miriam cooke

Hijabi Activism (2020)

PUBLICATION: Al Raida Journal Vol. 44, Issue 2, 2020


I was eating a veg dosa at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University cafeteria when a veiled student turned to me. “I like your glasses.” I was surprised, because women students in Indian universities tend to be quite shy, and her chic women’s aviator sunglasses were much nicer than my run-of-the-mill specs. We struck up a conversation and I learned that Roshni Misbah was a biker, better known as Hijabi Biker. After introductions, her friends told me that Roshni was the fastest woman motorcyclist in India, with her top speed on the racetrack reaching 328 kilometers per hour! What did her parents think of their daughter’s dangerous exploits? “Oh, they are very supportive. In the beginning, my mother was very nervous, but she is OK now.” Roshni was a member of the Delhi chapter of the Bikerni group, a Muslim feminist athletic project “that aims at spreading women empowerment through the medium of motorcycles” (Tiwari, 2017).