By Humra Quraishi
In the last few days I have been asked about my views on the entire issue of triple talaq declared null and void by the Supreme Court. Of course, the ruling is welcomed….much appreciated. Here it is also essential to stress that triple talaq is un-Quranic and with that un-Islamic. In fact, triple talaq is one of those social ills that have crept in because the community is lagging on socio-economic-educational spheres.
Islam has actually provided enough guidelines to marriage and divorce but it’s tragic that most of us sit unaware of them. As Danial Latifi had detailed during the course of an interview given to me, the crucial backgrounders to the ‘why’ he had decided to take up the controversial Shah Bano case. To quote him, “I found Shah Bano to be an over smart woman who took full mileage out of the case. Why I took up her case? It was not as though I who opted to fight for her…I was simply watching the proceedings of this case with a whole galaxy of lawyers, including the then chief justice of India, Justice Chandrachud. It was then, whilst her case was being argued by a junior lawyer, that the chief justice intervened and asked me, why don’t I, as a senior lawyer, fight for her. So I had no choice but to fight for her.”
In fact, Latifi had made it very clear that Shah Bano had got her due maintenance on the “basis and strength of Quran’s provisions.” As he’d detailed to me, “First of all, despite the contrary belief, marriage is a very serious business in Islam. Coming to the chapter on talaq, it is this chapter that lays down all the details including the procedure for talaq and the importance given to the arbitration aspect and, of course, the maintenance aspect. The fact is that triple talaq is un-quranic. In fact, one particular line from the Quran – wa lil mutha laqati mataun bil maroof haqqam alal mutaqqin (unto the divorced woman, a provision that is reasonable in the eyes of God, is obligatory, an obligation for the righteous ) — is enough to provide her status and a decent maintenance. And whilst fighting for the Shah Bano case I quoted this line and the minute I showed this line to the chief justice he said that line was enough to get her due, her maintenance. So, Shah Bano got her due maintenance on the strength of Quran’s provisions.”
Getting back to the hyped linkage of a vice like triple talaq with the Muslim community, it is one of those aspects to be pondered upon. It’s sad and unfortunate that even after seventy years of the country’s Independence there are weird notions in circulation about the ‘other.’
What hurts and upsets is that today, weird stereotype notions prevail about the Muslims in India: they produce like rabbits or swallow meat at every single occasion or don’t bathe or are a terror striking lot… So very often have I heard this half-query, half exclamation thrown at my face, “You really a Muslim? You don’t look like one!” What am I supposed to look like? Perhaps, doing farshi salaams or stuffing meat-balls into my mouth!
Why this propaganda is allowed to take off and flourish! It seems that there is a deliberate attempt by vested political interests to put forth this image of the largest minority community of the country. Sadly, along expected lines, none of the Government Commissions or even that specially set up Ministry for Minority Affairs has done a thing to halt these mischievous and bogus notions in circulation.
Let me say loud and clear that an average Indian Muslim’s living patterns aren’t different from that of his fellow Indians in terms of the socio-economic patterns. There is no difference, except for this – a deep sense of hurt and insecurity. Mind you, this does not come from you or me, nor from the other apolitical Indians but from the political rulers who are not doing a thing to halt misconceptions about the other.
What is needed is that these myths and misconceptions are done away with it. The big question is – who will do this! Can we expect the Ministry for Minority Affairs or the National Commission for Minorities to halt these!
There seems little hope coming. Why? Do not overlook the basic fact – The National Commission for Minorities is no longer by manned by the apolitical. Here go the details of the NCM – A former national general secretary of BJP Minority Morcha, Gairul Hasan Rizvi, is the present chairman of the NCM. In fact, he is the same man who was also seen working overtime for Narendra Modi’s election campaign in Varanasi. Also, two of the four panel members of the NCM are affiliated to the BJP: Sunil Sanghi was convener of Anya Bhasha Bhashi Cell of Gujarat BJP, while George Kurian is vice-president of Kerala BJP. And the two others members of the panel are Maharashtra social activist Sulekha Kumbhare (nominated as Buddhist member), and Vada Dasturji Khurshed Kaikobad Dastoor (Parsi member). In fact, Kumbhare is a former MLA from Bahujan Republican Ekta Morcha and had supported BJP in 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections.