Hijab Discarding from Providing the Grounds to Implementation and Consequences

Elham Saleh
Translated by Mohammad Baqer Khoshnevisan

2016-1-20


The book’s cover has been illustrated with fading images of school girls. The image shows Reza Shah was visiting a school and following up Hijab discarding. The book has also been allocated to this subject “Hijab discarding”.

The book “Hijab Discarding from Providing the Grounds to Implementation and Consequences” has been compiled in six chapters. The preface has explained about the subjects of the six chapters.

The book’s first chapter is entitled “Modernization and Hijab Discarding”. One of the factors regarding the effect of modernism to which has been referred in this chapter is the changes in women’s clothing under Qajar and the princesses of this period which was followed by changes with the coming of the French to the court. About the clothes of Iranian women before the trip of Nassereddin Shah Qajar to a foreign country, this chapter says, “The clothes of Iranian women before the trip of Nassereddin Shah Qajar to a foreign country was a short dress with a shorter one used for covering the upper part of the body, and an undergarment which covered the feet. In winter another dress was added for protecting the cold weather. They also wore special scarves which covered their head and braided hairs.”

Modernization in Iran under Reza Shah was accompanied by precipitation, setting the stage for Hijab discarding. The second chapter reviews the grounds for declaration of Hijab discarding and its preparations, saying that the grounds for Hijab discarding on 7th of January 1936 dates back earlier. The union of clothing, the holding of the 2nd Congress of Iran’s Eastern Women in 1933, expansion of girl’s schools in European style, the trip of Reza Shah to Turkey and the establishment of the Women’s Center in 1936 headed by Shams Pahlavi were among the factors behind providing the grounds for discarding Hijab to which have been dealt in this chapter.      

The third chapter has been allocated to official declaration of Hijab discarding on 7th of January 1936. But what has been the process of Hijab discarding in Iran? This is the question to which is answered in the fourth chapter. The fourth chapter reviews the process of Hijab discarding in urban areas, religious cities, and other cities as well as rural and nomad areas. About the process of Hijab discarding in religious cities, the chapter writes, “All the areas in the country were not the same in terms of religious tendencies. Thus, the process of implementing Hijab discarding in the cities seems different. In the planning for the implementation of this plan, more precise and regular programs for religious cities like Qom, Mashhad, Isfahan and so on should have been considered. The process for discarding Hijab in these cities was very slower than the cities like Abadan, Ahwaz, Shiraz and Tehran.”

The statesmen, clerics and different strata of women had different reactions to Hijab discarding to which have been referred in the fifth chapter. The government response to the opponents of Hijab discarding is also among the chapter’s subjects. The fifth chapter has categorized the women’s reactions to Hijab discarding which are “The wives of the commanders, political dignitaries and aristocrats”, “Intellectual and educated women”, “Women of other urban classes”, and “rural and nomad women”.

The book’s author in this chapter reviews properly the reactions of different strata of people to Hijab discarding and the categorization is one of positive points of the book.

The sixth chapter deals with the social and cultural consequences of Hijab discarding. The political consequences of the event have also been considered. It says, “In fact, the regime was seeking to drag people to pleasure centers to distance the community from politics. The repression of religious and political opponents, and suppressing any peaceful call needed to make passive the community's active, revolutionary and threatening stratum which is mostly the youths. And in order to make passive this stratum, the easiest and closest way seemed to provide various entertainments and creation of corruption centers."   

In addition to an introduction and a complete preface, the author of "Hijab Discarding" at the end of the sixth chapter has a conclusion. The list of the book's references has been divided into main and secondary ones, showing the author's accuracy and obsession in releasing the materials.

There is a section titled "Text of Documents" in the book, reviewing the issue of Hijab discarding through documents. They include 49 letters written in this regard.

The issue of Hijab discarding was important to some extent in a way that in the celebrations, those men who attended in the celebrations without their wives were counted. The document no. 44 available in the book has referred to this issue. It says, "In line with implementing directive no. 135/405 dated March 31, 1936, it had been ordered for the progress of women's movement that when a celebration was held, it should be taken necessary cares that if some of the invitees did not took part in the celebration or attended without their wives, a list should be provided and sent to the governorship, because the order had not progressed in the city of Sabzevar properly."

Then, the images of the documents and letters have been published which cover their handwritten texts. The release of these letters the typed texts of which are available in the book is considered among the positive features of the book.

The image section of the book covers photos form Hijab discarding and its consequences. They include photos from Reza Shah's propaganda trips and meetings in order to advance Hijab discarding in the city of Sari, the Hijab discarding of the wives of the dignitaries and aristocrats in Tehran, the Hijab discarding of nomad women in Lorestan Province which in fact was the change of their local dresses into pseudo-European ones and the visits of Reza Khan to schools to follow up the plan in Shiraz and some other photos. However, the photos are of low quality because they are old, but since they are part of Iran's history, are of great importance and do not lessen their value.

The issue of Hijab discarding has been studied very well in this book. It explains about the process of this event and its consequences in different cities of Iran, leaving no unsaid word.



 
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