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Triple Talaq Act is Not a Commodity, Nor are Women Doormats

Where are the conscious intellectuals in the country now, like those award-wapsi groups; and why is the media holding back from denouncing the perpetuation of the baneful practice?

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If we don’t cry now, Triple Talaq, and such other vices, might go digital, and burn millions of households. VOA

BY: SALIL GEWALI

Election season in India is like a festival for many. For some parties’ workers, it is an occasion for joy, and merrymaking too. This is also the time when leaders respond to your phone calls! They hardly miss to send you even birthday wishes, thanks to the automated reminders that help even unkind leaders to put on the face of kindness and generosity with ease.

Well, a flurry of promises is now being made. Some are logical while some are very illogical. Some are even unconstitutional and outrageous. And this all goes to prove that certain political leaders can go to any extent for votes. Their aspirational leaders speak out without thinking. The prime objective is to please the voters. Moreover, making promises does not cost anything.

In the process of pleasing some, certain leaders have grievously hurt many others. They are also now unashamedly getting at Triple Talaq Act. They are bargaining with the certain voters over this as a saleable commodity. Is it not a sore point with female folks? Just imagine how hurt the fathers of million daughters in the country must be.  Again, a sane person should agree that Triple Talaq has been heavily misinterpreted and thus abused for centuries, as all the laid down strict conditions are ignored and moral associated overlooked. Even our immediate neighbor Pakistan, an Islamic country has long abandoned it because of the increasing misuse of the Islamic law.

Triple Talaq
Political leaders can go to any extent for votes and their aspirational leaders speak out without thinking. Their prime objective is to please the voters.

Yes, we well know how hard the present government had fought with the adversaries to bring in the bill against this regressive custom. Modi government certainly deserves the praises for this bold step forward. This bill will definitely save both men and women in many aspects.  Women from their husbands’ atrocities and men from committing sin!

But now, with the MP election around the corner, the certain parties are stooping low to take advantage of this much-abused practice. In their course of campaign, the leaders are claiming that they will revoke the bill if voted to power. What is most disgusting is that even the woman leaders of Congress party, without a sense of guilt, are boasting about that their party will instantly restore the Triple Talaq. Is it not a very dangerous development itself? True, when people lust after one thing, they simply forget that they are walking on the path of vices! Where are the conscious intellectuals in the country now, like those award-wapsi groups; and why is the media holding back from denouncing the perpetuation of the baneful practice? This is indeed a real tragedy! 

Do we want the cutting edge of modern technology to be used to break off the marriage? Many marital ties have been severed by mere a phone call? Are women doormats or disposal items? One very upset mother of three daughters says —  ‘this misused practice has literally reduced the millions of talented women to living corpses!’ 

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If the election and democracy are only to help get society to be more godless then we are definitely heading towards the anarchy. So damning, the leaders, who commit themselves to ensure the bright future for the society and better governance, can thus set about dragging the society into the whirlpool oppression, repression, and frustration. How on earth could we trust such kind of leaders and bet on their integrity? Have they not equally brought a bad name to other leaders of integrity?  Come on, let’s wake up and cry hard for the leaders of principle and moral who in fact can honestly promise to douse the fire of vices. If we don’t cry now, Triple Talaq, and such other vices, might go digital, and burn millions of households.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.

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Ban ‘Triple Talaq’: India Criminalizes Centuries-Old Practice of Sudden Divorce Among Muslims

The bill sets a fine and a jail sentence of up to three years for men convicted of using the practice

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FILE - Indian Muslims protest against the government approving an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down a Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce in Mumbai, India, Sept. 19, 2018. VOA

India’s parliament has passed a measure to criminalize the centuries-old practice of instant divorce among Muslims and punish men with jail terms if they defy a ban on what is known as “triple talaq.”

The government said a law was necessary because there have been instances of Muslim men continuing to terminate marriages by repeating the Arabic word “talaq” three times, although the practice was outlawed by India’s Supreme Court in 2017.

The bill sets a fine and a jail sentence of up to three years for men convicted of using the practice. It will become law as soon as the president signs it. In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “an archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbins of history,” and it “corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women.”

The measure, called the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, was passed in the upper house of parliament amid protests from the main opposition Congress party,  which opposed setting a prison term for offenders and wanted further scrutiny of the bill.

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Indian Muslims stand outside Parliament House in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 26, 2019. VOA

Critics of the law say it is a harsh measure that’s open to misuse and is being used by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to target Muslims. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad defended the bill, saying it was necessary to protect the dignity and honor of Muslim women and ensure gender justice.

The bill’s passage is seen as a major victory for Modi’s government, which failed to pass it during Modi’s first term in office. The bill had been passed by the lower house last week, but all eyes were on Tuesday’s vote because the government does not have a majority in the Upper House. It passed 99 to 84.

The practice of “triple talaq” has long been banned in several Muslim countries like Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan but continued in India.

Zakia Soman, a cofounder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) organization, which was at the forefront of the legal battle to scrap “triple talaq,” welcomed passage of the bill. “It will not change our lives overnight, but it would give strength to the movement for justice for Muslim women,” according to Soman. She said “it was a moment to rejoice.”

triple talaq
If we don’t cry now, Triple Talaq, and such other vices, might go digital, and burn millions of households. VOA

Women rights activists had cited many cases where men had divorced women via letter, telephone and, increasingly, by text message, WhatsApp and Skype by uttering or writing the three words. They said what was practiced in India was a misinterpretation of Islamic law.

Conservative Muslim clerics, however, had staunchly opposed efforts to scrap “triple talaq,” calling it a religious issue that should not be interfered with. Although India’s constitution guarantees equality, it allows matters such as marriage, divorce and alimony to be governed by religious laws.

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Tahir Mahmood, an expert on Islamic law, said he hoped the law would act as a deterrent on Muslim men divorcing wives in an arbitrary manner. He said the practice should not have been made a criminal offense, but he pointed out that religious leaders of the community had failed to do anything to curb the practice.

Some scholars of Sharia law call “triple talaq” a travesty of divorce as envisaged in the Quran. They say the word has to be pronounced over three months and accompanied by efforts at reconciliation. (VOA)