In Iran, demonstrations are continuing against the forced dress code for women. The protests have sparked great excitement in India, particularly among Hindutva supporters. They believe that this development vindicates their position that Muslim women should not wear the hijab in public places and that enforcing this idea will protect Indians from the sight of this garment, which they claim is retrograde and anti-woman. What they do not understand is that the protests of Iranian women are not directed not against the hijab per se.
The real issue is women fighting to take back control over their own bodies. It is a question not only of women dispensing with the hijab should they choose to but also the manner in which they can dress, whether they can use lipstick and nail polish in public.
Iranian women are battling attempts by a totalitarian state to decide how a woman should present herself in public. In this case, the totalitarian ideology is in couched in the language of an Islam, which the state propagates.
But in India, these protests in Iran are being used by another totalitarian political party and the state it rules to make decisions about the way Muslim women should appear in public spaces….