As the world debates whether bikini should be the appropriate beachwear, a new fight is brewing in India over hijab-wearing students in college campuses.
Muslim women wear hijab for many reasons. Some women wear it for the religious belief and some wear it for their own identity. Some others wear hijab as Allah instructed them to wear it as a sort of fulfillment of his commandment of modesty.
Just like no one has the right to enforce women to wear hijab, no one has the right to put a restriction on women who do wear it out of choice.
A shameful incident back in November 2016 questioned the ‘equal right’ to practise religious belief in India. Fakeha, a 19-year-old medical student from Mumbai, fought a legal battle for her right to wear hijab. Fakeha took admission in Sai Homeopathic Medical College, a private institute in Bhiwandi, North Mumbai. She took admission in the 5-year Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) programme in November 2016. After three days of admission, the college denied her entry because she was a hijabi.
She went to court and put her all efforts to come back to college. The college administration had referred to ‘uniformity in clothing’ as the reason to disallow her entry to the college. Fakeha felt that it was just Islamophobia.
A few weeks back, Fakeha won the year-long legal battle after the Bombay court decided in her favour and ordered the college to let her attend the lectures with her hijab on. Fakeha is back in college and can attend lectures with her hijab, but other students have been warned not to talk to her and the college has denied issuing her identity card and journal. Fakeha claims that it is the new way to harass her.
Similar incidents have taken place against hijabi women in India.
A few months ago in New Delhi, a 27-year-old woman was denied a job in an orphanage because she was a hijabi. The recruiter at the orphanage in Kotla Mubarakpur said that the premise is ‘religion-free’ and her head-scarf ‘will make her look like a Muslim from even a distance of a kilometre’.
In another incident back in 2012, Sri Ramakunjeshwara First Grade College in Karnataka imposed a blanket ban on wearing hijab on campus. According to the management of the college, “wearing hijab in classrooms may affect the academic process and would make students belonging to other communities feel uncomfortable.” More than 100 Muslim students of the college started boycotting the classes against this ban.
The largest Constitution of the world provides their citizens the right to freely practise their religion without harming the interests of others, and wearing a hijab doesn’t cause any harm to others. But the communal hooligans of the country intentionally pick these cases to create nuisance and disturbance.
As a human being, everyone has the right to live their lives up to their expectations and choices; no one has or ever will have this right to question others’ choice of living. Going by a statement by Malala Yousufzai, “If a woman can go to the beach and wear nothing, then why can’t she also wear everything?”