Salil Gewali

It is not surprising that some women still favour and fancy wearing “heavy” veils though that may literally hinder them from becoming their best self. Of course, everyone has his/her own personal choices and preferences; we have no right to ridicule him/her. But what is very disgusting is that this small row over Hijab at one of the schools in Karnataka has rocked the entire world.  The group of school girls involved in the hijab issue has been repeatedly incited by top leaders and celebrities. Are they not those people who in fact have clamoured their whole lives to free women from the shackles of repressive subjugation? Then why such double standards? Not just that, women who have not worn any covering over their heads also came forward and provoke the gullible crowds to jump into the pit of servitude.

Very sadly, this petty case has immediately drawn the attention of the international media. The Washington Post, The New York Times, BBC, The Guardian all screamed at the top of their lungs. They seemingly shifted their pitch from the “notion of liberation” to bondage! This has only further poured fuel on the fire of controversy. This global coverage emboldened the agitating groups. More and more violent mobs then took to the street. Is this the ethics of journalism? What is contrastingly noteworthy here is that all these top media people never yelled when M Lavanya, a 12th standard student of Sacred Heart School in Tamil Nadu committed suicide because she had reportedly been tortured and coerced into getting converted to Christianity. There are many such instances happening on a daily basis. Why do the big media houses remain silent against such godless activities by the specific religions?

While I do not subscribe to a whole lot of misleading opinions in favour of “burkas”, including against, a few comments by the level-headed people caught my attention.  A scholar from Lahore – Khalid Umar, who now lives in London, laments with frank earnestness by saying — “Staying in a beautiful country like India you are still fighting to wear what Muslim women in Islamic nations are trying to get rid of! How much more political can you get? When living abnormal & imposed life is conditioned as a normal one, a normal one surely seems like a terror! True is the saying that it is all about a perspective. For Islam, their perspective has become a talk & laughter of the world.”

A similar concern is also shared by another outspoken lawyer from New Delhi — Ms. Subuhi Khan. Ms. Khan in her lecture to a crowd of females remarks recently: “The first wife of Prophet Muhammad — Khadijah al-Kubra was a businesswoman who freely interacted with both males and females; she never confined herself within the four walls of a household. There are a number of undesirable practices in our society that have brought a bad name to our culture. This has ultimately misled our impressionable youths as we have witnessed in the hijab controversy now.” Again, roared the Governor from Kerala – Arif Mohd. Khan – “Hijab is a tool of suppression. Quran makes no mention of Hijab”

The above comments deeply touched my heart. They are genuine voices concerning how women have been subjected to inhuman oppression and exploitation for ages. How the religion has been deliberately “misinterpreted” to bully women into submission. This writer has met with a number of progressive but distressed parents with their daughters who disagree with the excessive subjugation of women. They often take to social media to express their displeasure.

Well, I will not go further but the sense of “rationality” and “piety” should go hand in hand in the 21st Century.   The purity of heart and feeling of “equality” alone help create a conducive environment to broaden one’s outlook.   True, what one prefers to wear or practice in personal life should not be a matter of others’ concern. But it should encourage a holier-than-thou attitude among the community.  In the public and academic sphere, each of us should be “accommodative” and considerate.  Nothing should stand in one’s way of personality development. God will shower His blessings upon us if we learn to live and also let others live in peace and harmony.

Very importantly, we should fall prey to the propaganda of media houses that come with big brands. They are around to throw the thick veil of hypocrisy over us! Better cry out against their disservice to humanity.

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