When 60 year old Shah Bano headed to the court to demand maintenance from her husband who divorced her, it had created a rage over the passage of Protection of Rights on Divorce Act 1986. While the court ruled in her favor and made it mandatory to provide the maintenance, it was only for the period of three months, known as Iddat. Well that was the election year and very sadly, the ruling party had to give in to the demands of its vote bank.
The ‘irrevocable’ Triple Talaq can be seen as the most visible patriarchal reservation granted to the men, who have the liberty of abandoning the wives whenever they wish to. And it’s as easy as saying the word three times and done!
While the globe is going mad over efforts to grant equal rights to women, this system on the other hand shatters the movement for equality, justice and empowerment of women with just the pronunciation of a word. How hard it is to understand that the practice of such arbitrary divorces are ruining the lives of many women who are asked to leave the husbands, their houses and even children without any due intervention of the courts or the law. Not to forget, the man is free to marry again and have a new family, leaving the ex-wife.
While there is a provision for women to initiate the proceedings of divorce, known as Khul’a, it is granted when the husband agrees to the divorce upon the return of dower (gift given by husband to wife at time of marriage, to support her in event of husband’s death). And again, there are terms on which Khul’a is granted like if the husband accused the wife of unchastity or suffers from any physical issues.
The deep rooted patriarchy is reflected in many of our customary practices, just that we fail to address and get over it. It is not rocket science to understand that systems like talaq or the the threat to talaq are violating the rights of a woman.
None of the faiths would ever prescribe any unlawful practice towards any gender, it is us who have cleverly modified and adjusted the traditions to satiate our notions. Lets think about it and talk about it more but without the interference of traditions, faith, religion, caste etc. but just one concern, equality for all.
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