Nikhat Zareen on hijab row that had begun in the state of Karnataka and ended up gripping most of the Indian states, talks about the need to respect a woman’s choice. Zareen, who became the gold medalist for the 52-kilogram category at the Women’s World Championship at the 12th edition of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in Istanbul, was asked about her opinion on the hijab.
The boxing champion remained firm on her answer that a person’s choice to wear a hijab or follow their religion needs to be considered a personal choice. “It is totally their own choice. I can’t comment on their choices,” she said.
While adding that she loves to wear the clothes that she does and that her family does not mind either, moreover she hardly cares what people have to tell about her based on her clothes. She told this in an interview with the NDTV.
Nikhat Zareen On Hijab
“But if they want to wear hijab and follow their religion, it’s their personal choice. I don’t have any problem with them wearing hijabs. After all, it’s their own choice. I am okay with that,” she said.
Talking to the Indian Express, she talked about her early childhood and her family’s reaction to her choosing boxing as a sport to follow. Coming from Nizamabad, she belongs to an orthodox society that thinks women should stay at home and handle domestic chores. The ultimate aim here is to get married and “settle” down.
She also said that since her father was in sports, he knew the life that will be demanded of an athlete. He used to support her and never listen to people worrying about her marriage and boxing being a “men’s sport.” Instead, Nikhat remembers her father asking her to focus on boxing.
She has two older sisters and a younger one who is seven years younger than her. She was always into sports but there were times when she used to practice alone with boys as there were not many girls in the sport. She felt like giving up many a time but she kept her resolve to become a boxer strong.
Zareen had given her view on the hijab which is a sensitive topic at the moment considering the outburst it had in Karnataka, wherein one fine day Muslim girls were asked to remove the hijab or burqa in order to attend classes. They went to the Karnataka High Court, where the bench upheld the government’s decision on the basis that it is not an essential religious practice which needs to be protected under the Right to Freedom of Religion.