Srinagar/Mumbai: Former actor Zaira Wasim of Dangal fame has expressed her disappointment over the hijab row and said it is an unjust choice to make between education and hijab, which is an obligation in Islam.
The hijab row began last month when six students at Government PU College in Udupi, who attended the class wearing the headscarf were prohibited from entering the college as it was in violation of the stipulated dress code.
Wasim penned a lengthy note on social media, which she posted on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, voicing her opinion on the backlash hijab-wearing girls and women are facing in the country.
The inherited notion of hijab being a choice is an ill-informed one. It’s often either a construct of convenience or ignorance. Hijab isn’t a choice but an obligation in Islam.
Likewise, a woman who wears the hijab is fulfilling an obligation enjoined upon her by the God she loves and has submitted herself to, the National Award-winning actor, who had announced her disassociation from acting in 2019 as it interfered with her faith and religion, wrote in the note.
The 21-year-old said she wears hijab with gratitude and humility but resents those who harass and prevent women from wearing it.
“I, as a woman who wears the hijab with gratitude and humility, resent and resist this entire system where women are being stopped and harassed for merely carrying out a religious commitment,” the Kashmir-born former actor said.
She said that an agenda is being manufactured where women are being asked to make a choice between hijab and education.
Stacking this bias against Muslim women and setting up systems where they should have to decide between education and hijab or to give up either is an absolute injustice, she said.
“You’re attempting to compel them to make a very specific choice that feeds your agenda and then criticising them while they’re imprisoned in what you’ve constructed. There is no other option to encourage them to choose differently. What is this if not a bias with people who confirm it acting in support of it?” she added.
Wasim said she is saddened that the issue is being labelled as one about empowerment.
On top of all this, building a facade that all this is being done in the name of empowerment is even worse when it is quite exactly the opposite of that. Sad,” she concluded.
There have also been reports of similar instances of students turning up at educational institutions with either hijab or saffron shawl in Ramdurg PU College in Belagavi and a college in Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga, and also a group of girls staging demonstration at Bannimantapa (Mysuru) in favour of the hijab.
The issue snowballed into a major controversy and the matter is being heard at the Karnataka High Court.
Wasim, who also starred in the 2017 film Secret Superstar , was last seen in The Sky is Pink (2019). PTI