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I was rejected for a job at a media channel because I wear a hijab. I knew whenever I look for a job, my hijab will become a problem for some people. I have my reasons to believe so, more so because of my conversation with a recruiter recently.
I completed my postgraduation in Mass communication and Journalism from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) this year and thereafter, I was looking for a job.
Recently, a Hindi media portal based in Delhi offered me the position of an anchor in their company. We had a telephonic interview. I got selected and right from my background, education to the salary, everything was discussed.
The conversation drastically changed when I told the recruiter that I wear a hijab. I asked him if it would be a problem for their portal or for him that I wear one, obviously hoping that it won’t be an issue.
‘No Media Channel Employs a Hijabi Journo’: Recruiter
There was a moment of silence, following which the recruiter said that they can’t accept my application. Despite getting selected, he refused to give me the job that they had offered me in the first place.
I told them about my working experience with The Indian Express and NDTV. Either of the platforms never asked me to remove my hijab because they saw my work being independent from it.
One of the sentences he said was, “This is Hindustan, this doesn't happen here. Girls who observe hijab, big media houses also don't employ them.”
‘Consider People’s Abilities, Not Clothes’
I told the recruiter that he should see this as an opportunity to bring change through representation, to become the first portal to have an anchor who wears hijab. But all to no avail.
Islamophobia has become increasingly more evident not just in India but internationally as well. In another incident, quite recently, a so-called mainstream news channel interviewed me and when I talked about this issue, they said, “but this does not happen in Pakistan.”
My question is, why are we so obsessed with Pakistan? why do we have to keep comparing what’s happening in India with Pakistan?
I saw similar comments on my social media posts as well. America has Ilhan Omar, who is a Senate member. She wears a hijab and is a political leader. If at all we want to compare, why don’t we compare India with America in this regard?
Ultimately, I know our Constitution protects us all. Article 25 of the Constitution gives us the freedom to practise, profess and propagate the religion of our choice, and not to discriminate on the basis.
I am not just speaking for myself, but for all those, who irrespective of their religion have faced bias and rejection like I did. I am confident that I will get a job on the basis of my knowledge and work experience soon.
(The Quint has corroborated the details of the interview.)
(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)