Even though India is not a Muslim country, girls on the streets are all covered from tip to toe. There is a dupatta that covers their face and the hand gloves that cover their arms, besides the dress that they are wearing. This is the modern-day incarnation of Hijab, which is an Islamic traditional veil worn by women in the presence of adult males, outside of their immediate family. It usually covers the head and chest, protecting them from inciting evil intentions in a stranger.
In Pakistan, a lot of women do Hijab with their own willingness. Even young girls, who are beautiful enough to make a stranger’s eye distraught, do Hijab willingly. The girls feel comfortable in hijab, denying the fact that it hinders their freedom to wear whatever they like.
Talking about Iran (earlier known as Persia), it is mandatory for women to wear Hijab in public since 1979. Not just Iran, many other Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia, women are legally required to wear Hijab.
Many in these nations believe that Hijab should be banned. Forcing someone to wear Hijab due to family pressure or it being punishable by law is morally disgusting. But if they come down to India, they will be surprised that in a secular nation where various religious communities co-exist, Hijab has been embraced by young girls.
In fact, they are protecting themselves on their own. This empowers them to have an independent existence. For those who don’t know, Hijab has been in accordance to the guidelines of Islamic modesty, as applicable to ladies of their own accord and without any kind of compulsion. It was a step to allow them to securely move out and perform their duties.
If you stand by the road side to observe girls riding their vehicles, you will see how much innovation they have put into the tradition of Hijab. Their hijab is fashionable, colourful and modern. And the most interesting part of it is that, it is not regulated by any law in India!
Astonishingly, you may assume that the girl on the vehicle is a Muslim, when you see her wearing a Hijab. Your assumption can be true a several times because Hijab is no longer restricted to the Muslim girls in India. Independent girls and even ladies, from all other walks of life, have begun wearing Hijab.
Of course, their reasons will be different. It might to safeguard their skin from pollution or from tanning, but then, that is also a kind of protection that comes from Hijab. India has become an example of accepting the right practices, without creating a taboo out of it. This is certainly the unity in diversity we Indians are all about!