On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet today approved an ordinance which will make instant Triple Talaq a punishable offence in the country. It’s a historic move. The government has taken this route to provide similar provisions to the Muslim women as were guaranteed under The Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Act, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha in 2017. The Bill had faced a tough resistance in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP led central government does not enjoy the majority. Leaders from the opposition parties had argued for the Bill to be sent to select committee for a closer scrutiny. The various state governments had however supported the centre’s stand on the issue at hand when the centre had sought their opinions. This is the second ordinance moved by the central government on the instant triple talaq issue which has come after taking into consideration the objections raised by the opposition against the Bill.
For more details: Modi government criminalises triple talaq
The government’s move to end this outdated practice which affects a large number of women from the Muslim community had been highly appreciated by the women from the folds of Islam. The threat of a sudden, oral and out of court divorce which could arise out of the blue to dent their lives forever was too much for the almost 90 million Muslim women of India. The law which is unequal in nature clearly gave extra and unfair rights to the men of the Muslim community and therefore made the women live their lives in fear. In Mursidabad district of West Bengal, over 100,000, Muslim women have suffered because misogynist practices like triple talaq. The divorce rate of Muslim women is twice the national average. According to this report in India for every 1,000 married Hindu women, 2.6 are divorced, while for 1,000 married Muslim women, 5.6 of them are divorced. About 78.7% of Muslim divorcees are women; for Hindus, this figure is 64.2%.
All the previous regimes, mainly Congress, ignored the concerns and sufferings of Muslim women. Their secularism remained confined to only appeasing radical jihadi Muslim men and Muslim religious leaders in order to extract maximum electoral benefits. It is because of such appeasement politics of the pseudo secular parties and misogynist attitude that the Muslim women of India were deprived of rights other Indian women possess. Just because of such attitudes of the Congress party, PM Modi mocked it and called the Congress a party of Muslim men only at a rally in Azamgarh.
PM Modi is the only Prime Minister of the nation who gave space to the issue of triple talaq in his Independence Day speech. In his third Independence speech PM Modi had said, “I pay my respects to those women who had to lead miserable lives due to Triple Talaq and then started a movement which created an environment in the whole nation against the practice.” Muslim women also appreciated PM Modi’s support to end and criminalize the cruel and outdated practice of Triple Talaq. As a token of appreciation Muslim women sent rakhis to PM Modi and also celebrated his birthday with all enthusiasm. Their trust in PM Modi didn’t go in vain. He fulfilled his promise on Wednesday. It’s because of the constant efforts of his government that Muslim women have emerged victorious in ending this practice.
This landmark decision of Modi government would definitely lead to many changes in Muslim society and also in the electoral politics of India. In Muslim societies, it has been observed that patriarchy is rampant. Women in Muslim families make their political choices according to the diktats of Muslim men of the families. Even religious leaders are also 100 per cent male. Muslim women hardly have any rights to perform any religious role. They are not allowed to serve as a religious leader, that right is reserved for the Muslim men only. Literacy among the Muslims is also very low and most of the times they are unaware of the global and national development. But Triple Talaq was one issue which is particularly concerned with the lives of Muslim women only. They are taking a personal interest in each and every minor development with respect to triple talaq issue. The whole triple talaq issue completely exposed as who is the real bigot, who is against their welfare and which party actually cares about the rights of Muslim women. It is PM Modi who prepared the ground to provide equal rights to the women of the Muslim community. His maneuvers exposed the religious and secular bigots and in the process created a mass movement among the women of the Muslim community.
One thing to note is that there a new class of voters emerging throughout the entire country. That class is of politically aware women who make independent electoral choices irrespective of familial, societal obligations. Voters from this class would be a deciding factor in 2019 General elections. Because of this class, the election analyses of the past are becoming redundant. Issues like women security, rights of women, women employment and representation of women in politics etc are important issues. The BJP government has laid special emphasis on these issues and criminalizing triple talaq is an example of this. There are 5 crore Muslim women in India and they are able to influence the outcome of the elections in 50 odd Lok Sabha seats in crucial states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. If PM Modi somehow manages to translate his popularity among Muslim women into votes then there is no prize for guessing the outcomes of the polls. As compared to previous time, in the upcoming general elections more and more Muslim women would be the silent supporter of the BJP. It is already strongly believed that the BJP would have not got the unprecedented number of seats in the 2017 UP state assembly elections without the silent support of the Muslim women. The BJP performed well and emerged victorious in well known Muslim dominated areas including Deoband. If all goes well then we might end up witnessing the repeat of same episode in 2019 general elections as well.
In the recent times, Muslim women have hit the streets demanding reforms in the Muslim society. Muslim women especially from Dawoodi Bohra community want to get rid from barbaric, inhumane and cruel practices like female genital mutilation. Muslim women also want to end archaic practices of Nikah Halala and polygamy. And, the BJP is with them in their struggle and fight against these outdated and anti-Women practices. It is doing each and every possible thing to ensure the empowerment of the women of the Muslim community. During elections, Muslim women are not to surrender to any pressure coercing them to cast their precious votes against the BJP and PM Modi. In fact, we might see more and more number of women coming out to cast their vote in the upcoming elections in favour of a party which is trying its level best to uplift their status and to empower them. It’s quite ironic to see that a party which is labeled as anti-Women and anti-Minority has done the most favorable work for the women of minority community. It also shows the extent to which the BJP is the victim of the propaganda of media.