I will not lift my veil,— For, if I did, who knows? The bulbul might forget the rose, The Brahman worshipper Adoring Lakshmi’s grace Might turn, forsaking her, To see my face; My beauty might prevail. Think how within the flower Hidden as in a bower Her fragrant soul must be, And none can look on it; So me the world can see Only within the verses I have writ— I will not lift the veil.
-Princess Zeb-un-Nissa, daughter of Shah Jahan, and Mughal Poet
Dian Pelangi, Indonesian Fashion Designer.
Photos taken from Merchant Daughter Dian Pelangi.
Most people usually describe experiencing a feeling of breathlessness after seeing something beautiful, but I happened to read Princess Zeb-un-nissa’s poem while ever so carelessly scrolling through tumblr, and immediately my breath was taken away. I was so taken aback with the poem that I kept reading it over and over again. Each time the smile on my face growing wider and wider.
It reminded me of what a hijab is: a symbol of modesty, but not a cloth to hide behind. Based on my interpretation the princess had enough confidence in herself to believe that if she raised her veil her own beauty would grab too much attention, it deserved to be kept hidden in only a place few could find. And then there is Dian Pelangi who was able to transcend that. She is an Islamic woman who wears her veil with confidence and despite wearing a cloth to cover her hair she is absolutely gorgeous. Almost doll-like: she is human, but nothing so beautiful she could be considered unreal. The two are parallel in demeanor: unrelenting and so self-assured about themselves they were able to carry themselves to success.
Unfortunately, I’ve always struggled with my self-esteem/confidence and at some point I had thought of wearing a hijab just to cover myself. I was so insecure I thought it would put an end to all my troubles. I wouldn’t have to worry about my hair, face, clothes, and BODY. I wasn’t happy with any of it and was afraid of stares and the thoughts behind them. I wanted to use it as an escape, isn’t that sad? I wasn’t even thinking at all of the responsibility and the meaning behind it. NOW THAT’S SAD. To not take into consideration the religious or spiritual aspects behind it is neglectful. However, people will always criticize and judge. There is no use in pleasing everyone. Pleasing yourself is of more importance. My thoughts hold different today, but I’ve really started taking the time to think about what it means to wear one.