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In December 2021, a photograph went viral, in which a few hijab-clad girls are sitting on a staircase outside their classrooms. These students were barred from entering their classes in their university in Udupi back in December 2021.
At the time, The Quint interviewed two of the six girls affected by that ban.
But within a matter of weeks, the issue snowballed from being about just 6 girls in Udupi to several thousand girls across Karnataka being banned from wearing the hijab in their classes, a decision that was subsequently upheld by the high court.
But amid all this, for all these months, these Hijab-wearing girls have continued to suffer. The ban has robbed them of their fundamental right to education.
And so while the rest of the world moves on, their life is stuck in a rut. An endless loop of fighting, in order to earn their right to be back in the classroom.
The Quint traveled through various districts of Karnataka to produce the documentary titled 'Voices Behind The Veil: What's At Stake for Karnataka's Hijabi Girls'.
Through in-depth interviews, we tried to understand some very specific things things from the Hijab-wearing students at the eye of this controversy.
Why this struggle to wear the Hijab in their classrooms is so important to them?
Why wouldn’t they just give up the hijab and enter their classes?
Why are they complicating their own lives?
Is the hijab really that important?
Is it worth all this fight?
It wasn’t easy to get the girls to open up about their life and choices so frankly and freely. Especially given that even though they have faced tremendous scrutiny over the last few months, not many have really stopped and asked them what they want.
The travel all the way to Karnataka and then several districts within the state, the production costs, the time spent conducting these in depth interviews and bringing you good old rigorous storytelling—all of these things make this an important but ambitious project. One that requires resources—resources which cost money.
So, we need your help to tell this story. Please click here to go to The Quint's 'Special Projects', and contribute to the documentary on the Hijab ban.