotels in India, the complementary breakfast includes pork sausages and ham and I have seen many hindus eat it. I do not know if muslims also eat it. In the cities in India, you generally do not care to know other person’s religion. Many times, even in you hear a persons name, you do not immediately think of his religion.

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  • Prerna
    Feb 23, 2013 - 4:16AM

    You equate modernisation with eating of beef? This would have to be the most puerile piece of logic I have come across in a while.Modernisation includes science that tells us that animals and humans are not much different, and that animals feel pain, fear and other emotions like humans do. Egregious bloodshed of the defenceless does not make one modern, it makes one a savage.

    The ethical considerations of killing a sentient being aside, the almost gluttonous consumption of meat by the West is one of the reasons the world is staring down the barrel of an environmental catastrophe.

    But, according to you, Mr Hoodbhoy, we (non-beef-eating-hence-backward Indians) should all kill more for that badge of modernisation that beef-eating will confer on us – a modernisation that eventually kills all.

    The argument by Marvin Harris for why Indians made beef taboo is a load of crap. The man is essentially saying that either other (non-Indian) cultures/societies had mechanised agriculture even in those ancient days or that they were simply too stupid to make the causal link between killing cattle and bringing on a famine.

    Such spurious reasoning and shallow analysis by the seemingly educated …

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  • Kolsat
    Feb 23, 2013 - 4:35AM

    @Faqir Ipi: What about in Muslim countries. Did you read the article by Syed Ali published on 17 February. Just do not give some stats about USA to prove how good Islam is. If you want to do that then also talk about US’s freedom to speak your mind, its freedom to practice any religion, its education and innovation and its prosperity. On all these counts US stands out.

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  • Aaqib
    Feb 23, 2013 - 4:38AM

    The logic given by Dr. Hoodbhoy is wrong. In ancient times, it was the women’s weakness which established patriarchy not the male chauvinism. In the same manner it is a certain social fact that is determining the women likelihood of riding bikes not ‘foresightedness’ of males. What is this social fact? I guess this has to do with the increasing propagation of religious literature/media. What women expose while sitting on bikes doesn’t match the popular Islamic requirements of Pardah. while for riding cars there is no such issue that’s why the no. of female car drivers is on the rise. Now in what case female bike riders could be increased? Here is another dimension to the issue. Dress fashions are also a hindrance to the cause of female bike-riding. If their dresses start meeting two requirements I can expect some pregress 1. Dress is of thicker gauge and of lose fit so that it is not sexually attractive 2. it is suitable for bike-riding that is it is not so long that it interferes with bike wheels etc.
    Another option would be if society becomes secular to the level that the Pardah no longer holds any significance.

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  • Feb 23, 2013 - 5:15AM

    though the taboo prevails in our society,, it can’t drastically transformed so quickly. a single initiation is needed from women side.They need to drive the change in protecting the sense of freedom they have.. let start from Scooters.. promote scooter production. Women wud luv ride it

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  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Feb 23, 2013 - 5:56AM

    My mother rides a vespa scooter and she is 64 years old. I joked to her that from today you will not take your scooter, she said ok hand me your car keys and forget your car and take the underground Calcutta metro from tomorrow. Lol

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  • Diggvijay Singh
    Feb 23, 2013 - 7:40AM

    One remark by author Hoodbhoy ruffled so many feathers. Never did he say, a Hindu needs to eat beef to become modern. Author said, modernization of a society sweeps aside traditional considerations.

    “On the other hand, the imperatives of modernity do not allow ancient traditions to persist forever and India is modernising.”

    And that is the right analysis. Since India is becoming more industrialized, computerized and modern year after another, the number of traditional Hindus who stick to ancient customs and norms keeps going down. The fact that many current generation Hindus don’t make too much fuss over beef-eating reflects that change.

    As an aside, there were always an impoverished section of low-caste people in my country who ate beef as a protein source because the secular reason of hunger far outweighed any false sense of piety.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Feb 23, 2013 - 7:50AM

    On the other hand, the imperatives of modernity do not allow ancient traditions to persist forever and India is modernising.

    I like the way how you carefully choose your words ‘imperatives of modernity’.

    That’s why I always look forward to reading your opinions.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Feb 23, 2013 - 7:56AM

    @sadhana:

    “Only a Pakistani can draw a connection between Hindus’ dietary choices and Pakistani persecution of women.”

    Very well said.

    But also look at it from another POV. Hoodbhoy is smart at marketing. The best way to market a blog is through the number of visitors, readers, commenters.

    What better way to attract more comments than to bring up a sensitive issue of Hindus on a Pakistani site.

    So, perhaps, it was a cheap attempt by Mr. Hoodbhoy. He could have chosen a more relevant analogy.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Feb 23, 2013 - 8:06AM

    @gp65:

    “Hindus eating beef is a sign of Westernisation not modernisation since not eating beef does not have any obvious adverse effect.”

    You did not understand what he wrote.

    He did not say it was a sign of modernization. He said it was an imperative of modernization.

    Meaning, it’s one of the effects of modernization. He is right.

    During my father’s time, out of all his 50 odd cousins only 2 had been to abroad. They would hardly ever converse in English, listen to or watch foriegn content.

    During my time, more than 50% of all my cousins have visited a foreign country. We use English everyday.

    These things give us a certain level of leeway, laxity, freedom in our moral choices and right/wrong or necessity/curiosity we explore new things.

    This is an effect of modernization.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Feb 23, 2013 - 8:09AM

    @Prerna who asks “You equate modernisation with eating of beef?”

    I have given a reply to GP65 on his similar doubts. Read that again.

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  • gp65
    Feb 23, 2013 - 9:02AM

    @Falcon: Agreed with most of what you said and I can see how traditional Pakistani dresses for women maybe unsuitable for a mobike with the type of stride which is needed. But scooters and mopeds are well suited for this purpose. Is there a reason those are not in vogue? In India it is not unusual to see women in hijaab’s and salwaar kameez gracefully riding a moped/scooter.

    In fact even in the KAshmir valley, women on Scooters are becoming common. http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/asia/indian-administered-kashmir/girls-seize-independence-scooters-kashmir/page/0/0

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  • Haider
    Feb 23, 2013 - 9:55AM

    hue nd cry on petty issues dr sb..!!
    we dnt expect such little topics from u sir.!!

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  • Pakistani Woman
    Feb 23, 2013 - 10:27AM

    Not just an anthropological understanding of how taboos on women’s independence came about, but a wonderful metaphor for women being in control of their own lives. It makes me think of the early days of Islam when women had independence and power and rode into battle alongside the male warriors. If only we could bring some of that spirit into our lives today!

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  • Uthman Lateef
    Feb 23, 2013 - 10:41AM

    Living in the UK since a student, i succumbed to bacon. It is mouth watering delicious. English and Danish bacon is the best. I love scrambled egg, bacon, potatoes with tomato ketchup.I have introduced some of my friends to this English breakfast and they all loved it.

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  • Gary
    Feb 23, 2013 - 11:13AM

    @Prerna: Can’t agree with you more! Eating beef is modern? Since when? The rise of intensive livestock production (factory farming) is causing major environmental damage around the world. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said: “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”
    Mr Hoodbhoy, many better educated, health conscious people in NYC don’t eat meat either.

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  • Fayyaz Ahmed
    Feb 23, 2013 - 11:21AM

    I endorse freedom of girls and women to use bikes or at least scooties. Even in history women used to ride horses from all religions I guess and today we find it an issue.

    I guess for this girls will have to take initiative them selves, individually or in groups, especially from working class or students.

    I have seen a lady using motor bike. She used to regular come to JPMC hospital on her motorbike and have heard of another school teacher, if I am not wrong in Landhi area she also used to go to school on motor bike.

    Besides this many years back I saw coverage of a girl with photographs on back page of Sunday magazine of a well know new paper. A girl used to ride kind of mud racing bike very expertly and she used to wear helmet on regular bases. But she used to ride just for fun I guess.

    Lets not complicated already complicated and difficult things more for us and people around us not matter females or males and take the initiative.

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  • Arifq
    Feb 23, 2013 - 11:33AM

    I concur with the honorable Professor and so would MA Jinnah i.e., if that matters anymore!

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  • Observer
    Feb 23, 2013 - 11:54AM

    @Yoghurt lover:

    “@gp65:
    “Hindus eating beef is a sign of Westernisation not modernisation since not eating beef does not have any obvious adverse effect.”
    You did not understand what he wrote.
    He did not say it was a sign of modernization. He said it was an imperative of modernization.
    Meaning, it’s one of the effects of modernization. He is right.

