Triple Talaq a monumental obstruction to gender equality

On the day the picture was taken, the Old Men of the AIMPLB were pontificating on the 'virtues' of Triple Talaq.

Written by Ujjal Dosanjh | New Delhi | Updated: May 1, 2017 1:25 pm
AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani with Executive Members Zafaryab Jilani, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi and Women’s wing head Asma Zahra at a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

The most insidious truth in the picture headlining the story had escaped me, at least for a moment. Countless centuries of the male privilege in my genes must have been responsible for my momentary inability to recognise the picture for what it was. But then the realisation dawned, like lightning from the heavens above striking deep into my brain, my whole being. It was what has been happening from time immemorial: Men, particularly old men, sitting in judgement on what rights women should or mostly rather shouldn’t have; it had been happening for eons until women rose up in different parts of the world–the likes of Jhansi, Sarojini Naidu and Aruna Asif Ali in India and the suffragettes in the west, just to name some of the countless milestones; then the bra burning and the unshackling of women the world over gathered unstoppable momentum.

Those men in the picture belonged to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB); the privileged of the male privilege, their privilege sanctioned and condoned by religion. They were and are not much different from the Roman Catholics Popes who have so far barred women from being ordained priests, the Hindu priests who have until recently barred women from entering some temples or the Imams who would disallow women in some mosques.

On the day the picture was taken, the Old Men of the AIMPLB were pontificating on the ‘virtues’ of Triple Talaq. That day they declared how the Triple Talaq wasn’t such a bad thing. Without being bogged down in the legal or other niceties of Triple Talaq, it was and remains a monumental obstruction in the way of equality for women. It is as iniquitous now as it was when the Congress regime under Rajiv Gandhi showed utter lack of intestinal fortitude in not enshrining the Shah Bano judgement of the Supreme Court of India into law to begin to give a significant section of Indian women rights they had long demanded and deserved. Rajiv’s government legislatively diluted the effect of the Court’s judgement. But where the politician had failed the people, the Court once again came to the women’s rescue. In subsequent cases it restored the rights first enunciated in Shah Bano.

The Old Men in the picture argued that any judicial intervention in the issue of Triple Talaq is “an infringement of the religious rights” of the Muslim community–a facile argument deeming a mere judicial interpretation of the matters under the Constitution of India an infringement. Democracy is nothing if not constitutional. In democracies the elected representatives make the laws and the courts interpret them. The last time I checked India was not a theocracy–at least not yet, although I am afraid one could be forgiven for thinking it is on its way to becoming one–with governments’ and political parties’ platforms talking about building Mandirs per se or Mandirs in places where currently there currently are none; with cow vigilantes’ lawlessness and terror reigning in several parts of India including New Delhi, the seat of India’s government, and the men of the AIMPLB crying foul over judicial intervention on Triple Talaq which they deem a Muslim religious right.

As for the Men’s “infringement of religious rights” argument, it is clear that marriage is a social and cultural construct. Triple Talaq is no more a Muslim religious principle than sati was a Hindu religious principle. They were both social and cultural constructs that over time became subsumed by faith. Sati was indigenous to India and evil. The Triple Talaq traveled with the Muslim travelers, kings and their armies. Originally from Arabia, Triple Talaq became Indian as did the Muslims. It was an Arabian social and cultural practice that was subsumed by Islam. The caste or Sati, sanctioned or not by Hinduism, can’t ever be legitimately claimed as religious principles or allowed religious sanctity. Similarly, whether it happens in three different sittings or one, the Triple Talaq, sanctioned by Islam or not, can’t ever be legitimately elevated into a religious principle obstructing the social and cultural equality of Muslim women. To guarantee the right to freely practice any citizens’ religion is the only obligation a government has vis a vis religion. The government can’t and mustn’t protect gender inequality–be it in the name of religion or otherwise; Period.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board needs to drag itself into the 21st Century. If not, the mounting yearning for real equality among the Muslim women would drag it into the still relatively young century, despite the kicking and screaming of the Old Men of AIMPLB or others.

