Muslim women do not need the ‘support’ of BJP to raise their voice

By Khushboo Khan for

The Supreme Court verdict over triple talaq, following a long battle in court, has been debated across the country with many coming out in support of it.

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On the other hand, the opposition to the verdict predominantly relates to the ‘conspiracy’ by the BJP-ruled central government, guided by the Hindutva ideology, to interfere in Muslim personal laws for which the Indian Constitution already guarantees rights to the religious minorities to practice their respective religions. Thus, the verdict and the politically motivated continuous demand for the implementation of uniform civil code are regarded as unconstitutional, and it is not surprising the verdict on triple talaq has been hailed vociferously by the Hindu right-wing groups, which in turn raises several questions over the validity of constitutional rule of law.

The Holy Quran and Hadith had already invalidated and prohibited the practice of Instant Triple Talaq and described as Talaq Ul Bidat which is considered to be the sinful form of divorce as it is against the spirit of Quran and was opposed by the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Quran has carefully laid down the procedure of talaq over a period of three months. Moreover, Quran facilitates a woman to choose their spouse and to call off the marriage by the procedure of “Khula”. It (should be the) responsibility of the clerics and Islamic religious institutions to implement the Shari’ah without any external interference in Shari’ah.

Triple Talaq is depicted as an anathema for Muslim women by Hindu right-wing groups for the sake to represent them as the true saviour of women’s rights and also to sidetrack the attention from the 2002 rape cases during Gujarat communal riots. To the right-wing groups, triple talaq is a mere parameter to measure the women empowerment and gender justice. If they are so concerned then why aren’t they talking about women education, their economic status, enhancement of their capabilities in the field of entrepreneurship?

In reality, it’s not the personal laws which makes one backward and retrogressive, but the unavailability of resources and the lack of basic amenities. An educated and independent working woman doesn’t need alimony from her husband either any form of economic support to survive; it’s her existing economic status which decides the impact of any sort of separation. According to Shariah, a woman is not eligible for alimony after her divorce but her children are (it’s the prime duty of her former husband to fulfil all the needs of their offspring).

BJP’s mere concern surrounds the Muslim women. Hindu women or women from the other communities are not the part of their vision for development; why not women in general and for Muslim in particular? Still, a number of social evils are finely embedded in our society (dowry system, Devadasi, alienated widows living in Vrindavan, child marriages etc) as a result of which thousands of women are compelled to live a derogatory life. Right wing groups never made any effort to eradicate different embedded evil practices from society, hence promoting their agenda of polarization of women on religious lines for the sake to create their vote bank.

Zakia Jafri, Bilquis Bano, the victims of Kunan Poshpora gang rape, Muzzafarnagar riots victims, Ishrat Jahan belong to the very same Muslim community for whom justice remains elusive even after decades. Right wing approach would be considered authentic if they raise their raise demanding justice for such women.

(Khushboo Khan is an activist and student of Sociology at the Department of Sociology in Jamia Millia Islamia. She writes on social and political issues)