    I beg to differ. The term “imperative” means “unavoidable or “necessary”. It may be imperative that as people are exposed to different ways of lives, cultures and practices, they may change their diet. But, it is wrong to conclude that it is “modernization”, that is making them do that. There is nothing modern about eating meat, in fact, it is more appropriate to equate that with going back to cave man or savage times. And then, what about the people who give up eating meat and becoming vegetarians as is increasingly happening in the western world? Are they going back from being “modern”?

    So, while Mr. Hoodbhoy might have meant what you imply, he chose the wrong term by using “modernity”..

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  • Raza Khan
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:03PM

    Love you Pervez H! You are the best. Love your articles.

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:10PM

    @Falcon:
    “I know a lot of Hindu friends. I have hardly seen any one of them eating beef. For them eating beef is the same as it is for Muslims to eat pork. It can happen but is highly unlikely for most of the people. Your friends most likely are a statistical anomaly.”

    No its not statistical anomaly. Some Hindus do eat beef though not as frequently as other sources of meat. But the persons whom I (being a Brahmin) have seen eating beef (including me -sometimes) its more either out of curiosity or as a message that they don’t subscribe to the outdated taboos -the point what Dr. Hoodbhoy wanted to make.

    “My physicist friends in Iran and Turkey say they, too, are seeing a gradual disappearance of woman motorbike drivers in their countries. In Iran and Turkey, as in Pakistan, women may still drive cars. But in Saudi Arabia this is not allowed.” But why is this phenomenon witnessed only in Islamic countries ??? Its hard to fathom how riding Motorcycle can come within ambit of religious taboos……

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  • ahmed41
    Feb 23, 2013 - 1:11PM

    A motorbike is the most dangerous vehicle invented by man. When there is an accident , the driver knows what is happening, but those behind him are injured severely because they are not aware of an impending accident.

    When a woman is placed in this *modest * manner, with both legs on one side, the dangers are more.

    Ban motorbikes~~~~~buy a TATA mini-car.

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  • Imran Ahmed (@IAgnikul)
    Feb 23, 2013 - 1:35PM

    Females riding two wheelers can be injurious to their health in Lahore. I remember my pre-teen daughter venturing out on her bicycle in a residential area and being dangerously harassed by male motor cyclists and car drivers, one maniac actually crossing to intimidate her from the opposite side of the road.
    In my village women never go horseback or on bicycles either, neither do they drive tractors. This must be having a negative effect on household productivity.

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  • Parvez
    Feb 23, 2013 - 2:18PM

    Dr Hoodbhoy is brilliant.

    To ride or not to ride, that is the question.
    Does it all boils down to weather it’s nobler in the minds in of men
    Or does it simply depend on outrageous fortune.

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  • yamiji ramiji
    Feb 23, 2013 - 2:37PM

    My girl does not ride the motorcycle herself because she finds the task too arduous. So she likes to take the simple option of getting a ride on the motorcycle. But what you say about the negatives of a patriarchal society is true.

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  • Bait
    Feb 23, 2013 - 3:36PM

    When I visited Morocco, one of the first things I noticed were the number of women wearing hijab and driving motorcycles. The Pakistani media should debate the motorcycle issue on talk shows etc. It’s economical and it helps empower women.

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  • P N Eswaran
    Feb 23, 2013 - 4:21PM

    “On the other hand, the imperatives of modernity do not allow ancient traditions to persist forever and India is modernising. Among my Hindu friends I can count several who relish beef steaks and beef burger”

    There is a difference between values and traditions. Traditions change more easily depeneding on the circumstance but values are internalized in society. Societies with sound values can confidently change traditions, but no change can happen in societies which makes traditions their value.

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  • Feb 23, 2013 - 4:29PM

    Though, through this technical discussion quite sensitive proportion of thought has been raised. Still, it makes wander how much ideologist we feel ourselves to be proud at, by just making big, bulky controversial discussion; instead of convincing our own members to be a practical part of our wordings spitted out at a news paper…
    Main thing we avoid paying attention is the society, which is being persuasively made passive and people of high wisdom/standard here are profound to talk about eachother, at the place if some evolutions could be brought to maintain and project a good oblivion of our culture and style of living we tend to inspire ourselves just only by thoughts versus thoughts, nothing is practical in here…”Man is liberal enough as long as it isn’t comming across to his own family beings”..
    Before going for someone else’s culture and traditions, must see where they have been standing, because reflection is easiest method of learning whole experience is most bitter to learn…