The views expressed by the author are personal. Dosanjh is former Premier of British Columbia, and former Canadian Minister of Health. He tweets @ujjaldosanjh

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  1. B
    Bryan Roland
    May 13, 2017 at 6:06 pm
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    Reply
    1. R
      Raju
      Apr 30, 2017 at 11:40 pm
      Fine! Negative counting already has been reached or left only to 15 days for this triple talaq.
      Reply
      1. S
        Sivakumar
        Apr 30, 2017 at 11:07 pm
        Sanjay Khan - Yes what you said was partially right which was prevalent in long back in Hindu faith, even your fore fathers were practiced, your forefathers changed the religion with sward point or with a lust to marry more women's , with a lust to rape young girls and with a lust to enjoy 07 virgin in Jannath after you kill kafirs, wah .. what a religion (cult) sire, what a religion. First introspect your religious teaching, it's says religion of peace, introspect isn't it teaching peace, if it teaching peace then why you guys having animosity against the so called kafirs, why you want to kill innocent people who don't want believe in your cult teaching, the peace and tranquility of human race is in danger through out the world because of one religion, the so called Islam, Am I any thing wrong in saying so, you take any Islamic country in the world where the Mudlim po tion is 3 and above, even the country having muslin po tion of 100 , any peace they have. Introspect sire,
        Reply
        1. M
          Mahender Goriganti
          Apr 30, 2017 at 9:18 pm
          No matter how Islamic Express and name sake AIMPB (toothless) are all of Islamic discourse is nothing but all about Barbarism anti science and anti all women as disposable toys & possessions .
          Reply
          1. R
            rohit
            Apr 30, 2017 at 8:13 pm
            Well,
            Reply
            1. S
              sanjay khan
              Apr 30, 2017 at 4:54 pm
              THE PEOPLE WHO LOSE THEIR WOMEN IN GAMBLING,THE PEOPLE WHO TAKE AGNI PARIKSHA,MAKE THEM DEVDASI,SATI,CHILD MARRIAGE,THE PEOPLE WHO SHAVE THE HEAD OF WIDOWS AND LEAVE THEM AT BANARAS,THE PEOPLE WHO KILL THEIR DAUGHTERS IN MOTHERS WOMB,THE PEOPLE WHO NEVER GIVE SHARE FROM FATHER'S PROPERTY TO THEIR DAUGHTERS,BURN AND KILL IN THE NAME OF DOWRY THESE PEOPLE ARE TEACHING MUSLIMS ABOUT THE WOMENS RIGHT. SHAME ON U GUYS. ANTI ISLAMIC ISRAELI PROPA A DOESN'T WORK IN INDIA.
              Reply
              1. M
                Mahender Goriganti
                Apr 30, 2017 at 9:20 pm
                Get educated properly before opening your mouth. Not surprised this coming from converted Muslim just like born again Christian.
                Reply
              2. H
                Harsh
                Apr 30, 2017 at 12:14 pm
                What is gender equality status of those who do not follow triple talaq.
                Reply
                1. D
                  devender
                  Apr 29, 2017 at 10:51 pm
                  It is funny, the lefty elites who kept quiet for 70 years on all issues related to minorities are suddenly discovering logic and sense. Is it because, they are getting insecure of becoming irrelevant during the age when most progressive steps are being driven by right wing party ?
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    sanjay khan
                    Apr 30, 2017 at 4:56 pm
                    THE PEOPLE WHO LOSE THEIR WOMEN IN GAMBLING,THE PEOPLE WHO TAKE AGNI PARIKSHA,MAKE THEM DEVDASI,SATI,CHILD MARRIAGE,THE PEOPLE WHO SHAVE THE HEAD OF WIDOWS AND LEAVE THEM AT BANARAS,THE PEOPLE WHO KILL THEIR DAUGHTERS IN MOTHERS WOMB,THE PEOPLE WHO NEVER GIVE SHARE FROM FATHER'S PROPERTY TO THEIR DAUGHTERS,BURN AND KILL IN THE NAME OF DOWRY THESE PEOPLE ARE TEACHING MUSLIMS ABOUT THE WOMENS RIGHT. SHAME ON U GUYS. ANTI ISLAMIC ISRAELI PROPA A DOESN'T WORK IN INDIA.
                    Reply
                  2. Y
                    Yogesh
                    Apr 29, 2017 at 1:47 pm
                    Muslim men are male chauvinist pigs - it's got nothing to do with their religion- they are only hiding behind it
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      sanjay khan
                      Apr 30, 2017 at 4:55 pm
                      THE PEOPLE WHO LOSE THEIR WOMEN IN GAMBLING,THE PEOPLE WHO TAKE AGNI PARIKSHA,MAKE THEM DEVDASI,SATI,CHILD MARRIAGE,THE PEOPLE WHO SHAVE THE HEAD OF WIDOWS AND LEAVE THEM AT BANARAS,THE PEOPLE WHO KILL THEIR DAUGHTERS IN MOTHERS WOMB,THE PEOPLE WHO NEVER GIVE SHARE FROM FATHER'S PROPERTY TO THEIR DAUGHTERS,BURN AND KILL IN THE NAME OF DOWRY THESE PEOPLE ARE TEACHING MUSLIMS ABOUT THE WOMENS RIGHT. SHAME ON U GUYS. ANTI ISLAMIC ISRAELI PROPA A DOESN'T WORK IN INDIA.
                      Reply
                    2. S
                      Sivakumar
                      Apr 29, 2017 at 8:53 am
                      All followers of Islam are premitiv people, and they cont go beyond to find the truth. The founder of the Islam said that World is flat, is it flat? , still these brainless primitivism believe in his teaching and belindly follow him, the founder of the religion married 13 times including a raping and marrying a very minor girl, the magnanimity and unreasonability of the cult leader at ude and his shame activity will never been realised by this barbaric primitive people, the religious activism of Islam clearly bring doubt in every one mind that the cult is an handiwork of 'Satan', time will tell
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        sanjay khan
                        Apr 30, 2017 at 5:12 pm
                        how many wifes krishna had 1500,all of them commited sati after his death.how can god die?is it necessary for god to take human avtar? is it required for god to take agni priksha of his wife?how can people put their wife in gambling game.cast system
                        Reply
                      2. R
                        Raju
                        Apr 28, 2017 at 11:13 pm
                        One law should be apply for all in one nation.
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          sanjay khan
                          Apr 30, 2017 at 4:57 pm
                          THE PEOPLE WHO LOSE THEIR WOMEN IN GAMBLING,THE PEOPLE WHO TAKE AGNI PARIKSHA,MAKE THEM DEVDASI,SATI,CHILD MARRIAGE,THE PEOPLE WHO SHAVE THE HEAD OF WIDOWS AND LEAVE THEM AT BANARAS,THE PEOPLE WHO KILL THEIR DAUGHTERS IN MOTHERS WOMB,THE PEOPLE WHO NEVER GIVE SHARE FROM FATHER'S PROPERTY TO THEIR DAUGHTERS,BURN AND KILL IN THE NAME OF DOWRY THESE PEOPLE ARE TEACHING MUSLIMS ABOUT THE WOMENS RIGHT. SHAME ON U GUYS. ANTI ISLAMIC ISRAELI PROPA A DOESN'T WORK IN INDIA.
                          Reply
                        2. P
                          Paul
                          Apr 28, 2017 at 1:34 am
                          These ignorant s, members of AIMPLB would know the meaning of triple talaq if they were women. They are primitive people with peanut brains.
                          Reply
                          1. P
                            Paul
                            Apr 28, 2017 at 1:21 am
                            In independent India there should be uniform code for everybody. Does any body demand different laws to govern different religions? The answer is NO. Then why in India. India should consider itself as a civilized country. Anyone who does not want to live by civilized code should try to find an alternative.
                            Reply
                            1. N
                              Nitin Deolekar
                              Apr 27, 2017 at 7:25 pm
