[West Bengal State Minority Commission chairman Intaj Ali Shah felicitates Zainab Sayeed (right) in Kolkata.]
Kolkata: She wears Rida - a headscarf or Hijab every Bohra girl and woman wear, and appeared for the UPSC personal interview in the same traditional attire. The interviewers asked her about her dress preferences. She was neither ashamed nor apologetic. She said her Rida or Hijab is part and partial of her persona, and she got selected.
The success story of Zainab Sayeed, the first Muslim women from West Bengal who cracked the Indian Civil Services exams, is interesting, especially in the wake of Friday's Supreme Court observation on Hijab.
In the interview given to various newspapers, Zainab said, besides other questions, there was one on her dress preferences. She said she was unnerved on the question, and answered it with full confidence, and in her own style.
"Besides saying one should wear clothes one feels comfortable in, I cited the instance of a prime minister who wore a turban which is also a religious symbolism", Zainab Sayeed, one among the only 38 Muslims who cleared the 2014 UPSC exams, said.
Her interview lasted for 25 minutes and when the results were out, her score was highest - more than even the score of the first rank holder Ira Singhal. Ira scored 167 marks in the interview whereas Zainab's score is 220 - 58 marks more than the top ranked Ira.
The Supreme Court of India while hearing a petition on CBSE dress code for AIPMT 2015 exams Friday while declining to interfere in the matter, described the plea as "nothing but an ego".
The court also observed that faith is something different from wearing a particular type of clothes.
"Sorry, sorry, sorry, we are not going into these small issues," Chief Justice Dattu said rejecting the plea as Hegde sought to urge the court that "minority is a minority".
The observation however stirred a debate with many observing that if Hijab is treated as 'religious symbol' then why not turban.
Meanwhile, the CBSE which re-conducted the AIPMT 2015 today relaxed its earlier instructions on dress code - just few hours before the exam.
It however barred a nun from writing the exam who was wearing a headscarf.