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Why Indianism is the only ‘–ism’ that stands true on the philosophy of our Constitution

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IndiaBy Harshmeet Singh

Earlier this week, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, while announcing a judgment, spelled out the definition of ‘Indianism’ for the masses. According to Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, “Indianism is Hindustaniat, which is akin to Kashmiriat. The expression Indianism also provides that the State shall not deny any person, which means a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Christians etc equality before law or equal protection of laws within the territory of India (Article 14).” The Indianism doesn’t and would not mean that citizens/persons do not have right to practice and propagate their religion. The Indianism in the context of the Constitution not only protects but guarantees right to every citizen, which includes Muslims of this country to practice and propagate their religion. No law can be made to prevent the Muslims or any other community to practice and propagate their religion. All the people belonging to different religious denominations including Muslims have the freedom to effectively follow their religion’.

He defined Indianism as an umbrella which covers all the religions and religious activities under it. The decision was pronounced in the light of the fact that Indianism is the only ‘–ism’ that stands true on the philosophy of our Constitution, apart from ‘secularism’, which is a part of the preamble itself. At a time when feelings such as Religious Nationalism, Hinduism, Sikhism and others are running high among the citizens, this verdict takes us back to what our forefathers had in mind while framing the Constitution, and what we have, as a society, become.

In 2013, the same judge had observed that anyone who goes by the identity of ‘Hindu Nationalist’ or ‘Muslim Nationalist’ is working against the true spirit of ‘Indianism’. His previous verdict drew sharp reactions from a number of religious groups who took it as an attack on their patriotism.

The Indian constitution is unique in more ways than one. For instance, we follow a much more favourable definition of secularism as compared to some other secular nations. Our Constitution makers interpreted ‘secularism’ as state’s obligation to provide equal opportunities to everyone, irrespective of his or her religion. In contrast to this, countries such as France follow a different definition of secularism. According to them, secularism means that the state should have no religion. This explains multiple cases where Sikhs have been forced to remove their turbans or Muslims have been asked to take off their taqiyah (cap). It is perhaps this tolerance that has led to a number of ‘religious nationalist’ groups in the country.

Since our childhood, we have been trained to see things ‘relatively’. Someone else’s failure is seen as an essential condition of our success. Slowly but surely, such learning has captured our religious perspective as well. For my religion to be good, others’ religion has to be bad, is what our line of thinking has become. Speeches of these so called religious nationalist leaders seldom talk about the qualities of their own religion but go all out in degrading other religions. Thousands of people listening to their speeches and clapping on every line is a testimony to the fact that these leaders aren’t exclusive in their thinking.

India has seen numerous religions take birth on its land. While every new religion sought to move away from the evils of previously existing religions, none of them despised other religions in order to gain followers. The spirit of ‘Indianism’ takes inspiration from all those great religious reformers who tried to evolve something better without degrading any other religion or faith. Unlike today’s religious leaders, those great souls, about thousands of years ago, fought against social evils, rather than fighting with each other to prove their superiority.

There is absolutely no wrong in propagating one’s religious ideals. After all connection with one’s own roots is what keeps us true to ourselves. But when such propagation despises other faiths, it goes against the true spirit of ‘Indianism’. The word ‘Nationalist’ is powerful enough in itself. Prefixing a word like Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian would only dilute its significance.

‘I respect all religions & faith and follow my own religion’ is not such a hard fact to accept after all.

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Sport Hijab: A Sportswear Solution for Muslim Woman and Girls

Hijab, a head or body covering that conforms to Islamic standards of modesty.

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Sport Hijab, Sportswear Solution
Many young Muslim girls when they start playing sports, can’t focus completely on the game, because they are also focus on their hijab. Pixabay

When in public, Muslim woman and girls may wear a hijab, a head or body covering that conforms to Islamic standards of modesty. These women may also want to participate in sports without compromising their religion and clothing, and with a sport hijab, they can do just that.

Fatimah Hussein is co-founder of ASIYA (pr. ah-SEE-yah), an activewear company that is changing the lives of Muslim girls and women by producing culturally-appropriate athletic wear. Hussein owns the business with partner Jamie Glover, and the company is named after a woman revered in Islamic history.

“Many young Muslim girls when they start playing sports, can’t focus completely on the game, because they are also focus on their hijab. They either take it off or don’t play,” Hussein says. “They didn’t have any accessibility of a sport hijab that they felt very comfortable with. Many hijabs require pins as fasteners. When playing a sport, hijabs can be hot and unwieldy. If it comes unraveled, another player could trip on it, or the pin could jab the wearer or others, making it dangerous for everyone. So, I was like, there should be some kind of a solution for this,” says Hussein.

A sports hijab was the answer. ASIYA markets hijabs that are for fast paced physical activity. The headwear is made from a sweat-wicking fabric, designed to be comfortable and safe for play.

Sport Hijab, Sportswear Solution
ASIYA Sport. VOA

Hussein, a Muslim woman was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and came to the United States at age six with her parents and sister, fleeing civil war. She says that she played sports in school as a child but was preoccupied with thoughts of her hijab.

“This doesn’t look right, this is falling, I don’t feel comfortable inside,” she says she remembers thinking.

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Hussein is still involved with sports in her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her free time, she is a basketball coach. She is also a licensed social worker.

“A lot of girls in our community want to try new things and play sports, but they aren’t confident, says Hussein. “They’re constantly told they shouldn’t be doing something boys are able to do, they get intimidated,” she says.

Hussein also found an indoor neighborhood gym for girls to play sports on their own.

She also established Girls Initiative in Recreation and Leisurely Sports (G.I.R.L.S), a nonprofit program for Muslim girls.

Sport Hijab, Sportswear Solution
ASIYA Sport. VOA

Hussein talks frequently of identity, community, and taking pride in being a Muslim. She says the hijab is important for Muslim women.

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“It makes a statement about her identity. Anyone who sees her will know that she is a Muslim, she is modest and has a good moral character,” says Hussein.

Sport Hijab, Sportswear Solution
Fatimah Hussein, CEO & Co-Founder of Asiya. VOA

Hussein says ASIYA is helping to break down barriers for Muslim girls who want to participate in sports.

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“We view ASIYA as a social venture looking to increase participation rates, as we believe there is huge value in sports participation for young girls in developing critical skills that set them up for success later in life.” (VOA)