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  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Feb 23, 2013 - 5:05PM

    I follow a rule which I call the golden rule. Please, never prohibit someone from doing what you do yourself. If I ride a bullet motorbike, I cannot stop anyone from doing the same irrespective of sex. In Indian Punjab, women use scooters a lot.it is a common sight. In Calcutta city, I have seen Muslim women using scooters in hijab more than ladies of other communities, though less than in Punjab. Women are not cattles and they deserve this freedom. My mother has been using scooter since 1974 and she can drive a car too.whenever I buy a car she has the final say because she will drive it too and she is after all my mother. Sat sri akal , rab rakha

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  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Feb 23, 2013 - 5:12PM

    When it comes to eating beef or anything, it is a personal choice. I might disagree with it but I will defend to the end if someone wants it. People can consume anything they want because it is their right to do so. The dietry habits is nobody’s business. Cheerio

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  • Gratgy
    Feb 23, 2013 - 5:43PM

    I am a vegetarian brahmin but I consider vegetarianism a handicap especially when travelling abroad. I have a one year old son and I am going to encourage him to eat whatever is edible so that he will be able to survive anywhere. This is neither westernisation nor modernisation, I believe this is just being practical. Food whether vegetarian or not, beef or pork is just food. The restrictions are all in our minds.

    Whether it is a car or a two wheeler, it’s just another vehicle. The restrictions are all in your mind

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  • Prerna
    Feb 23, 2013 - 5:57PM

    @Author : the imperatives of modernity do not allow ancient traditions to persist forever and India is modernising.

    What imperatives are these that require the eating of beef (or any other type of meat)? What imperatives are these that if disregarded will mean India is not modernising? I wonder if you know that these vegetarian Indians are the ones who gave the world the first treatises in grammar,philosophy,mathematics,astronomy,medicine and metallurgical science,while the rest of the flesh eating world was still in the stone age.

    @yoghurt lover:He said it was an imperative of modernization.Meaning, it’s one of the effects of modernization. He is right..

    Imperative means effect? Imperative ,as the author uses it,means necessity.You have read into his words the meaning that you wish them to have.

    During my time, more than 50% of all my cousins have visited a foreign country. We use English everyday.

    What has English to do with modernisation? The Japanese hardly speak any English,neither did the Germans or the French until a few years ago.You would say they are not modernised?Speaking English by the Indians and by other nationalities is the effect of globalisation,not of modernisation.(Though for Indians and for others in the sub-continent you could add a severe slave mentality complex)

    Neither English,nor the eating of defenceless beings is an imperative of modernity.

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  • Singh
    Feb 23, 2013 - 6:43PM

    Dr.
    BBQ Rib is yummy. Try it next time instead of beef then write about it. I think you can understand where I am coming from.

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 23, 2013 - 7:09PM

    @John B:
    @Parvez:

    “To ride or not to ride, that is the question.”

    The real question perhaps is “To Stride or Not to Stride”. Comment from @John B is right on spot. Whatever spot that is.

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  • Mj
    Feb 23, 2013 - 7:22PM

    @P N Eswaran:
    “Societies with sound values can confidently change traditions, but no change can happen in societies which makes traditions their value.”

    Well said.

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  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Feb 23, 2013 - 7:35PM

    @Prerna:
    Maam, we are conversing and debating in English.we are not a isolated island like Japan.English language unites us. South Indians have apathy towards Hindi, I have seen it first and in coastal Andhra. Hindi is the language of the north, southern Indian speak Malayalam , Telugu , English unites us please understand it. People of the north should learn the southern languages. I am a Punjabi and I speak and write Bengali too along with Punjabi gurmukhi.we have to respect all Indians irrespective of caste , creed, and religion. Joy bangla, sat sri akal, rab rakha

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  • gp65
    Feb 23, 2013 - 8:16PM

    @Gratgy: “I am a vegetarian brahmin but I consider vegetarianism a handicap especially when travelling abroad.”

    Really? Of course you can teach your son what you choose. I think however that as long as you are open to non Indian food, it possible to find vegetarian food almost everywhere. My brother travels to Brazil, Poland, interior China and vegetarian food has not been a probem. Many people get into problems while traveling because they equate vegertarinism with Indian food. SOmething to consider.

    By the way though I grew up n a vegetarian family, I am personally not a vegetarian because I simply like to eat non-veg food. So I am not trying to push one way or another. Simply stating that access to vegetarian food while traveling is not a bottleneck as long as one is open to a wider set of food choices.

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  • gp65
    Feb 23, 2013 - 9:37PM

    @Yoghurt lover: “You did not understand what he wrote.
    He did not say it was a sign of modernization. He said it was an imperative of modernization.
    Meaning, it’s one of the effects of modernization. He is right.”

    It is arguable as to who did not understand/ According to you, the term ‘imperative of modernisation means ‘effects of modernisation’. However if you consult the dictionary, imperative means , necessary or urgent. Eating beef is neither necessary nor urgent to the task of becoming modern. So I continue to question Dr. Hoodbhoy’s assertion in this regard.

    I have said earlier that following dietary restrictions prescribed by religion is entirely a personal choice and should not be mandated one way or another through policy since absence of beef eating in no way holds up India’s progress. Frankly, doctors advise people to cut down red meat from their diet in the West. So does that mean those people are now less modern?

    Further all the things you described i.e. fluency in English, traveling abroad etc. are effects of globalization. They do not necessarily make one modern..gp65

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  • Gratgy
    Feb 23, 2013 - 10:15PM

    @gp65

    I never said that it is not possible to find vegetarian food. I said it is a handicap having to look for vegetarian food not that it’s impossible to find any

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  • Karella
    Feb 23, 2013 - 10:17PM

    The reason why women in the middle ages rode side saddle on a horse, and why our poor counterparts do it on Pakistani motorbikes today, seems to stem from a notion that a young women’s ‘honor’ (cant find a suitable alternative word that would go through the moderators :) remains intact while they are in this position. And as the need for it to remain intact is patriarchal, the thrust of the article is spot on.
    For older, married women, it seems that Pakistani men can’t see a woman straddling, or driving, any moving device, or they may be prone to temptation.
    I, for one, would love to see more women on bikes and motorbikes, as was quite normal in our cities till the early seventies.

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  • Feb 23, 2013 - 10:46PM

    @gp65:
    Agreed. To be honest, if it were me, I would buy 3 mopeds for each of my sisters who keep bugging me to go with them for the groceries :)

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  • manish rohera
    Feb 23, 2013 - 10:46PM

    i was actually unpleasantly surprised to know that driving scooters is a taboo in pak(educated parts) in india even my bhabhis(who learnt after their marriage) know how to ride a scooter and mind you they dont eat beef author’s hindu friends who eat beef are similar to some of my muslim friends who hate non-veg(both in minority),but is that modernity?though would suggest a special scooter for ladies as it’s in india can be a good solution.Manish Rohera

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  • John B
    Feb 23, 2013 - 11:07PM

    Since the article comments turned out to be Beef, here is my input.

    The beef in PAK and India sucks. The cattle of that region were selected for milk and drought than for the meat. The cuts from Sind breed meat in loin and rump is tolerable.

    The best of meat in India carabeef ( buffalo) of Delhi buffaloes compared to water buffalo variety of south.

    Next time, try medium rare broiled cut of dulmonico. You will never eat any other stake cuts. Rib eye, sirloin are all second to dulmonico cut.

    And, American beef ! The art of perfection in meat!

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  • shakeel
    Feb 23, 2013 - 11:43PM

    few days ago,,sir syed was better than iqbal,,,bomb was immoral, now how woman sit on motorbikes,,who is eating what,,why dont you let people do what they want, whatever they do, whatever they eat, in whichever style they sit, who do u think you are to tell them that they are doing wrong, i dont know whats the fun in discussing these kind of issues,,i want to tell you bhoy, you are v. bad at selecting topics,,i never imagined that, people become so much stubborn, in 60’s, u cannot impost your ideas on us.

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  • john
    Feb 23, 2013 - 11:47PM

    i will never understand why u tribunies have a problem with everything. whats the problem? nothing is the problem with women driving bikes? theyve been doing so since the dawn of time. ive never seen anyone objecting to them. infact, they are a source of joyful attraction for an average Pakistani. The only problem is that resentment of this beautiful society in your own head. Live and let live, for God’s sake.