                              Sad but Bad need to Just Reverse Mr. Ambedkar Laws at Once? To get rid of growing ISIS Muslim Hard-Core Terrorism ?? Dare to Do Apply 1-wife Act Law to Muslim brothers, who preferred not to go to Pak & remained in India.. Also Apply China Family Planning Law to Muslim brotherhood 1-family-1-wife !! At Least for next 70 years or so; there After Allow 2 !! That shall help them to prosper Like Chinese and Terrorism shall finish once for All !! In Return Gift them Reservation BC Quota for Mr. Ambedkar Nav-Buddha religion people, who over-enjo it for last 7 decades: 3 generations for Now !! Real needy are Muslim Women, who got affected by Wrong No-Common Civil Code done by Mr. Ambedkar-Nehru, & other pseudo? secular? congressmen? And Allow 2-shadi VErbal Talak for Hindu for next 70 years..
                              Reply
                              1. B
                                bambaikar
                                Apr 27, 2017 at 5:49 pm
                                triple talaq may aaffect 0.0001 percent of muslim women. There is one thing which affects 100 percent of hindu women. No Hindu women gets inheritance from father property. Father simply wills away his property to byp inheritance law. Why nobody is talking about it
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  sameer
                                  Apr 27, 2017 at 8:25 pm
                                  because it is not as bad as you fking your own sisssss and barking out talq talq talq ...you get the point half dik
                                  Reply
                                  1. S
                                    sanjay khan
                                    Apr 30, 2017 at 5:24 pm
                                    THE PEOPLE WHO LOSE THEIR WOMEN IN GAMBLING,THE PEOPLE WHO TAKE AGNI PARIKSHA,MAKE THEM DEVDASI,SATI,CHILD MARRIAGE,THE PEOPLE WHO SHAVE THE HEAD OF WIDOWS AND LEAVE THEM AT BANARAS,THE PEOPLE WHO KILL THEIR DAUGHTERS IN MOTHERS WOMB,THE PEOPLE WHO NEVER GIVE SHARE FROM FATHER'S PROPERTY TO THEIR DAUGHTERS,BURN AND KILL IN THE NAME OF DOWRY THESE PEOPLE ARE TEACHING MUSLIMS ABOUT THE WOMENS RIGHT. SHAME ON U GUYS. ANTI ISLAMIC ISRAELI PROPA A DOESN'T WORK IN INDIA.
                                2. J
                                  jackal
                                  Apr 27, 2017 at 5:02 pm
                                  triple talaq is already a deadhorse as far as muslim community is concerned. Less than 0.01 muslims may practice this. May be a few out of 20 crore muslims in India. Is this any worse than female infanticide, bride burning, infidelity, live-in relationships, murder of the unrelenting wife/husband. There was a recent case of an ex wife being awarded an alimonyof 25 earnings from her first husband, even though she has married a second time. What will happen if some female marries, divorces, remarries a few times, gets alimony from all her past husbands and lives happily ever after continuing her wild lifestyle. Will it be natural justice???
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    madarchod mohammad
                                    Apr 27, 2017 at 5:11 pm
                                    Only SC of India will decide, you or your archaic rules won't decide.
                                    Reply
                                  2. S
                                    sahil
                                    Apr 27, 2017 at 4:32 pm
                                    Dear Ujjal have always appreciated your straight & honest talk , hecne your opposition to triple talaq is acceptable. Triple talaq is a wrong practice but its usage in Muslim community is negligible and highly questionable. Problem is when this opposition comes from people who practice & prescribe rape and even justify necrophlia on muslim women, you will agree that opposition is just a show reel directed by Nagpur. It is just a precursor to justify UCC.
                                    Reply
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