Babasaheb Ambedkar, a known critique of social evils amongst Hindus, had no difficulty in accepting "Muslims have all the social evils of the Hindus and something more."
When today's liberal jamaat is busy proving how liberating a burqa or hijab is, let's contrast their opinions with that of a true liberal like Babasaheb Ambedkar's. Though today's liberal jamaat can give respite to over-worked Muslim clerics by declaring the medieval veil to be part of "authentic" Islam, Ambedkar had no difficulty in calling a spade a spade. Unlike today's defensive liberals who manufacture false equivalence between Islam and other religions in an attempt to save Islam from any genuine criticism, Ambedkar, a known critique of social evils amongst Hindus, had no difficulty in accepting "Muslims have all the social evils of the Hindus and something more." Let's listen to his views:
Burqa: Cause of Incarceration of Muslim Women
There can thus be no doubt that the Muslim Society in India is afflicted by the same social evils same as the Hindu Society. Indeed, the Muslims have all the social evils of the Hindus and something more. That something more is the compulsory system of purdah for Muslim women. As a consequence of the purdah system, segregation of Muslim women is brought about. The ladies are not expected to visit the outer rooms, verandahs or gardens. Their quarters are in the backyard. All of them, young and old, are confined in the same room. No male servant can work in their presence. A woman is allowed to see only her sons, brothers, father, uncles and husband, or any other near relation who may be admitted to a position of trust.
Burqa causes violence to aesthetics
She cannot go to the mosque to pray and must wear a burka (veil) whenever she has to go out. These burka women walking in the streets is one of the hideous sights one can witness in India.
Burqa: Cause of Many Physical Ailments of Women
Such seclusion cannot but have its deteriorating effects upon the physical constitution of Muslim women. They are usually victims of anaemia, tuberculosis and pyorrhoea. Their bodies are deformed, with their backs bent, bones protruded, hands and feet crooked. Ribs, joints and nearly all their bones ache. Heart palpitation is very often present in them. The result of this pelvic deformity is untimely death at the time of delivery.
Burqa: Cause of Agony, Pettiness and Moral Degeneration
Purdah deprives Muslim women of mental and moral nourishment. Being deprived of healthy social life, the process of moral degeneration must and does set in. Being completely secluded from the outer world, they engage their minds in petty family quarrels with the result that they become narrow and restricted in their outlook.
Burqa: Cause of Under-Development, Slavish Mentality and Inferiority Complex
They lag behind their sisters from other communities, cannot take part in any outdoor activity and are weighed down by a slavish mentality and an inferiority complex. They have no desire for knowledge because they are taught not to be interested in anything outside the house's four walls. Purdah women become helpless, timid, and unfit for any fight in life.
Origin of Burqa: Deep-Rooted Suspicion of Sexual Appetites
Considering many purdah women among Muslims in India, one can easily understand the vastness and seriousness of the problem of purdah. The physical and intellectual effects of purdah are nothing compared to its effects on morals. The origin of purdah lies, of course, in the deep-rooted suspicion of sexual appetites in both sexes, and the purpose is to check them by segregating the sexes. But far from achieving the purpose, purdah has adversely affected the morals of Muslim men.
Burqa Affects Morals of Muslim Men too
Purdah has adversely affected the morals of Muslim men. Owing to purdah, a Muslim has no contact with any woman outside of those who belong to his household. Even with them, his contact extends only to the occasional conversation. For a male, there is no company and no commingling with the females except those who are children or aged. This isolation of the males from females is sure to produce bad effects on the morals of men.
Burqa: A Cause of Sexual Excesses and Morbid Habits
It requires no psychoanalyst to say that a social system that cuts off all contact between the two sexes produces an unhealthy tendency towards sexual excesses and unnatural and other morbid habits and ways.
Burqa Causes Social Segregation Between Hindus & Muslims
The evil consequences of purdah are not confined to the Muslim community. It is responsible for the social segregation of Hindus from Muslims, which is the bane of public life in India. This argument may appear far-fetched, and one is inclined to attribute this segregation to the unsociability of the Hindus rather than purdah among the Muslims. But the Hindus are right when they say that it is impossible to establish social contact between Hindus and Muslims because such contact can only mean contact between women from one side and men from the other. Not that purdah and the evils consequent thereon are not found among certain sections of the Hindus in certain parts of the country. But the point of distinction is that among the Muslims, purdah has a religious sanctity that it has not with the Hindus. Purdah has deeper roots among the Muslims than it has among the Hindus, and can only be removed by facing the inevitable conflict between religious injunctions and social needs. The problem of purdah is a real problem with the Muslims—apart from its origin— which it is not with the Hindus. There is no evidence of any attempt by the Muslims to do away with it.
[Note: All excerpts are taken from BR Ambedkar's 1945 book Pakistan or the Partition of India. Some Words and sentences have been italicised for emphasis.]