    Oh and do an experiment yourself. Send a woman in your house to go drive a bike outside. Come back and let us know. Recommend

  • Saad
    Feb 24, 2013 - 12:07AM

    @Faqir Ipi: We cannot make our condition even a little better until we do not eliminate the regressive approach that has become a mindset of our people.
    Our people have a strange paranoid thinking that the whole world is conspiring against us. And it becomes very easy for us to put responsibility of some sore event on some outsider.

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  • A Pakistani Woman
    Feb 24, 2013 - 12:30AM

    I think nobody can stop a person from motor biking unless the person stops herself/himself from doing so for any reason. I have seen pictures of women riding bikes in the 1960s in Lahore and Karachi. I think it is the demand that necessitates supply. So if there is a need for women to get to work on a motorbike they would do so. I have been to few countries and very few women motorbike all around the world as compare to males. I have ridden a bike with my brother in Karachi and feel if it is a good idea to ride a bike with that road conditions and poor infrastructure? Indonesia is a Muslim Country and women their commute to work on bikes? So can we conclude anything on the subject matter???

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  • Prerna
    Feb 24, 2013 - 4:12AM

    @Prabhjyot Singh Madan:

    I don’t think you understood what I was trying to say and I have simply no idea how you concluded from my post that which you did.

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  • gp65
    Feb 24, 2013 - 6:15AM

    @Gratgy: That’s a fair statement.

    @Karella : I liked how you delicately phrased it. In some way @John B’s first post had also referred to a related issue. But as I mentioned earlier, this maybe relevant to someone who rides a bike but not someone who rides a scooter or moped. SO perhaps the underlying concern should be openly stated and solutions found that address the concern.

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  • a_writer
    Feb 24, 2013 - 8:00AM

    Dr.Hoodbhoy:

    Quite an interesting article, as always. But the ‘gears’ not ‘meshing’ well in some cases. For example, in the state of Kerala, in South India, the Nairs and the ‘Namboodiris’ sects follow a matriarchal system of governance ( within the family) and inheritance of family wealth. This implies that the women ‘rule the roost’. In spite of this, the social pressure on these women regarding guidelines on ‘modesty’ is no less severe than other sects in Kerala. They follow the general societal rules. Don’t get me wrong – the women in India, especially Kerala, are way ahead in ‘women’s liberation’ than in Pakistan or S.Arabia (honestly, this is a great thing to have happened). So, I am wondering how, Marvin Harris of Columbia University would explain this anomaly.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Feb 24, 2013 - 5:46PM

    @Prerna

    “What has English to do with modernisation? The Japanese hardly speak any English,neither did the Germans or the French until a few years ago.You would say they are not modernised?Speaking English by the Indians and by other nationalities is the effect of globalisation,not of modernisation.(Though for Indians and for others in the sub-continent you could add a severe slave mentality complex)

    Neither English,nor the eating of defenceless beings is an imperative of modernity.”

    Like you did with Mr. Hoodbhoy’s comments, you took my comment out of context as well. Have a broader perspective.

    Learning English for most Indians is simply a necessity (perhaps in your case it was a slave mentality). A doctor learns in English. Whether C++ or Java is in English and not in Sanskrit, you cannot get a job in BPO to process an american account if you do not know English. You cannot get a job in a call center to answer a Citibank customer from Canada, if you do not know English…the list is long.

    You can nitpick using the definitions, but no sane person can distinguish between modernization and globalization. By giving the example of absence of English in Japan/Germany/France you are saying that they are modern but not globalized. That’s utter nonsense.

    And again you need to understand the difference between modernity and modernization.

    A person may possess iPhones/iPads as a result of modernization and he could still go home and beat his wife and look up horoscopes for lack of modernity. You are very confused about the two terms.

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  • Another North Indian
    Feb 24, 2013 - 8:28PM

    Yoghurt Lover

    You are insisting on using ‘modernization’ in the vaguest and broadest possible sense. In your arguments, leading a disciplined life would be a sign of modernization, since it industrialization made that necessary (many sociologists make similar arguments).

    That is simply not rational analysis, and that is not how modernization is understood. The good professor wrote a very poor piece (though his general idea appears to be correct) and you are defending him on the basis of that ‘general idea’.

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  • Zuhair
    Feb 25, 2013 - 12:56PM

    It is not forbidden by any means. It is just that they don’t. It is more of a cultural thing – no one will stop a woman if she ever does that. Some things are ingrained in the culture – and thats the way you go about it. Certainly not a whole big deal imo.

