If you’re one of those who keeps abreast of all news in the biker circuit or happen to be aware of usual happenings on the Internet, you must have already met female biker Roshni Misbah. Her passion for bikes has won her a good amount of internet space and earned her the title of ‘Hijabi bikerni’. And yes, that means exactly what it sounds like.
In her interview with Jamia Journal, who by the way sound completely smitten with her, she mentions having driven the Bajaj Avenger, CBR Repsol, Royal Enfield’s Thunderbird and Suzuki’s Intruder. Even for someone like me who knows nothing about motorbikes apart from the spelling of the word, this seems like a fairly wide range of biking experience. So far, the 22-year old must fit into your idea of a woman breaking all kinds of stereotypes, doesn’t she? Well almost everyone hailing her as the next big thing in stereotype-breaking land sure agrees.
Not to say that she has no claim to fame, of course riding bikes is still an area not many women have ventured into and kudos to her for that. What makes it quite difficult for one to acknowledge her ‘rebellion’ is her answer to this question in the interview: ‘What’s your message for your community?’ Now, of all the messages that she could have chosen to pass on to the Muslim community and its women from this platform, she chooses to glorify the hijab. Not that there is anything wrong with wearing the hijab, but is it a tad bit too far-fetched to demand that she prioritizes speaking about helmets instead of the hijab while she rides all those bikes?
She goes on to say how a hijab is not orthodox and that it’s ‘not a bad idea to be modest’. We have no idea what kind of reading such astute observations are based on because irrespective of whether she wears the hijab out of choice, it is a classic example of everything that’s orthodox. It fits into everything that the dictionary defines as orthodox and she tops it up with the assumption that wearing a hijab is the only way a woman can choose to be modest. Equating modesty to a length of cloth that covers one’s ears and head is surely an idea women do not need in the present scenario.
What’s even more surprising is that the article hails her as a ‘superwoman who is a windchaser’ and has ‘redefined womanhood in the world where people are still deciding the length of clothes that a girl should wear’. I am as clueless of how all this is matching up as you must feel right now. She does mention that she believes wearing a hijab should not be a hurdle in getting to one’s dreams, but why her conversation makes this sudden shift from bikes to how hijabs are a lovely thing is beyond my comprehension. Even the title she is given cashes in more on the fact that she wears a hijab than any other achievement she can make claims to.
The only point in her message to her community where she gets the closest to making sense is when she says that the stereotypes attached to hijabs are a cause of trouble. At the risk of being repetitive it’s completely up to her to wear the hijab or not wear it, but what stereotype it is that she is looking to break when she gets onto a bike wearing a hijab and goes on to glorify it, I fail to understand. As a role model to several Muslim women, the only idea she seems to reinforce is that you can do whatever you wish to as long as you are wearing the hijab. Now, unless that’s what she wanted to teach women of her community looking to break stereotypes, nobody can be sure of what example she is looking to set.