‘An Obligation, Not A Choice’, Ex Actress Zaira Wasim Jumps Into Hijab Ring

SRINAGAR: Kashmir’s Dangal actress Zaira Wasim who quit Bollywood to revive her spiritual and religious moorings, has finally jumped into the Hijab ring that is a raging debate across India. She has said covering the head is not a choice but an obligation in Islam.

Zaira Wasim, Kashmir young actress who quit Bollywood after a spectacular performance

In a brief post on her Instagram, Zaira has termed it “absolute injustice” if women are given an option of either to study or to cover their heads.

“The inherited notion of Hijab being a choice is an ill-informed one. It’s often either a construct of convenience or ignorance,” she wrote. “Hijab isn’t a choice but an obligation in Islam.”

Zaira said that a Hijab-wearing woman is “fulfilling an obligation enjoined upon her by the God she loves and has submitted herself to.”

Hijab triggered a debate within and outside India after a Hijab-wearing college student was heckled in a south Indian state with the cell phones recording the harassment. Subsequently, six students were denied entry into their college for wearing the Hijab. The crisis led to the closure of the educational institutions for three days in Karnataka and the case went to court. The debate is still raging amid elections in UP, Punjab and other states.

“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,” Zaira wrote in her brief comment.

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She adds further: “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. You’re attempting to compel them to make a very specific choice that feeds your agenda and then criticizing 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 regretted that this all is being done in the name of 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.

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