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  • Nobody
    Feb 25, 2013 - 4:21PM

    @John B:
    Depends on where you get it. If you’re talking about Burger King beef patties, I think I’d rather eat my own hair. I don’t know what goes into that primo beef in the US (I presume it’s ACTUALLY more beef as opposed to the $1 or $2 fast food beef patties which are probably less beef and more of God knows what), but after watching some of the documentaries I’ve seen regarding the food industry in the US, I’m not so keen on eating meat in general. Pity because I love meat.

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  • Knotty
    Feb 25, 2013 - 6:23PM

    There are many women who ride motorcycles now. In a little developed part of Lahore, I used to see a woman in the 1980s who rode motorcyle. It was not a problem but people would look at her as it was very unusual. Since then, many women have followed.
    .
    I agree with author that it is quite rare to see women driving bikes. But debates like this will make it easier. Malaysia is a Muslim country but you see more women (with Hijab) on motor bikes and working than men!
    .
    There are hundreds of female police officers/traffic wardens who use motor bikes as part of their duty.
    .
    I saw a video on youtube where two female traffic warden asked passerbyes to help them when their motor bikes fell. This is this sense of being ‘feminine’ and asking for help that is perpetuating the culture.

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  • kamal
    Feb 25, 2013 - 8:30PM

    good article….welldone hoodbhoy

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  • Prerna
    Feb 26, 2013 - 2:37AM

    @Yoghurt Lover ; I have replied to your comment,but ET …

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  • Asif
    Feb 26, 2013 - 9:06AM

    The Pakistani society needs to take Malaysia as an example. Malaysia being a Muslim country and also a patriarchal society allows women to drive motorcycles.In fact one will see more women driving motorcycles than men.

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  • jerseybb
    Feb 26, 2013 - 7:37PM

    Bike is not a safe ride and should be discouraged for both genders

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  • cut
    Feb 27, 2013 - 2:27PM

    It is surprising,girls don’t ride motor cycles in Pakistan.In India,particularly,Maharashtra,abt 10 % of motorcycles riders are girls.In case of scooters it would be abt 50%.I have to hide my motorcycle keys, so that my sister does not take my Bullet(500 c.c.) to her tuition classes.!!!!
    In India all the middle class families have atleast 2-4 two wheelers in their family,each for every member of their family.Just to give how much two wheelers are popular,in just one city,Pune there are more than 13,00,000 two wheelers and more than 90,000 added annually.
    Imagine how many women motorcycle riders would be in just one city.Interestingly in rural parts more girls ride motorcycles,since the family owns just one vehicle i.e. a motor cycle.

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  • gee
    Feb 28, 2013 - 8:12AM

    It’s surprising no one has taken into account that it takes 12009 gallons of water to produce ONE POUND of beef and killer of an animal may himself/herself turn into a homicidal. By the way, most of the meat eating enthusiasts live in countries where water is getting scares day by day.

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  • sameera
    Feb 28, 2013 - 2:33PM

    good shot, I would be so glad if we could have scooties driven by females. In metropolitan cities like Lahore and Karachi, we women who are working have to spend a fortune on rickshaw fares. If this gets acceptable in Pakistan, we could breathe a sigh of relief. But it’s the men that we fear the most. God knows what crazy things men in our society would do to us, let alone the most lewd remarks. But we women deserve an affordable conveyance, not everyone of us has a car to her own self.

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  • AKB
    Mar 6, 2013 - 4:14AM

    WOMEN CAN OR CANNOT drive motorcyclists appears to be a kinda ‘life and death’ matter for the original poster. He doesn’t seem to have sense enough that he is not living in ’70’s…even during which days he wouldn’t be seated behind his wife straddled and holding his baby for reasons. All the analogies drawn by him are bogus and have no bearing on the issue. Hindus eating beef or Muslims eating pork and drinking wine is not a symbol of modernization.
    Modernization doesn’t imply that we go naked in the streets and turn our societies sex free.
    The OP seems to have a confused mind and between the lines he’s only tried to hurl his prejudices at the religion as usual. With a biased outlook against Muslims and Pakistani’s I fail to understand what the Dr is trying to achieve unless he is backed by some foreign element to carry on with his campaign.

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  • AKB
    Mar 10, 2013 - 12:24AM

    a useless article containing nothing significant or worthy to discuss.

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