Dawoodi bohra rida, an innovative clothing style for Muslim
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There are lots of controversies regarding burqa being a religious
obligation for Muslim communities in the whole world. This piece of
clothing is having several variations across the world. While at
some places it covers the whole body except face, but others are
having even that too covered only leaving a small area in front of
the eyes open.
In India, there is a unique adaptation of burqa dress which is known
as Dawoodi bohra rida. It is a variation of burqa utilized by
Dawoodi bohras community of Muslims in India. Dawoodi bohra rida is
actually the main branch of Bohras which is an Indian based
community of Muslims and which are more secular as compared to any
other community. They are having a strong belief for the education
and empowerment of women.
The dawoodi bohra rida is evidently dissimilar to any other
variations of Muslim’s main clothing. This dress is having a riot of
colors unlike traditional burqa which is very limited in terms of
It has been said by the community members that there is an
interesting story behind these bright colors of dawoodi bohra rida.
It was in early seventies when the clash between the community
members of reformist and orthodox reached its peak. That time, the
religious head Syedna of this orthodox community made dawoodi bohra
rida compulsory to distinguish the members of this community from
other members of reformist group. Also the men were asked to grow
and keep long beard for the same purpose. The announcement for the
compulsion of this dress Dawoodi bohra rida was so sudden that it
left many women unaware of this. This dress was born in the moment
of emergency when women have to tear up their colorful saris
overnight to stitch this dress. And that is how the concept of
dawoodi bohra rida came into existence.
In Muslim localities of the country, one can easily distinguish the
presence of the members of Dawoodi Bohra group from their dressing
style. One imaginative writer symbolized the women wearing dawoodi
bohra rida as tea-cosies walking on the road.
Studies and researches on the history of the Dawoodi bohra community
has shown that, the dress Dawoodi bohra rida has gone many
variations since the time it was originated. From these studies
only, it came out that almost one hundred years ago, the women of
almost all the Muslim communities had to wear burqa which covers
their face completely leaving only a small space near the front of
their eyes. But contradictory to that, the women of the Dawoodi
bohra community do not cover their face anymore.
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Some members of the community say that previously this dress was
only wore by the priestly families. But nowadays more than 90% of
the women belonging to this community wear Dawoodi bohra rida. Even
the students are taking interest in adapting this style garments
with some alterations in colleges. Some say that the Dawoodi bohra
rida is more likely an Arabian dress design to adapt in deserts to
protect the face from sand.