Images of educational institutions barring their gates to women in hijab are dense with implied violence. Used as we have become to the extreme physical violence on display during the period of this regime, both by state authorities and by street mobs launched by Hindutva outfits, in these images is captured in one frozen instant, the ideological violence of Hindu Rashtra. Here is the marked and stigmatized Muslim female body, exiled from the resources of the nation, kept out by iron gates, to be admitted only on the terms set by Hindutva.
But let us note that this is not “only ideological” violence, the power of which we have witnessed in plenty since 2014. We know what terror “mere” words can threaten – “love jihad”, “gau hatya”, “kapdon se pehchane jayenge” – the last, the murderously weighted words of the Prime Minister himself, that those who protest the CAA can be identified by their clothes.
So ideological violence yes, but implicit physical violence too, held only temporarily in abeyance – what if the women decided to climb the gates and insisted on attending class? Or sat quietly on dharna outside? What kind of violence by private security and police would not be unleashed? Just before the pandemic, did we not witness the brutality of police attacks on peaceful student protests against fee hikes in Delhi?
As more and more colleges in Karnataka deny women wearing hijab entry into colleges, and therefore their right to education, the RSS/BJP government of Karnataka backed such moves, invoking the Karnataka Education Act of 1983, Section 133 (2) of which states that students will have to wear a uniform dress chosen by the college authorities. Continue reading Why feminists must oppose the hijab ban in Karnataka colleges