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Losing the Freedom of Religion & Attire

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By: Mashoq Nawab

The Quran (Chapter 24, verse 31) instructs men to observe modesty: “Say to the believing men that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts.That is purer for them.Surely,Allah is well aware of what they do.”

India is a diverse country with many religions. Our constitution is strong enough to hold the country together both in peace and wartime. Freedom of religion in India is a fundamental right, guaranteed to each and every citizen. India’s Constitution guarantees a person the freedom to practice religion as a fundamental right, subject to certain restrictions. In the past, the courts have held that the right to wear a hijab would fall under the protections guaranteed by the Constitution which allowed Hijab for muslim women, Ghoonghat for Hindu women &Turbun for Sikhs. It is the right of the individual to practice and hold on to the fundamentals of a religion in all matters including dress and nobody has a right to enforce women to their choice of wear.

To a Muslim, hijab represents devotion to God and is an important article of faith. Unfortunately, hijab has been stereotyped as a symbol of suppression and oppression by societies that have no idea about the matter at all. A country which ensures freedom of choice to every religion now witnesses few universities and colleges going against the constitution by denying education on the basis of hijab. This matter is actually against the soul of this nation as it challenges the constitution.

The choice of Muslim students to wear hijab in colleges and schools is an accepted practice everywhere in the country and imposing a sudden ban is unwarranted and detrimental not only to the students but also to the State and its goal to educate more girl children. The sudden decision to lock gates on students wearing hijab will harm the congenial relations in colleges and create a religious divide and banning hijab will deprive Muslim women of the benefits of attending multi-religious and secular institutions.

Hijab is an act of obedience to the creator and Muslim students should not be singled out in this matter as it is going to ultimately stop them from attending educational institutions. Many Senior politicians of our country condemned the ban of wearing Hijab & criticized concerned authorities for such a decision while cautioning that this might lead to also targeting Sikhs who wear Turbans, Christians have their crucifix crucifix around their neck, hindus who sometimes comes with ‘Tilak’.

Our country is a diverse country were we have a varieties of people with different  caste, creed, color, race & religion thriving together from eons. People need harmony and peaceful relations to survive and work shoulder to shoulder for the betterment of our country.

The writer is a Social Activist & is currently working as contractual lecturer at AGS Chandigam & can be reached on mashoqnawab1989@gmail.com

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