A fifth class girl named Henna Malayil in Kerala was allegedly expelled from her madrasa after she wore sandalwood-paste bindi for a short film acting assignment. The matter came into light after the girl’s father Ummar Malayil put up a Facebook post expressing his distaste over the unjustified action of the madrasa authorities.
According to a Hindustan Times report, in his social media post Henna’s father, Ummer Malayil wrote about how his 10-year-old daughter is not only good at studies but in extra-curricular activities like singing and dancing as well. She has also brought numerous laurels to madrasa by winning several competitions. “Despite her impeccable talents, she was expelled from the madrasa. The reason cited is shocking: she sported a sandal bindi,” he said in a Facebook post written in Malayalam. “Thank God, she was spared from the stone-pelting punishment”, he added. ‘
The post has since then gone viral and has garnered 7,000 likes and 2,500 shares and counting. Most of the comments applauded Malayil for his bold stand. Someone even questioned why no criticism or action was directed against Malayalam superstar Mammootty for donning the role of Hindu kings or Hindu social reformers in movies.
An IBT report says that there are some who support the madrasa and believe that both Ummer and Henna are just people with Islamic names, and they are not ‘real Muslims’. Meanwhile, the Sangh Parivar has blamed Pinarayi Vijayan led CPI (M) government for taking a soft stand on this issue.
Madrasas in Kerala have in the past made attempts at incorporating several changes in the system to give space to the diversity of the country, and adapt to the changing times. However, this incident raises serious questions as to whether or not that move has helped changed mindsets.
(Written by Urvashi Sharma)