The veil as a symbol of Revolution: Hijab, Feminism, and Authoritarianism in India.


  • Mr. Prahalad Reddy Student, School of Law, GITAM University, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Mr. Divowkanand Rayachoty Student, School of Law, GITAM University, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India


Hijab ban, law, coercive veiling, India, Afghanistan, feminism, Karnataka High Court, uniforms, right to education, Modesty, discrimination, resistance.


Although India is a secular country, on February 5, 2022, the Karnataka state government issued a circular barring the wearing of a Hijab in a college. Several females contested the ruling at the Karnataka High Court. On March 15, 2022, a three-judge panel declared that wearing a headscarf is not an essential Islamic practice. The court stressed 'uniformity in uniforms' over the girls' access to education, while punishing females for their clothing choices. The petitioners appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court. The case is still open. During the same period, women in Afghanistan maintained their protest against the Taliban government, which is coercively compelling them to cover up. This study analyses the socio-legal discourse around the veil to suggest that, first and foremost, the problem is the forced imposition of legislation while intertwining it with religion to deny females their basic rights. To summarise, the legislation forces a citizen to choose between her faith and her rights. Second, when authoritarianism rises, a new sort of feminism emerges, with Muslim girls in India and women in Afghanistan defying authorities and resisting attempts to establish their identity and choices. The veil arose as a symbol of revolution throughout this phase. Through the lens of intersectionality, this work positions girls and women at the centre of resistance to indicate that females in the Global South do not require paternalist interventions to be saved,' but rather that their voice and agency be recognized.