Shireen Madiha has finally stepped
into the university on her conditions. She had refused to bow down
to the union's diktat that every woman teacher will have to wear a
burqa on campus.
Now she has succeeded and the union is forced to accept its defeat.
Shireen [her name wrongly appeared as Sirin Middya in some
newspapers] had invited the ire of the students' union in Kolkata's
Aliah University, where she taught Bangla literature, for not
wearing the veil.
The union members had asked her to comply just like other Muslim
women in the institution. However, the lecturer refused. She took a
strong stand against this irrational 'order'. Started in 1781 as a
madrasa, Aliah University is the first Muslim university in West
Firstly. it is unlawful to force a woman to wear a particular dress.
Anyone has a right to not wear a burqa, just like it is a woman's
right to go for hijab if she wills. Secondly, a 'student' union has
no business to issue a diktat, and threaten a teacher, more so in a
Unfortunately, certain individuals and groups commit acts send a
wrong message. Media reports and a bit of intervention from the
State government made the university authorities act. In fact, she
shouldn't have faced this situation and university authorities must
have reined in the union earlier.
She took a stand that she will not wear the burqa though some other
women teachers started going to the university in veil. Initially
she was shifted to the Salt Lake campus of the university, but was
brought back and now goes back to teach, on her terms.
Banning veil, forcing veil equally absurd
For a lone teacher who was singled out and hounded on the campus, it
was not easy. Shireen must be congratulated for taking a stand and
fighting for her rights. It is absurd to force burqa in the same
manner just like it is undemocratic to ban it.
Civil rights and individual choice have to be respected. There will
always be narrow-minded fundamentalist persons and institutes but
they must be fought. In the last couple of years, such incidents are
getting reported more often.
Earlier, teenaged Ayesha had fought the ban on headscarf in a
Mangalore college and got her right to keep her head covered.
Sironj's Mohammed Salim went up to the Apex court against the school
that had expelled him for keeping beard, and he had also won the
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