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By Saba Rizvi, The India observer, TIO, NJ: There is huge upsurge nationally and internationally on the issue of hijab. Suddenly, it has found resonance with everyone around and people are coming up with various theories justifying that “Why should a woman be forced to wear?” and also of “why shouldn’t she be?”, but that’s not where I wish to delve in.
I am more concerned with why are we letting it be a bait for those who want to feed on for their political advantage or for satiating their grudge against the minority. The power to decide what is essential for a religion can be better understood by someone following it or by someone who knows it well, else we will land up analysing Sharukh khan blowing air after dua to be a spit on late Lata Mangeshkar.
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What I am trying to convey can be better understood by quoting an incident. When a Hindu scholar after translation of Holy Quran went to Premchand for it’s review, the great scholar, writer and poet (Premchand) refused to do so and said it’s not prudent for me to do so as ones subconscious bias and ignorance might affect the colour of book and so he restrained himself.
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I was quite disturbed when the Karnataka hijab furore took place and was shocked to see the level of debate by those who don’t even know the ABCD of it. What minorities eat to what they wear can’t be taken as intrinsically religious and what majority does becomes a part of country and is normal .Uniformity means that it should be uniformly applied to all and not for particular person or group.
What is more surprising to me that I see near no Muslim woman in political space nor Parliament, but suddenly their concern becomes matter of prime importance to all parliamentarians.
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As far as I am concerned I believe in freedom of choice and don’t go with the thought that those who wear it are only modest, humble and of good character and those who don’t wear it are not. That’s completely a matter of choice and you can’t force anyone for anything as that can only lead to what is happening in Iran.
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At the same time the prejudice that those who wear hijab are weak, oppressed and illiterate should also be removed. We are covering our head and not our brain.
Force of idea is more important than idea of force but what raises eyebrows is that why America is supporting Irani women who are opposing hijab? Why did the American businessman, probably the richest man on earth, Elon Musk suddenly wake up and activate his starlink satellite for the Iranians to use the internet when it’s banned in the country. Will he show the same concern for the Palestinian women and children when they are killed in dozens in Israeli bombings over Gaza and West Bank. Is that a genuine concern or an opportunity to target the people they hate?
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We need to understand the political game behind all this and thats what is bothering me that how come suddenly we (Muslim women) become so important for everyone.
I am not against those who are raising voice against hijab but I am worried about whose shoulder you are gradually leaning on. How can we rejoice such things knowing the fact that the majority of our community is being alienated, targeted and cornered by the same people .
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Many feminist all over the world are in support of hijab ban just because it seems as a sign of patriarchy. I don’t say that it’s always the matter of choice for women to wear it or not but what is certain is that who didn’t speak when a minor girl is gang-raped or when Sulli deals or Bulli Bai came up is more threatening to you than the piece of cloth on your head.
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Not wearing hijab is your choice but taking off hijab as a mark of liberation is a myth. Those who are supporting you only wish to remain supportive only if you work within the confines of the definition of assertion and dissent that they provide based on their comfort level and if you don’t, you will be under the same patriarchal set up or political dominance for which you claimed to fight for.
Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai
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