Hindutva fascists’ war against hijab

Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal

The tyranny of Hindutva fascism

Hindutva fascism is not only a political ideology. It has an aggressive ideological, education, cultural, and military agenda. It is the Hindu supremacism that wants to overwhelm all other faiths, beliefs and cultures in India. Hence it possesses the necessary venom to generate unending war in all those frontiers. Now the defenceless Muslim girls face the brunt of the Hindutva war in their colleges for their Muslim dress called hijab. In India, the Hindutva fascists show their unprecedented surge and display all the components of fascism in their ongoing war against 200 million Indian Muslims. Savarkar and Golwalker –founders of this toxic ideology didn’t keep any room for the Indian Muslims to be equal citizens of India. To be an Indian, it needs to be a follower of a religion born only in Indian soil. These are Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism.

Since Islam came from outside India, Muslims don’t qualify for that. But what they qualify as per Hindutva ideologues is the commonly raised slogan in rallies that stipulates either to Pakistan or kabaristan (graveyard). Savarkar admired Hitler for his success in cleansing Jews from Germany. And admiring Hitler has its own implied connotation; it means adopting his methodology of cleansing the minority. In January, 2022, an open call for genocidal cleansing of the Muslim was made from the podium of a three-day convention of the Hindutva spiritual leaders in the state of Uttar Khand. So the Hindutva agenda is not secret, rather its genocidal ambition is displayed in public.

The Hindutva extremists find it offensive not only the Islamic faith but also the Muslim dress like hijab. So the provincial government of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) banned hijab in schools and colleges of Karnataka state of India. The Muslims female students are being ordered to take off their hijab at the gates before entering into the classes. The Hindutva state authority argues that hijab is divisive and is banned to promote equality among students. Ironically, here the issue of equality is being abused to deprive Muslim girls of their religious rights. In fact, inequality is the societal, religious and cultural norm of Hindu society and it is incorrigible. The Hindu religion not only legalises inequality but also sanctifies it in the name of religion’s embedded caste system. Hence, more than 200 Indians face exclusion from the mainstream and stay segregated as untouchables. These so-called lower caste people are banned from even entering temples. Now they ban hijab to promote equality!          


The violation of the constitutional rights

The state government of Karnataka has invoked section 133(2) of the Karnataka Education Act 1983 which says that a uniform-style of clothes has to be worn compulsorily by all students. Whereas, as per Article 25 of the Indian constitution, every person including a student is equally entitled to follow his or her religious clothing as instructed by their own religion. If the religious clothing is subversive to public order, morality, health and other fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution, only then the religious practice can be regulated or restrained. In this case, there is no reason to believe that wearing of hijab disturbs public order in any educational institution. Neither is it considered immoral and injurious to the health of any third person. Moreover, hijab is not a new issue in the life of Indian Muslims; Muslim women are using it for centuries. Hijab has never infringed upon any other persons’ fundamental rights that are guaranteed under Part III of the Indian constitution. Hence, under Article 25 of the constitution, no authority has the right to infringe upon a Muslim woman’s right if she intends to wear hijab in public places. Moreover, the constitutional provision has the inherent right to overwrite any departmental order. But fascism does obey any law. They consider the whim of the Hindu majority as supreme and overwriting over the rights of the minorities. They frame laws only to promote and execute their fascist agenda. So the fundamental right that the Muslim females of India enjoyed in the last 75 years of Indian freedom is taken away by the Hindutva rulers of the Karnataka state.  It is the test ground. If they succeed in the execution, they will take it to the other provincial states.


Discriminating the Muslims

Article 14 of the Indian constitution guarantees every person the right to get equal treatment by the law enforcing authority. But by banning hijab, the Muslim women are being discriminated from others. This is an overt violation of the constitutional provision. The people of other faiths like Hindus and Sikhs overwrite the uniform code of schools, institutions and even the Indian Army. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh attends government offices like a Hindu priest. His Hindu religious attire is not a problem there.

In Sikhism, there are five articles of faith, known as ‘the five Ks’. Sikhs are commanded to wear at all times and at all places including educational institutions to demonstrate their religious faith. These include Kesh (uncut hair), Kara (a steel bracelet), Kangha (a wooden comb), Kachera (cotton underwear) and Kirpan (steel sword). Wearing the five K’s are justifiably considered the essential religious practices under Article 25 and thus, Sikhs are permitted to wear these five K’s in educational institutions. Likewise, the wearing of hijab comes under essential religious practice under Article 25. Therefore, why hijab should be treated differently from the religious clothing of other people. Where is the equal application of the constitutional provision?


Hijab is a religious obligation

Among the religious scholars of all sects of Islam, there exists a clear consensus on the obligation of hijab for the Muslim women. The command for covering the body of a woman comes in verse 59 of Surah Al Ahzab. The Qur’anic term jalabib -commonly pronounced as jilbab has been mentioned in the verse. It tells about the obligatory Islamic dress code for all women. All expert interpreters of the Holy Qur’an agree on the matter that jalabib (jilbab) not only consists of a scarf that covers the head, the neck and the bosom, but also includes the overall dress that should be long and loose enough to modestly cover the whole part of the body –as commonly worn by a hijabi lady in all over the Muslim world. The jilbab must conceal the underclothes. There is also special mention in the verse that Muslim women must wear the veil in order to be known and recognized as believing women and to be protected. So it is not merely a dress but a solemn symbol of the Muslim identity. It is an inherent expression of faith which a Muslim can’t abandon.   

In addition, in Surah Noor, in verse 31, there has been an obligatory guidance on women’s dress code. It is made mandatory on every woman to cover their head and body and it is made haram (forbidden) to exhibit their adornment to others except their husband, father, husband’s father, sons, husbands’ sons, brothers, brothers’ sons, sisters’ sons and a few other categories of people. So hijab was never an obscure issue in Islam.

In the event of violation of the dress code, there is a punishment. It is narrated from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): there exist three categories of people about whose evil fate one should not feel sorry. Of them, there is a category of woman whose husband goes away after having provided her with provisions but she displays her beauty during his absence. So one should not be concerned about them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also warned of the days when women will abandon the Islamic dress code. He told: “There will be, in the latter days of my ummah, when women who will be dressed, but in fact stay undressed. Curse them. They are accursed.”

Therefore, wearing hijab is not a wishful optional issue. Those who want to be Muslim, they must abide by the Islamic dress code fully. An army man is known by his uniform. Likewise, a Muslim woman is known by his hijab. It is a part of her life. The Holy Quran, Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) and all religious scholars are very explicit on the Islamic dress code. Any non-adherence to the dress code and exposing the body otherwise is forbidden (haram). Therefore banning hijab tantamount to declare war against Islam and Muslims. The BJP has already launched such a war against Muslims. As a result, India now stands a war zone for a believer in Islam.  20/02/2022.

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