Religion often termed a private practice, infiltrated the uniformity of the schools when a few girl students tried to wear a ‘Hijab’ instead of the uniform. The ‘Hijab Row’ immediately spread like a forest fire covering Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and even Pondicherry.
Starting from a school in Karnataka, advocates for Hijab knocked on the Supreme court door. SC raised many questions including that a practicing Islamic woman may be entitled to wear the Hijab, but the question is whether it can be applied to schools, where uniforms are mandatory.
A bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia, while listening to the petitions commented that even golf courses and restaurants have dress codes, including courtrooms. To which petitioners argued that even judges wear tilak and pagdi. That’s when Justice Hemant Gupta intervened saying that pagdi isn’t a religious practice, but a symbol of royalty.
The comparison that petitioners gave between Hijab and Chunni was also found baseless in the justice room. To which the court cleared that ‘Chunni’ is something that is worn on the shoulders, and isn’t part of any religious practice.
Though the ‘Hijab’ row is much more than a piece of clothing or religious practice. Allegedly, the hijab row started after students met with the Campus Front of India leaders, which is a student outfit of the banned anti-national radical Islamic outfit, Popular Front of India.
There are several aspects of this story, which take a radical turn whichever way you move. Misinterpreted as just a headscarf, Hijab has been promoted among little school girls. What they are trying to wear in schools is a Niqab or Burqa. Some very demeaning videos were also made by radical so-called influencers. Where girls were compared to lollipops stating that without covering (Hijab/Burqa), they are dirty and useless.
Another radical turn here can be interpreted in the murders and stone pelting that happened during the Hijab row. The need to pelt stones on administration, school authorities, and people from different religions, and destroy government property just reflects the radical mindset. What’s scarier is that many of these stone pelters included school-going kids.
In a response to the Hijab row, many students from the majority started wearing bhagwa shawls and chanting Jai Shree Ram. Anyone reading about this specific ‘Hijab Row’ would remember Muskan, who was portrayed as an idol to other Muslim girls for shouting ‘Allah hu Akbar’ while donning a burqa (portrayed as a hijab). But no one would remember, Harsha, who was killed by pro-hijab supporters just for demanding uniformity in the education system.
The most important take in the Hijab row is quite simple to whomsoever who has simple observance. According to a report by Republic, more than 400 Muslim girls opted out of schools and colleges, while 16% of girls took TC from colleges affiliated with Mangalore University
Dreams of many girls who aspire to study are being kept caged in the radical shackles of religion. When many women in Islamic countries are revolting against the Niqab/Hijab, Indian girls living in a free country are protesting to wear it. Have never seen a woman empowerment that takes you decades back.