To Veil or Not To Veil – What About Women’s Freedom to Wear What They Want?


AR Rahman and his daughter Khatija.

AR Rahman lashed out at trolls who attacked the Oscar-winning composer for allegedly forcing his daughter to wear a niqab.


THE recent controversy around the veiled presence of AR Rahman’s daughter Khatija when she shared the stage with her father during an event to celebrate 10 years of Slumdog Millionaire has taken the internet by storm.

Several users commented that they had not expected his daughter to be dressed so conservatively, assuming that he had forced her to follow such a dressing style. There is a constant nagging by the internet liberals and intellectuals that the kind of oppression the poor soul is going through is shameful.

Rahman responded to the controversy saying that his daughter has chosen the same and he respects her choice, he also shared the picture of his other daughter and his wife who were not wearing the veil to prove a point that the women in his family decided their own course and that it has nothing to do with force.

Much as I hate long lectures on Hijab being a modest choices and charades like “International Hijab Day” I completely respect the fact that Khatija has chosen a way of life and like any other woman she has every right to stand by it. Her public appearance itself is enough proof of fact that she is an accomplished woman and the Hijab does not come in the way of her accomplishments.

The feminists and liberals take pride in the fact that they have always defended choices made by a human being but when it comes to criticising Islam every such ideal falls flat on its face. This is not the first time that a liberal or a feminist finds the Hijab disgusting, there are multiple instances of such comments.

What these key board warriors do not take into consideration that there is always a difference between forcing a person into something and person asserting her identity as a matter of choice. Assertion is the most effective way to make one’s presence felt and to leave a mark. It is the need of the hour that women assert more of their presence, be it in a two piece bikini or in Hijab.

To criticise someone on the basis of the choice of dressing is a very narrow and intolerant view as opposed to a liberal view advocating emancipation. The inherent patriarchy and the tendencies of the so-called liberal tribe rear their ugly head is when they decide for others, the agency and the prerogative should be with the one you seek to emancipate and for that it is absolutely not necessary that they eat the same food, wear the same clothes, have the same sexual orientation or have the same cultural tastes as you.

Agreeing to disagree is a liberal trait and it should be preserved by all means and a way to do it is to respect private and personal choices.


Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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