‘I feel embarrassed to go college without covering my head,' says Hadia

A college here has denied permission to a 17-year-old Hadia to cover her head with the dupatta of her uniform, under the pretext of “maintaining uniformity”.

Ms. Hadia said that she was eager to study but was “extremely uncomfortable” sitting in the class with her head uncovered, and her forearms bare. She is a II PU student at Jain Pre-University College in Moodbidri, Mangalore taluk. The college has a uniform of pink salwar, white kameez, and a dupatta.

“I feel embarrassed to go (without covering my head and without full sleeves) in front of everyone. I have covered (my head) from the time I was small,” she said. She said that she managed the previous year, but she simply could not get used to not wearing the dupatta around her head.

She said a month after she joined the college last year, college authorities announced during the assembly that students would not be allowed to cover their heads, although all three girls who did so, wrapped the dupatta of the uniform in a way that covered their hair and neck, and falls across their chest.

After the announcement was made, she said she did not go to college for a month because she was denied permission to cover her head. However, she decided to go to college without her head covered to answer her examinations and completed the year. She and her relatives made several requests to the college authorities to allow her to cover her hair with the dupatta of the uniform, but to no avail. Hina, Ms. Hadia's mother, said her daughter was not violating the norms of the uniform.Her mother's friend Humaira Khatoon said they had approached even the district administration and the Education Department. Director of the Department of Pre-University Education Rashmi V. Mahesh said the department had no views on the subject. She said if a student complained that the “freedom of dress” was being “proscribed”, then the department would look into it. “Freedom of dress should be left to the student,” Ms. Mahesh said.

Correspondent of the partially aided college, Pratap Kumar, said: “There should be uniformity inside the classroom” and that the college would not permit students to cover their heads with a dupatta inside the class. In August 2009, SVS College in Bantwal taluk had banned students from wearing the burqa, and even suspended Aysha Ashmin who was a first year B.Com student for wearing a burqa. She then approached the Deputy Commissioner and later, the Syndicate of Mangalore University passed a resolution permitting students to wear a head scarf that did not cover their face fully in the college.

In March the same year, Hindutva outfits had enforced a ban on students wearing the burqa at a government college in Sullia taluk.

Keywords: dress code

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