Recently in India I inquired from a Mohammedan gentleman why their women are ardently concealed behind a curtain of cloth, which often completely covers their faces? He replied, “If you have a valuable diamond, which to you is precious and dear, how will you keep it? Will you store it in an old cardboard box in the backyard rubbish heap? No, naturally, you will protect it by putting it safely and securely in a place where the untrustworthy can neither see it nor steal it. Our women are very important to us; they are the personality behind a happy household. We know that if they flaunt themselves in public, they will be mislead, and then the foundation of our society will be ruined.”
My mouth dropped open; I was speechless. The Muslims, like the Hare Krsnas, obviously have this question repeatedly asked to them by the “non-believers”, and this gentleman had a very poignant answer. He was not intimidated by the query, rather, he proudly made this presentation on behalf of the women in his community.
I have observed that ISKCON women more often are replacing the sari with other kinds of “more practical” attire. Many wear Punjabi suits, long skirts (or even short ones) dresses, moo-moo’s, jogging suits or shorts to putter around the house or go shopping. Often the only time a sari is worn is to come to the temple feast on Sundays. Even more often we see that the sari has been replaced by Western clothes in the name of “selling more books” or “collecting more laksmi.”