The tragedy of triple talaq (divorce)

An opinion piece for Polit on the injustice of a norm under Islam that gives a man the privilege to say ‘divorce’ (talaq) thrice that means the end-all and be-all of a marriage.

In a 2016 India where we go head over heels for a P.V Sindhu; there is a ShayaraBano, a 38-year-old Muslim woman from Uttarakhand,who moves the Supreme Court in her fight against Triple Talaq telling the nation how her life has come to a standstill solely because the entitled husband had the privilege to leave her on three words.

ShayaraBano was not only denied a chance to lead a happy, married life but she had to part with her 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter in the process and is now emotionally drained to think for the welfare of her two children whose “lives are getting ruined” in the custody of her husband, who used to regularly beat up Shayara and forced her to undergo six abortions.

Three seconds, three words and one outcome – injustice.

What do you expect a woman to do if she is sleeping and her husband says divorce thrice (yes, while she is asleep) only to wake up, clueless, and being told to leave the house because, well, she is abandoned? This happened in India with a 21-year-old Shabana merely days ago. Given when a man and a woman get married – both have to say yes – what explains the privilege that only a man gets to have when it is wanted to say goodbye for in a marriage under Islam, only the man can call out.

No. No one said a life has no purpose after divorce. These women who are fighting against the norm are not weak or desperate to be married again. They are fighting for their right to choice!

In fact, NO ONE in a marriage should enjoy such privileges that exploits the fundamental rights of the other person. Why can’t law and only law be the decision maker? I refuse to believe that my consent can be such a joke that nobody even cares about shrugging it off and in these cases, well, killing it!

It seems to me that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board is extremely interested in letting women be where they are because they “religiously” believe that a man is stronger than a woman. I am an atheist; even then I am sure if there ever was an extraordinary power to walk on this planet, he/she/it wouldn’t know if a mere gender differentiation could be a license to exploitation and making someone feel helpless.

Despite an outrage in the country against as regressive a practice as Triple Talaq – the AIMPLB board is busy chanting religion and I am honestly bored of their hollow “arguments”, if you can even call them that.

Are we, as a nation, so vulnerable and naïve that when it comes to ‘religion’ and ‘traditions’; even breaking rightfully out of them seems criminal? But, then again, aren’t we the same nation which banned Sati, even though it was a widely accepted ritual. Didn’t we, at last, figure out that widows don’t make any fuel! Why is, then, Triple Talaq such a touchy topic that it is long pondered upon and challenged, but never demolished?

Also, it is plain bizarre, that a group of people get up and make a body – give it a fancy name – and tell you how to lead your life. Calling it the “protector” of Personal Law, it appears that the AIMPLB has lost the capacity to understand that injustice cannot prevail under the garb of “personal” law. That being said, what even is personal law? Is a law “specific” to my kind of people more important than the Constitution of India which gives me the right to equality under Article 14  irrespective of religion, caste and gender?

Let me give you some facts. Bharatiya  Muslim Mahila Andolan did a study and the results show:

  • It is because of ‘Triple Talaaq that 79% women were denied mainatainance post divorce.
  • It is because of a ‘Triple Talaaq’, that 59% women were divorced unilaterally by their husbands
  • 11% of women were divorced by their husbands through a letter.
  • 3% of women could be divorced by their husbands through phone and 2% by emails/SMS/ WhatsApp.

I ask you this – Who is AIMPLB or anyone in this country to can tell you to ‘make peace’ with traditions, never mind it snatches every single fundamental right away from you, given there is law in this country which doesn’t see any citizen any differently?

I ask you this – In a country which is governed by the statutes mentioned in the Constitution, should we allow Muslim women be treated with double standards even when our Preamble clearly mentions the importance of ‘liberty’ and ‘equality in a ‘Secular’ democracy?

I ask you this – Who are these people to tell you to consummate another marriage if you want to come back to your husband who has Triple Talaq-ed you and wants you back, too? (It’s true. I wish I could write such strong fiction.)

It is high time we say NO to triple talaq and breakthrough from regression. It is high time a woman doesn’t go to sleep wondering she may not wake up “married”. It is high time we, as a nation, stand up and REFUSE to believe that such atrocities under the name of traditions can take place any more.

It is high time we refuse to be run over. It is high time we understand that gender doesn’t decide if the life you live be any less precious than it should be.

Time to talaq the Talaq, in all surety.

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