Muslim students and teachers forced to remove their burqas and hijabs in Karnataka and other BJP-ruled states led to considerable controversy in India. Both say wearing these outfits is their fundamental right to cover their bodies the way they want or according to their social or religious customs or traditions.

Are hijab and burqas integral to Islam? Certainly not.

In some Muslim countries like Kosovo, Azerbaijan, Tunisia, and Turkey, the hijab is banned in schools, universities, and government buildings. In other Muslim countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Brunei, Maldives and Somalia. However, in Muslim countries like Iran and Afghanistan, the hijab is required.

Despite utmost respect for individual freedoms, as long as these do not harm society, I can accept wearing the hijab, but not the entire body covering from head to toe with a burqa.

Both seem to be mandatory creation of men in the traditional patriarch societies where they curtailed women’s freedoms.

And over the centuries, these dictums became the accepted norms for women to cover their bodies.

The burqa and hijab custom has created a mindset attitude among Muslim women that it is their freedom to wear these items. They seem caught up in this tradition created by men.

Muslim women sticking to the burqa-hijab custom need to rethink. These outfits are not healthy as their non-exposure denies them the essence of getting vitamin D from the sun rays, the only source that supplies the essential vitamin.

Muslim men don’t wear burqa and hijab. Why this custom applies to only women?

-Promod Puri

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