Do so ain’t like so.
That was the response of Trinidad Academy of Hinduism’s Inter-Religious Organization representative and PRO, pundit Mukram Sirjoo, to the denial of a Muslim woman from teaching at a Hindu school in her hijab.
Last week, on-the-job-training teacher Nafisah Nakhid was assigned to take up duties at Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College in St Augustine but was told by school officials she could not wear her hijab while teaching. Instead of removing it, she chose to leave.
Sunday Newsday was told it was the policy of the Maha Sabha board to not have people on its headquarters wearing hijabs and the school is located on the Maha Sabha compound. Sirjoo said Hindu teachers and students were often discriminated against but they go along with it so he did not see the problem. “Hindus have been discriminated against, even by the Minister of Education when he was the principal of Fatima College. We could not wear our rakshas on our hands at some of the Muslims and Christian schools.”
Rakshas are the yellow, red, or orange cotton strings usually worn on the wrists of those performing puja, tied by a pundit or older family member.
Sirjoo said no one was supposed to be discriminated against and everyone should be free to wear their religious symbols but it often happened at schools “across the board.” In that case, he said rules were meant to be kept, not broken. “If you have a dress code or rules in a school, anyone coming into that situation has to abide by it. When Christians schools say, ‘No raksha,’ okay no problem with that. That is their dress code... Your rule for you we abide, our rules for us, you have to abide also.”