A couple of years ago Akhilesh Yadav announced that any Muslim girl who passes her Class 10 exams would get a cheque for Rs 30,000 to pay for her dowry or further education.
Since, to please my parents, I had just managed to pass those same exams on my 51st attempt, I went along to claim my cheque.
The Bureaucrats, true to form, tried to put obstacles in my way. Indeed, one of them hinted that I sounded more like an elderly Tamil man rather than a delicate Muslim damsel.
'You are trying to destroy my Religion by tempting me, with an offer of filthy lucre, to lift my veil and disclose my moon like face' I shrieked angrily.
They assured me that they had no desire at all to see my face and explained that a lady official would take me to a separate room where I could unveil myself without fear of breaking the rules of my Religion.
'Don't be foolish!' I shouted, 'Unveiled women don't understand modesty. Even if this lady officer of yours isn't a shameless lesbian, still what is to prevent her blurting out to all and sundry the secret of my beauty? Veil is there so modesty is preserved. Purpose is defeated if the populace comes to know that the face behind this veil is such as causes Dawn to bite its rosy fingers in envious dismay and the Nightingale to abandon the Rose.'
'But,' one half blind little clerk said, 'How will people know that it is you beneath burkha?'
'Arre ulloo ke patte,' I shrieked, 'You people yourself said they had never seen a six foot tall, 90 kg, lady in burkha! Of course, everybody will know it is me! Even suppose there were 2 Muslim girls of my description. Still, 50 percent of the time the Religious purpose of the veil is defeated. Since strict observance of burkha is ordained so as to cover against even a fraction of a percentage risk, clearly, more especially in a State where burkha wearing Muslim women are a minority, even if I was of normal size, still Religion militates against what you suggest.'
'All right, all right,' the Bureaucrats said, 'Our director, Begum Tabatabai, wears burkha and is from the most scholarly and pious lineage. Even you can't suspect that a lady of her stature would garrulously recount the tale of your supposed beauty. Thus you may kindly unveil before her. '
'Agreed!' I said, 'Now give me my cheque.'
'First, you have to see Begum Tabatabai.'
'To verify you are indeed a female.'
'But how do I know she is female? You said she wears burkha like me'
'She will lift her veil first.'
'But how can I participate in a conspiracy to destroy the Religion of my Muslim elder sister? You are only asking her to unveil before me because you suspect I am a man. Even if I have prior knowledge that your conspiracy will fail- i.e. I know it is a case of 'impossible attempt'- still I would be guilty of aiding and abetting your dastardly plot against Religion. Modesty can never plot against Modesty. To attempt to recruit it for so fell a purpose is to directly attack Islam. Is this really what Akhilesh Bhaiyya wants?'
What expedient did the bureaucrats hit upon such that I neither got my cheque nor could claim that Muslim Religion was being destroyed?