DELHI: Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma today found himself in the middle of yet another controversy for his remarks that foreigners travelling to India should avoid wearing skirts, forcing him to issue a clarification. Sharma said his comments were “advisory in nature” and were meant for those tourists who were visiting religious places. Talking to reporters yesterday in Agra, he had said, “For their own safety, women foreign tourists should not wear short dresses and skirts… Indian culture is different from the western (culture).” The remarks evoked a sharp reactions with Congress leader Manish Tiwari terming them as “most uncultured remarks” and Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal saying that the comments reveal a very “horrible and pathetic mindset”.
Clarifying his remarks, Sharma said, “It is country with different cultures, different eating habits and different dressing senses which change on every 100 km. We have a tradition (of saying) Atithi Devobhava (the guest is almost like God). Such a ban is unimaginable. I said this as an advisory when going to religious places. Like when we go to gurudwara, we cover our heads, when we go to temple, we remove our shoes,” Sharma said.
“I am a father of (two) daughters. I have not said what one person should wear or not wear, neither it is desired nor I am authorised to say so. I have only said this as an advice when they visit to religious place,” he added.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also took a dig at Sharma, saying “Women had greater freedom to wear clothes of their choice in Vedic times than they have in Modi times.”
Asserting that the Culture Minister of India, at times comes out with the most ‘uncultured’ remarks possible, Congress leader Manish Tewari told ANI that India celebrates its diversity and also respects the traditions and conservatism which is an intrinsic part of our society. ‘India also gives everybody the liberty to be permissive, modern, extremely liberal in their habits, disposition and even in the clothes that they wear. So therefore this diversity of culture is something that the Culture Minister should recognise. But as I said that if ‘Pandit’ Mahesh Sharma has his way, he will put every woman in this country in a burqa,’ Tewari said.
With inputs from ANI and PTI