Muslim women celebrate after the triple talaq bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha, in Varanasi.
For this first step towards giving dignity to the Muslim woman, the BJP Government under PM Modi has to be congratulated and felicitated
The historic resolution of removing the Triple Talaq Bill by the Parliament on July 30 makes life a little simpler for the Muslim woman, who was constantly pressurised to follow the diktats of her husband and his family, in the fear that she could be thrown out on the streets with or without her children, in minutes.
It also removes from her mind the fear that she could be forced to sleep with other men from her husband’s family or with the Mullah from the closest Masjid, thanks to Nikah Halala, to save her children from being brought up like orphans.
Those who feel that this is against Muslim men must understand that it is not against Muslim men as much as it is succour for Muslim women. What beats understanding is the fact those who think that the Triple Talaq Bill is against Muslim men, haven’t even once thought that Muslim women rights need to be considered equal to the rights of Muslim men.
The women behind instant triple talaq petitions
"The passage of the Triple Talaq Bill is a welcome development. Although this has been long overdue and Muslim women have been steadfastly demanding it for many years now, this is a historic step forward in the movement for gender justice by ordinary women." — Zakia Soman, co-founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
"It is a happy moment for not just me but for Muslim society as a whole. We have been freed of an evil custom. Generations of women have suffered due to instant triple talaq. They have been thrown out of their house overnight and made to go through hell." — Shayara Bano
Another thing to be noted is that with the passage of this bill, the bogey of BJP not being able to pass any bill in the Rajya Sabha till they have a complete majority on their own, has been destroyed. In the previous stint in the Government, Modi Government had to face many hurdles to clear important bills – the frequent walk-outs, the disruptions in both houses of Parliament, the constant number game in the Rajya Sabha – all led to BJP not being able to pass many bills before their term ended.
Thankfully, now this excuse cannot be used anymore by BJP to shy away from introducing bills which may not be palatable to the ‘Minorities’, but which need to be done anyway. Reforms on RTE, right of Hindus over management of Hindu Temples, protection to Hindu refugees from other countries, etc. are some of the points that this Government needs to take up soon.
While even asking for Dowry by Hindus was treated as a criminal offence for all these years, the Muslim man remained free from being pulled up for his activities which robbed the women in the community of any sense of self-worth or dignity. The Triple Talaq, the Nikah Halala, the Muttah marriage, Polygamy, having innumerable children, meagre alimony, all robbed the Muslim woman of her dignity of being treated at par with a Muslim man. But no government even tried to stop these inhuman acts, leave alone criminalise them.
The first step, maybe the mildest of all of the above, has been taken by this government very boldly. The fact of the matter is that for all these years, Muslim men were treated as a special class by all our Politicians. They felt that they were untouchable by the law. Even though this country was declared much after Independence to be a ‘Secular’ country, it remained a country which treated Muslim women unfairly.
For this historic step, for this first step towards giving dignity to the Muslim woman, the BJP Government under PM Modi has to be congratulated and felicitated.
(The writer is a Mumbai-based columnist)