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5:00 – 6:30 pm IST / 7.30 – 9am EST

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In January 2022, a government-run school in the state of Karnataka barred students wearing hijabs from entering classrooms on the grounds that hijabs were not a part of school uniform. Several other schools and colleges in the state followed suit and instituted their own bans against the hijab. Last month, these bans received judicial endorsement after the Karnataka high court ruled that wearing of hijabs is not an essential religious practice of the Islamic faith. These decisions have been met with protests and violence and are being widely decried as an attempt to marginalize Muslim identity and exclude Muslim women from educational and public spaces in a country where secularism and rights to religious expression are enshrined in the constitution. Join us for a discussion that unpacks the hijab controversy and examines its implications for the future of religious pluralism in India.


Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, Harvard University

Zakia Soman, Co-Founder, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan

J. Sai Deepak, Advocate, Supreme Court and Delhi High Court, and Author

Faizan Mustafa, Professor and Vice Chancellor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad