Ever since Rashtrya Muslim Mahila Manch, an outfit of RSS, approached the Supreme Court of India in 2016, the NDA Union Government has been indulging in aggressive campaign against Muslims over instant Triple Talaq and how it endeavours to get Muslim women justice with equity and fair-play. Such propaganda war is abated in the sold out wholesale media world willfully showing Muslims of India in bad light.
In the context of ongoing propaganda war against Muslims of India when the Supreme Court takes up the issue of instant Triple Talaq before a Constitution Bench of five judges beginning May 11, 2017, it will be germane to bring to the notice of the sovereign people what the India Census 2011, the latest data for which is available, reports about the plight of women of different religious communities.
According to the latest Census figures, percentage of women staying in marriage amongst Muslims is 87.8 per cent compared to Hindus 86.2 percentage, Christians 83.7 per cent and other religious minorities 85.8 per cent. Similarly, percentage of widowed women is less amongst Muslims at 11.1 per cent compared to Hindus 12.9 per cent, Christians 14.6 per cent and other religious minorities 13.3 per cent. Culture of widow re-marriages provides a higher level of family protection to Muslim women compared to women from other religious communities. Percentage of separated and abandoned women is also less amongst Muslims at 0.67 per cent compared to Hindus 0.69 per cent, Christians 1.9 per cent and other religious minorities 0.68 per cent. The same census data reveals that the divorced women percentage is higher amongst Muslims at 0.49 per cent and Christians at 0.47 per cent.
The saga of abandoned Hindu widowed women at Virindaban, Varanasi and Haridwar as also at scattered places is a legion. Their miserable plight is very pitiable as they are left in lurch. They live mostly on the crums of philanthropy and charitable NGOs and other voluntary organizations and less on Government support.
Analysis by one Pryanka Chaturvedi, a Delhi based research scholar and political observer, of the Census Report reveals there are 17 crore Muslims in India. Half of them are women, equivalent to 8.5 crore women. Of them, 43 per cent are married, equivalent to 3.6 crore. Divorce rate is 5 for every 1000 marriages, equivalent to two lakh. Out of those two lakh divorced Muslim women, not all Muslims believe in Triple Talaq and not all Triple Talaqs are initiated by women (the procedure of Khula). Not all Talaqs are instant or in one go, which is where the problem is. Even if one assumes half of the divorced women are victims of instant Triple Talaq, equivalent to one lakh.
Ms Chaturvedi says, whereas a look at Hindu community reveals there are 100 crore Hindus in India. Half of them are women, equivalent to 50 crore. Out of them, 43 per cent Hindu women are married, equivalent to 21.5 crore. Separated Hindu women are 5.5 for every one thousand marriages, equivalent to 12 lakh. Out of the unsettled separation rate, there are 3.7 for every one thousand marriages, equivalent to 12 lakh. Unsettled separation rate is 3.7 for every thousand marriages, equivalent to eight lakh unsettled separation for Hindu women, there are cases of divorce pending in courts, separation could be initiated by women, and not all unsettled separations indicate wife abandonment, similar to PM Modi, which is equivalent to four lakh cases. For every one Muslim woman suffering from instant Triple Talaq, there are four Hindu women who are suffering the same fate as Jasodaben. In fact, the fate of Hindu women is worse. Muslim women can marry again and find possibly better husband. But the Hindu women get stuck in a limbo, she cannot marry again, she cannot have a normal life again. She is half widow. This is the plight of our women in the scheme of the Constitution and the judicial system there under.
Ironically, one does not hear much about such Hindu women. One wonders if our media are really serious about the welfare of women. It seems media are peddling a political agenda of RSS, to dehumanize all Indian Muslims and demonizing them under the subtly guided pretext of social reforms.
Now that the facts are available in public domain, one fails to understand why Sangh Pariwar led Union Government is all out to assert it’s so called strident resolve to get justice and equity to only Muslim women in the matter of instant Triple Talaq vis-à-vis their men folk unless it is a willful ploy to dilute Muslims’ including other religious minorities’ Fundamental Rights to freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 25 (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and profession of religion) and Article 26 (Freedom to manage religious affairs) of the Constitution of India. At the very outset, there is no such resolve in the Government to mitigate the miserable plight of all women irrespective of their religion, caste or community, unless obviously it is a sheer design to subsume Muslims to be followed by other religious minorities in the grand RSS agenda of Akhand Bharat of Hindu Rashtra.
In our system of rule of law based system of constitutional democratic governance, it is best left to the religious communities to bring reforms from within without governmental interference. Government’s priorities should be to provide all round social and economic development of all people without any discrimination. It’s true Triple Talaq in one go is an aberration and in violation of the religious postulates. However, it is not order of the day. It’s miniscule, not alarming. Reforms within the community are underway. Problem lies in steep poverty, illiteracy, backwardness and deprivation of the community. No doubt, it will take time and Triple Talaq in one go will end and Triple Talaq with interval of one month each, as prescribed in the Holy Quran, shall prevail. Union Government’s willful resolve is mischievous and fraught with endangering the time tested civilisational strength of country’s tolerance, pluralism, diversity and national unity!