More than religion, society needs humanism: Muslim woman who married paralysed Dalit under fire from kin, community

The two were married in May. It was a simple ceremony at Pramod’s house. The marriage was registered under the Special Marriage Act on Wednesday.

Thiruvananthapuram | Published: August 18, 2017 5:16 am
kerala muslim woman, dalit man, Special Marriage Act, hindu dalit man, dalit-muslim marriage, india news Meharunnisa and Pramod got married in May

He is a Hindu Dalit, paralysed below the waist and wheelchair-bound for 10 years. She is from an orthodox Muslim family. They met and fell in love on Facebook. Despite the odds, M B Pramod, 36, and I Meharunnisa, 30, registered their marriage on Wednesday at his home at Poonjar in Kottayam district.

Meharunnisa, from Guruvayur in Thrissur district, has been under fire from her community for the past three months. Relatives and community members wanted her to leave Pramod, telling her to “get out of the trap”. However, she stuck to her philosophy: “We healthy persons should fill with joy the lives of the physically disabled ones. More than religion, society needs humanism.’’

Pramod was a cable TV operator. In 2007, he fell into a small water body near his house. The injuries left him paralysed below the waist. After doing the rounds at a number of hospitals, he returned home in a wheelchair.

In the meantime, Pramod’s parents Mangattukunnel Balakrishnan and Saraswati were diagnosed with cancer. Balakrishnan, a BSNL employee, died in 2013. Saraswati became the lone support for Pramod. The family survived on a meagre pension.

Pramod said, “I would frequent social networking sites on my phone. I met Meharunnisa on Facebook two years ago. At the outset, I told her about my condition and other family matters, which should have made any woman keep away from me.’’

Meharunnisa said that as they became closer, she sought the opinion of friends.

“Most of them dissuaded me. They told me my life would be spoiled. But I always felt it would be a great thing to contribute to the happiness of others. When Pramod spoke about his mother’s disease, I decided I should step into their lives,’’ she said.

The two were married in May. It was a simple ceremony at Pramod’s house. The marriage was registered under the Special Marriage Act on Wednesday.

Meharunnisa, a graduate in education, said she has been targeted online by members of her community. “My family and others thought I was trapped. They spread messages on social media groups that a Muslim woman had eloped with a Hindu man. There were audio clips saying I should be brought back. However, there was no threat from anyone.”

She said her community saw the marriage only from a religious angle. “People consider this love affair a crime. At home, no one speaks about conversion to Hinduism. I haven’t changed any customs because of the marriage,’’ said Meharunnisa.

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