This unveiling campaign, however, took place in the context of a half-century of Russian colonization and the long-standing suspicion of rural Muslim peasants toward an urban, colonial state. Widespread resistance to the idea of unveiling quickly appeared and developed into a broader anti-Soviet animosity among Uzbeks of both sexes. Over the next quarter-century a bitter and often violent confrontation ensued, with battles being waged over indigenous practices of veiling and seclusion.
New local and national identities coalesced around the very symbols that had been placed under attack. Despite their stated goals, Bolshevik leaders inadvertently strengthened the seclusion of Uzbek women. Soviet efforts were largely responsible for creating the veil as a "national" symbol emblematic of a "tradition" that actually was quite new. Northrop's fascinating and evocative book thus shows both the fluidity of Central Asian cultural practices and the real limits that existed on Stalinist authority, even during the ostensibly totalitarian 1930s....Continua