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Gehraaiyaan And The Hijab Controversy

One should always agree to disagree and live in peace with disagreement but that doesn’t seem to be our case, whether its a movie or what a woman wears.

When I open up news/social media sites the past few days (more social media than news), it looks like India and its people are ridden with two controversies.

Both seemingly different but still ironically based of similar roots.

The hijab and the Movie Gehraaiyaan.

There have been cases of some educational institutions in India banning students who wear a hijab, to enter the premises and that seems to be spewing fire on social media.

As always people are either vehemently supporting or not supporting the cause; in this case being the freedom for Muslim women to wear the hijab.

The movie Gehraaiyaan.

Apparently it has invoked controversies too. Infidelity, skimpy (read, athletic) clothes, affair with cousin’s fiancé etc. etc. has been too much for an Indian crowd to digest.

At least for a big chunk of the movie viewing crowd.

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I can say this with considerable surety because a recent post of mine supporting the movie in its concept, faced some unexpected onslaught.

As a country when and why have we got so in intolerant with differences… with ideas which may not be our own?

One should always agree to disagree and live in peace with disagreement but that doesn’t seem to be our case. We are very easily worked up by anything different from our own.

Before I come to the hijab, let me pen down a few words regarding India, a secular India. Secularism was an important tenet for India post independence for a very important reason.

Every person, every community which inhabited India belonged to the one and only identity; being Indian, being Hindustani.

Even if their ancestors had come from foreign lands, they had come many many centuries ago.

People in India whoever they may be, had roots nowhere else except in India.

Hence the freedom to be themselves, to practice what they have been practicing was so important for every Indian.

I am a Muslim and I don’t wear the hijab for reasons which are nothing but personal.

However I stand strong supporting the choice of any Muslim woman who chooses to don one.

As I would stand with any Hindu woman to wear a Bindi or a Mangalsutra, or a Sikh man to wear a turban.

I might never be the Alisha (the character played by Deepika Padukone) in the movie Gehraaiyaan because her choices might never be my choices.

However I would never deem her choices to be wrong.

My biggest strength being an Indian is my ability to who heartedly welcome differences. And I wish all my fellow Indians the same strength.

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