Hijab is Iran’s ‘Berlin Wall’ and with it will crumble puritanical tyranny

The hijab for Muslim, Iran in particular, is the single most glaring infringement of one’s personality and totally undermines the principle of individuation

Siddhartha Rai September 21, 2022 14:14:29 IST
Hijab is Iran’s ‘Berlin Wall’ and with it will crumble puritanical tyranny

Agitations are being carried out in Iran with females burning headscarves after the death in custody of a woman detained for breaking hijab laws. AP

New Delhi: The Berlin Wall when it came down signaled more than just the unification of a country divided along ideological lines, rather it became the tombstone of Communism as such, marking the beginning of what Samuel Huntington called ‘End of Ideology’ in his book ‘The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order’. It signaled, conversely, the complete and unhindered dominance of Capitalism as a system of thought and economic practice.

The hijab for Muslim, Iran in particular, is the single most glaring infringement of one’s personality and totally undermines the principle of individuation. It is a ploy to organise women into regimentation and to that extent take from them all agency to question, to express and to rebel.

What more demeaning can be than always carrying the symbol of one’s decimation. Those bandying it as part of a woman’s fundamental choices are either polemicists or pseudo-intellectual Islamists who have taken up the issue as a slight to them and a challenge to the primacy of men in Islamic societies across the world. It has emerged as weapon of Islamist jihad to be invoked first of all, tuning up the volume of ‘Islam in danger’ bogey.

Otherwise, what could be the possible logic behind having a morality police in Iran that also kills for not wearing hijab. But the victim — 22-year-old Masha Amini — has evolved into a martyr figure of the Women’s Revolution that has ranged itself against the Islamic Revolution that catapulted Islamic orthodoxy to power in 1979.

Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad today posted a tweet referring to a previous video posted on Twitter wherein several Iranian women can be seen chucking the hijab and announcing their freedom. Four among these many in the video, Alinejad said, were still in jail: Yasman ryani and her mother, along with Saba Afshari and her mother.

Since the protests started, not just Amini, but several others have succumbed to the oppression of the Islamic regime.

But, the current generation of brave Iranian women are showing no signs of protest fatigue, not relenting at all; they are, rather, mounting peaceful offensives every day. Young girls are writing graffiti on walls, painting Amini’s name on public places and public buildings and giving clarion calls to protests and agitations.

Women have also called out European powers dealing with Iran. They are berating Western powers for making their women representatives wear hijab in diplomatic meetings and on the negotiation tables. ‘We warned you about the Iranian hijab police, now see a young girl has died; you say ‘it is their right’…’ is the refrain of this rebuke and angst.

Anti-hijab movement in Iran is also fueled in no less degree by a history—not ancient, but quite proximate—of an Iran which women of the world looked up to for the freedom Iranian women enjoyed. History is a very powerful weapon. Nations and communities construct a glorious history to fashion a glorious future; here, Iranian women just have to look back at a history which is ever-present for inspiration.

Coming back to the Berlin Wall, when it had collapsed. With it had been razed the tyranny of Communism as a political system geared to systematically deprive people of basic freedoms in the name of ideology and struggle. It meant all out victory of democracy as a political system of individual personal private rights which are in most cases inalienable against state power. Hijab remains the singular stigma on womanhood in Iran and elsewhere in Islamic countries ruled by Sharia. It is representative of an oppressive unequal economic and political system installed by Sharia.

Its demolition will release from iron clutches of orthodoxy, fundamentalism and Islamic jihad millions of women, marking another ‘End of Ideology’ moment for the World; this time brutish Islamic law will be laid to rest, and with it religious strife and terrorism.

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