Kashf-e-hijab (the compulsory banning of hijab by Reza Khan) according to memories;
Irdc.ir: One of the sources that Provides valuable information about the implementation manner of kashf-e-hijab policy is the memoirs, especially the memoirs written by government officials at the time of Reza Shah. Because by investigation of such memories, the missing links between government orders and society's reaction will be clarified.
Clothing of Iranian men and women is one of the manifestations of Iranian culture that is rooted in the customary and religious beliefs of the people. This aspect of popular culture has been somewhat constant in most historical periods and has retained its originality. However, in the Qajar and Pahlavi periods, we see some apparent changes in this issue. During the Qajar period, due to political developments, including the expansion of Iranians' relations with the West and the activities of some anti-Islamic sects, such as the Baha'is, attempts were made to change the dress of men and women. However, more serious changes and governance took place during the reign of Reza Shah; In a way, he imposed the Western clothing on men and women by applying the policy of Kashf-e-hijab. This policy, which its implementation was accompanied by coercion and violence by the government, led to reluctance and dissatisfaction of the people. The revealing of this reaction can be seen in the memories of some people who have lived in that period.
What was the policy of Kashf-e-hijab?
The policy of kashf-e- hijab refers to Reza Shah's set of actions to change the clothing of men and women. Contrary to the belief of some people who believe that the discovery of hijab was first applied on women's clothing, the fact is that this policy was first imposed on men and forced them to wear the Pahlavi hat in1927.Then, in1928, the law on the uniformity of clothing was passed, during which "all Iranian citizens who did not have special clothes according to the government jobs were obliged to wear uniforms inside the country." Also, all government employees, both judicial and administrative, were required to wear special clothing at the work time. Of course, this issue was opposed by most people, especially the clergy, which eventually led to the exclusion of some Religious Leaderships (Marja-i Taqlid), clerics and scholars from this policy. However, boys and other men were not allowed to wear robes or turbans, and everyone was required to wear a Pahlavi brimmed hat. Later, in 1936, the law of compulsory public use of Shapoo hats was introduced, and shortly after that, the law on the women's unveiling (kashf-ehijab) was passed. According to this law, women were no longer allowed to wear headscarves and veils and were required to be without the hijab in public or outside the home. The implementation of this law in accordance with the testimony of the people and the remnants of that period was accompanied by violence and coercion by government agents.
What do the memories of the kashf-e-hijab say?
Interestingly, some of the recollections of the Pahlavi government's violence over the implementation of the kashf-e-hijab policy are dedicated to individuals who were themselves government officials during Reza Shah's reign. One of these people is Mohsen Sadr or Sadr al-Ashraf, who was in charge of the Ministry of Justice in Foroughi's cabinet. Of course, he was later angered by Reza Shah and was forced to resign. Sadr has written about the implement manner of this policy in a part of his memoirs: "Reza Shah summoned the cabinet one day in "early June 1935" and said that we must become Western outwardly and inwardly, And in the first step, the hats must be turned into Shapoo, and the next day, which is the opening of the National Consultative Assembly, everyone must come with Shapo and According to the habit of Westerners, they must take their hats off…You ministers and deputies must take the lead and should gather with your wives into the Iran Club (the same building that is now the Tejarat Bank) once a week.
In another part of his memoirs, Sadr also mentions the violence of government forces in dealing with veiled women: Some agents even were tearing women's chadors, especially in cities and villages, And if a woman was trying to escape, she would be chased to her house, and not only that, they would search the women 's room and their wardrobe. If they saw any kind of chador, they would tear it to pieces or plunder it". In addition to Sadr, people such as Mukhbar al-Saltanah Hedayat, one of the political figures of the Qajar and Pahlavi periods, also has referred to Reza Shah's imposed policies on forced clothing and uniforms. Hedayat, like Sadr, opposed Reza Shah's policies of uniformity of clothing and the kashf-e-hijab. Referring to his disobedience to Reza Shah's policy, Hedayat has mentioned in a part of his memoirs: "I refused for a while, until one day the Shah took my collar in the cabinet and said: ((Shall I order a suit to be sewn for you?)) I said: "Now that the Supreme Will is like this, I will prepare it myself."
Also Hossein Fardoust, a close friend of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, later, in his memoirs, he mentioned the actions of Reza Shah and government officials in Implementation of the uniformity of clothing: "Among the clerics, only a few were allowed to wear clothes, and the rest, if they went to the streets in robes and turbans, their hats would be taken off by the soldiers and thrown around their necks and insulted. The officers around the palace were telling me repeatedly that this is our duty and that we will do it." However, after the approval of the law on the kashf-e- hijab, different and contradictory reactions were expressed to it. In addition to the opposition of large sections of the people, especially women, some individuals and groups affiliated with certain currents welcomed the Parliament's decision. Ali Asghar Hekmat, one of the political figures of that period, has mentioned the popular reactions of that day, that is, the January8, as extravagance and extremism: "Immediately after the January 8 ceremony in Tehran, two things happened, which were extravagance and extremism, on the one hand, some women flocked to cafes and dance halls, and all danced in the sight of young people, On the other hand, police soldiers in Tehran and districts in the cities and towns of the country, according to the order of the Ministry of Interior, harassed women and forced them to abandon their hijab and even tore their chadors and burqas".
Of course, a small number of women who welcomed Reza Shah's policy were not really interested in kashf-e-hijab. Selena Holmes, the wife of one of the US ambassadors to Iran during the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, referred to a memory quoted by her Persian language teacher in this regard: "Ms. Ghahremani, the first Persian language teacher ... stated that the illegalization of hijab by Reza Shah caused a lot of grief. The father of this lady was a member of parliament. Reza Shah had ordered that until the reopening of the parliament no member of the government had the right to keep his wife in a chador.
Ms. Ghahremani used to say: "During the two months left until the opening of the parliament, there was a shocking state in their house ... Finally the promised day arrived; her mother was dressed and came in a carriage, but she could not walk out of the house without a chador at all."
The final word
Reza Shah began the policy of uniformity of the clothing and the law of the kashf-e-hijab in imitation of Western culture, and he mistakenly believed that the path of the country's development will pass through the path of the forced imposition of Western clothing. According to Reza Shah, this act causes women to be free and to come out of the house; while Contrary to this popular belief, many women stayed in their homes after the policy was implemented So that they do not have to abandon their hijab; because if they were using hijab, they would face violence from government officials and soldiers. Finally, it is not an exaggeration to say that this policy, more than other policies and actions of Reza Shah, caused the disgust of large sections of the people towards him and his government, because the kashf-e-hijab policy was a kind of grudge towards people who were adhered to their religious beliefs.
The wife of Sadr al-Ashraf, the Minister of Justice, did not leave her house out of grief the next day when she attended a meeting without a hijab and fell ill.
And until a year later when her body was taken out of the house