The triple talaq bill brought in by the Modi government is being portrayed as a ‘gift’ to Muslim women, a tool of their empowerment. Far from empowering women, it is a perfect tool to set in motion a cycle of never-ending misery for families in general and women in particular
AAZEEN F KIRMANI | Caravan Daily
Bringing in the Triple Talaq Bill to deal with the problem of instant triple talaq is much like using a canon to kill a fly.
The overall instance of divorce among Indian Muslims is .56% (all forms) and no one has ever found out the share of instant triple talaq in this. Keeping in mind the small overall figure of .56% and general observation if ever a survey is done to find out the instance of instant talaq, I am sure it will turn out to be negligible.
But even though matters stand as they do some of our women folk have been so obsessed with this minuscule problem and so desperately want to get rid of the fly that they wouldn’t mind if the roof of their house gets blown away in the process.
I for one, a married Muslim woman, the ideal candidate for this ‘sarkari’ benevolence have no desire, none whatsoever to have a canon at my disposal. I do not want a provision that I can misuse in a bout of anger and regret all my life. After all, the husband doesn’t even need to utter the forbidden words. All he needs to go to jail for three years (under non-bailable warrant) is to offend me. That by the way is an extremely easy task for any husband.
That brings us to the point of the pointlessness of the bill. Even though he would go to jail for pronouncing triple talaq, the divorce would still not have taken place. So in essence he will be jailed for a crime that never took place. After three years he shall return home to his wife (who did him in). Advisably, with a bouquet of flowers, lest she is offended again!
This bill if it gets through will spell doom for the entire Muslim family system in India.
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Recently a friend, interestingly, a lawyer wrote that if this bill comes to effect he will remain unmarried. This arbitrary power in hands of women will keep unmarried men away from marriage. Also, it will in all probability make married men resort to wife abandonment, rather than divorce.
Despite having the nuclear button of instant triple talaq on their tables all this while, the instance of talaq in Muslims is among the lowest. The number of triple talaq offenders is unbelievably low. Every single marriage I know has been through its share of battles and wars and sometimes never ending crusades. Of these, not one has ended in instant talaq.
I know of at least four broken marriages in my very large social circle. Of these, three had been initiated by women (khula) and one which was not khula was not triple talaq or talaq-biddah either. Let us give our men credit where it is due!
I had once asked my husband if it bothers him that he has a power that can devastate our lives. “No! I have enough control over my faculties” he was confident in his reply. Most Muslim men have enough control over their faculties. Those who do not have, pay the price. Lifelong.
In fact, during the time of Caliph Umar (RA) men who pronounced triple talaq were sentenced with lashes. But the talaq having taken place, the women remarried and moved on with their lives.
The current bill, retrograde as it is, keeps women tied to their men. It did not occur to the learned men who drafted the bill that the men after serving their jail time have every possibility of turning vindictive and making life hell for their wives. The socio-economic aspect of the wife’s existence during the three years also somehow escaped their attention.
The triple talaq bill is being portrayed as a ‘gift’ to Muslim women, a tool of their empowerment. Unfortunately, many among us have devoured it as such without bothering to look at its ingredients. Far from empowering women, it is a perfect tool to set in motion a cycle of never-ending misery for families in general and women in particular.
The institution of family is the building block of society. And the man and his wife are the building blocks of the family. Pit them against each other, and ensure instant and total destruction.
Aazeen F Kirmani is a Hyderabad-based writer. She tweets at @afkirmani