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Why Ilham’s rank and vision challenge the project of hate

Scoring an impressive 597/600 marks and the second rank in Karnataka PUC exam, her bright smile and distinctive scarf (hijab) defy efforts to relegate identity to obscurantism

CJP Team 23 Jun 2022

Ilham

Claim: Wearing a scarf/hijab means you are backward, uneducated

Busted: Wearing a scarf/hijab is a cultural choice not impacting theacademic or socio-cultural performance of women as Ilham’s top grades show

Over the past few days, the fact that Ilham, a young Muslim woman, who wears a colourful hijab, scored a stunning second rank in Karnataka’s Pre University Course (PUC) examination has inspired comment and even celebration. That she has a clear vision of becoming a clinical psychologist belies the hateful project that seeks to stigmatise and demonise Muslims.

This is a special delight for those Indians who have been appalled by the hijab controversy perpetrated in south Karnataka, ever since December 2021, stigmatising the wearing of the scarf within the classroom. The issue spiraled with controversial directives from the hardline Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government in the state and worse, on March 15, the judgement of the High Court on the issue has invited criticism.

On June 18, as the Karnataka PUC results were being announced, both Anisha Mallya and Ilham, the first from the commerce stream and the second from science secured 595 and 597 marks respectively. Both students at second rank in the state did the St Aloysius PU College in Mangalore in Dakshina Karnataka proud.

Barely able to contain her excitement, a beaming Ilham told The Hindu, “I am very excited. I checked my percentage which was 91.5%. I informed my relatives. After some time, I started getting calls from my cousins saying my name is coming in the news. At that moment I realised that I got a rank. Till then I was unaware.” She has still not come to terms with the news, she says. Ilham’s parents are over the moon. Her father, Mohammed Rafiq, used to work in the Gulf as an IT employee and now is retired while her mother Moizatul Kubra is a housewife.

Ilham inspires. She told The Hindu, “Since my class 10 days, I developed a fascination towards the working of the brain. I want to pursue a career in clinical psychology.” The Internet has been overjoyed with Ilham’s success. Many shared her success story and pointed out that her religious identity did not deter her from securing a top rank.

PS: Amongst other things, she also wears a Hijab and that should be not be a reason for the State or vigilantes to harass her. Only if our courts could say this. 

The MLA of Kalburgi North constituency of Karnataka, Kaneez Fatima, had rolled out a tweet congratulating Ilham. She wrote, “Hijab is not a barrier for education. Congratulations to Ilham for securing 2nd rank in Karnataka state PUC examinations.”

Related:

Hate Buster: No protocol regarding National Song; standing up not mandatory
Hate Buster: Mob protesting Nupur Sharma’s anti-Prophet comments did not kill Kolkata policeman
Hate Buster: Conspiracy theories about Taj Mahal collapse, yet again
Hate Buster: Nope! Eating from Muslim-owned restaurants does not cause impotence

Why Ilham’s rank and vision challenge the project of hate

Scoring an impressive 597/600 marks and the second rank in Karnataka PUC exam, her bright smile and distinctive scarf (hijab) defy efforts to relegate identity to obscurantism

Ilham

Claim: Wearing a scarf/hijab means you are backward, uneducated

Busted: Wearing a scarf/hijab is a cultural choice not impacting theacademic or socio-cultural performance of women as Ilham’s top grades show

Over the past few days, the fact that Ilham, a young Muslim woman, who wears a colourful hijab, scored a stunning second rank in Karnataka’s Pre University Course (PUC) examination has inspired comment and even celebration. That she has a clear vision of becoming a clinical psychologist belies the hateful project that seeks to stigmatise and demonise Muslims.

This is a special delight for those Indians who have been appalled by the hijab controversy perpetrated in south Karnataka, ever since December 2021, stigmatising the wearing of the scarf within the classroom. The issue spiraled with controversial directives from the hardline Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government in the state and worse, on March 15, the judgement of the High Court on the issue has invited criticism.

On June 18, as the Karnataka PUC results were being announced, both Anisha Mallya and Ilham, the first from the commerce stream and the second from science secured 595 and 597 marks respectively. Both students at second rank in the state did the St Aloysius PU College in Mangalore in Dakshina Karnataka proud.

Barely able to contain her excitement, a beaming Ilham told The Hindu, “I am very excited. I checked my percentage which was 91.5%. I informed my relatives. After some time, I started getting calls from my cousins saying my name is coming in the news. At that moment I realised that I got a rank. Till then I was unaware.” She has still not come to terms with the news, she says. Ilham’s parents are over the moon. Her father, Mohammed Rafiq, used to work in the Gulf as an IT employee and now is retired while her mother Moizatul Kubra is a housewife.

Ilham inspires. She told The Hindu, “Since my class 10 days, I developed a fascination towards the working of the brain. I want to pursue a career in clinical psychology.” The Internet has been overjoyed with Ilham’s success. Many shared her success story and pointed out that her religious identity did not deter her from securing a top rank.

PS: Amongst other things, she also wears a Hijab and that should be not be a reason for the State or vigilantes to harass her. Only if our courts could say this. 

The MLA of Kalburgi North constituency of Karnataka, Kaneez Fatima, had rolled out a tweet congratulating Ilham. She wrote, “Hijab is not a barrier for education. Congratulations to Ilham for securing 2nd rank in Karnataka state PUC examinations.”

Related:

Hate Buster: No protocol regarding National Song; standing up not mandatory
Hate Buster: Mob protesting Nupur Sharma’s anti-Prophet comments did not kill Kolkata policeman
Hate Buster: Conspiracy theories about Taj Mahal collapse, yet again
Hate Buster: Nope! Eating from Muslim-owned restaurants does not cause impotence

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