For a few weeks, Hijab row has been raging in several parts of Bharat. From “Dari hui community”, there have been alleged knife attacks, stone-pelting, and even a murder whose cause people are speculating to be Hijab.
Pro-Hijab miscreants, instigated by radical Islamist organizations like PFI and CFI have been firing their hate-filled guns behind fortified cover of noble, democratic, secular sounding principles like Fundamental Rights, Constitution, Feminism etc.
In this article we’d try to see whether they pass the test of basic logic.
Fundamental Rights Perspective
People demanding it in educational institutions as their Fundamental Right under article 14, 19 and 25 cannot be accommodated “just because it’s their fundamental right.”
Because no Fundamental Right in Bharat is absolute. There are “reasonable restrictions” for every one.
Have you seen employees in public sector:
- Offer Namaz in government office anytime of the day they want? (article 25)
- Installing loudspeaker on desks because…well, Namaz (article 25 and 19.1.a.)
- Dawah and Evangelical conversion activities in government office? (article 25)
- Leaving the office mid-work because …well, Namaz. (article 25 and 19.1.d)
No, because that’d create massive uproar. And that is when Namaz is an essential practice of Islam (or so I heard.) If those rights were absolute, you could’ve seen it officially being recognized as allowed activity, but it isn’t.
School/College uniforms are there because, well, it seeks to inculcate “uniformity,” stupid. Much more than any normal government funded institution (except security forces maybe). Anyone claiming otherwise for educational institutions is dangerously misinformed. The whole concept of uniforms is there because students should not feel they are “different” from their peers.
The only criteria defining their status in class is their performance. That becomes doubly important under Educational Institutions run by Government, because it’s supposed to be “secular.” Allowing public assertion of religious identities in such places would be interpreted by Public as government prioritizing religion over constitution – or more aptly, religion over education. And rightly so!
Leftist feminist perspective
As opposed to all right-thinking feminists, Leftist Feminists interpreting it as “women’s right to choose what to wear” are equally mistaken. Hijab is not just any cloth; like Priyanka Gandhi would’ve you believe (as if dynasty can claim to be feminist after Shah Bano case). Keeping aside the question of “whether it’s a choice”, no-one can argue that Hijab is not a religious symbol. It’s origin, meaning and uses can directly be traced back to Islam.
The point being missed by leftist feminists (perhaps deliberately so) is that people are not against Hijab because its worn by ‘women’ per se. People are arguing against it because it breaks uniformity, and its ties to religion. If tomorrow a Muslim man argues for his right to wear a skullcap to school, or insists on wearing even Hijab, you’ll find the same opposition. If feminists want to question anything, they must question the religion which limits its uses to women.
The other thing that is missing from discourse is what effects it’ll have on men if we allow a piece of cloth whose meaning, as told by Political Islamists today, essentially translates to ‘all men, barring those mentioned in Quran, are predators.’ That philosophy of ‘jewels are guarded behind veils, while filthy sweets in open attract flies.’
For perfectly decent young men who respect women in educational institutes, it’ll definitely have a negative impact on their mental health. But more importantly and much worse, for those few men who do possess such vile, animalistic, stone age tendencies, this’ll serve as the epic confirmation that ‘this is how I’m supposed to be! Heck, Even Bharatiya Government says so!’
Do we really want to create such harmful environment for our women? For a group that insists on ‘teaching your boy to respect women’ this sure looks like a weird way to educate ‘men’ to be, well, ‘cavemen.’ This is like feminist endorsement of the rhetoric that ‘women’s cloths will decide whether she’ll get assaulted or not.’
Even more problematic result? Government’s tacit admission that it can’t protect women from random predators unless they wear Hijab. There are 2 aspects to this admission. One: Bharat is not capable of protecting Muslim women. Two: and if we allow Hijab for the said ‘protection’, that’d mean Bharat doesn’t care about safety of all other women who don’t wear Hijab.
And the most problematic? Government prioritizing Sharia over Constitution of Bharat for securing women rights. The question that leftist feminists have to answer is: What do they profess their loyalty to in India that is Bharat? Constitution or Quran? and what do they think is better capable of ensuring women rights?
Essential practice perspective
Apparently it’s this ground, on which Court will decide whether Hijab can be allowed inside secular institutions.
Nowhere in Quran’s 7 occurrences do we see Hijab and its uses as prescribed by today’s political Islamists, as Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan recently put.
But even if that wasn’t the case, we seriously need to re-consider this whole “Essential Practice Doctrine”. Because other pro-Hijab people do what-aboutery of Sikh Turban. Let me 1st come out and say that the essential practices for Sikhs involve 5 ‘K’s: Kesh, Kaccha, Kada, Kangha and Kirpan. Turban is NOT an essential Sikh religious practice. As recently as 2018, Supreme Court had asked the question.
And even if we decide that these 5 practices are inviolable, Bharat had interfered in even essential religious practices from time to time. Like in Air-India regulation for Kirpan.
So, if even Sikh Kirpan, an essential religious practice, could be interfered with, what gives any other community the absolute right to practice its faith absolutely?
The less we talk about Bharat’s interference in Hindu religious practices, the better it is.
So what about “Idea of India?”
Schools are an institution where children learn about ‘secular aspects of education.’ Students cannot claim that learning about caste-based discrimination or reading about horrible Islamist and British colonialism hurts their religious sentiments or promotes enmity between different groups. Could that be used as a ground for different students to be ‘visibly different’ from others? Do we do that for students who avail reservations or get admission under RTE?
Then why this continued insistence on separatist, exclusivist, supremacist demand to be seen as different from other students by some minorities?
And then Left-Liberals scream about this “otherization” of them at the hands of majority.
You cannot have your apple and eat it too.
Individual rights are a beautiful thing, sure, but institutions also have a right to make certain rules and regulations in the interest of efficient management of whatever they’ve chosen to do for themselves. There is a delicate balance between the two depending on the type of institution, that ensures smooth functioning of society.
In any educational institute, public or private, separatism – and that too, based on religion, should be out of the question. Doubly so, if the institution is public.
Besides, it’s not like this is without precedent in Bharat.
Bharat has interfered enough times in religious affairs in the interest of keeping up with progressive values, at the expense of commonly believed notions of “secularism.” It’s time the State proves that does not translate as “Hindus are the only backward religion in need of reform. Everyone else is doing fine being stuck in 7th century or – 1st , for that matter.”
Or better yet, how about we pull up our breaches, gather the courage, and start a debate on defining the status of the word “secularism” in Constitution? Officially, I mean. With last 1000 years of history on board. Stop pretending that it never happened the way it happened. So that such repeated useless controversies can be nipped in the bud for all the time to come.
After all, children are the future of India that is Bharat.
And we don’t want them to see another partition arising out of Islamist Separatism, do we?