The ongoing hijab controversy in India is nothing more than a tried-and-tested election-winning formula that sets the ball rolling for the BJP with the ongoing assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP’s strategy is to keep the pot boiling among the mass and create a diversion to get votes.
Wearing a hijab or not is one’s personal choice and right and this right is given and protected by the Constitution of India. It is the same Constitution that gives Yogi Adityanath the liberty to wear a saffron attire and sit on the Chief Minister’s chair and the likes of Sadhvi Pragya to attend Parliament. Sikhs also are free to wear a turban and are allowed to carry kirpan even at the airport.
Also read: Let’s focus on getting women into education, work. Don’t make it conditional on what they wear
Where is the outrage?
The distressing outcome in the hijab row is the silence of feminists and organisations claiming to rescue the dignity and pride of women. They haven’t extended their support to the girls of Karnataka, because a particular religion is involved. They are afraid to call a spade a spade. The last nail in the coffin was the incident in the educational premise, where a large group of men was seen heckling a single hijab-clad Muslim girl. A look at the viral video and one can imagine how the situation could easily have gone out of hand.
Can you recall the last time feminists raised their voices in matters of violence against women? When Kabir Singh was released, in which a fictional character was seen depicting toxic masculinity, feminists came to rescue the film’s female protagonist Preeti. They demanded justice for her, took the initiative to speak of her rights freely because it was a movie and that would not jeopardise their position. But now a religion is involved, and if you don’t want to take a stand for the sake of hijab, at least stand against the harassment of Muskan Khan. However, blaming only feminists for this will do no justice at all. We are also to be blamed.
What seems to be missing from the picture is the sheer conscience of people across the spectrum. Despite initiatives like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, ground reality for women is either still the same or deteriorating. This statement can be supported by the number of rape cases, be it Kathua, Unnao or recently, Hathras, molestation and harassment incidents that leave behind lifelong scars in the lives of women. The deteriorating state of women in India needs to be addressed.
The author is a student at M. J. P. Rohilkhand University, Bareilly. Views are personal