On July 30th, Triple Talaq bill passed in the Parliament and the Bharatiya janta is all about praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for such a verdict.
Criminalising ‘Triple Talaq’ is no doubt a great step towards establishing gender justice.
PM Narendra Modi, in a series of tweets, hailed the verdict. “An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history! Parliament abolishes Triple Talaq and corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women. This is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society. India rejoices today!”
But Hindu men of Modiji’s own Gujarat are celebrated for legally practising polygamy in the name of ‘Maitri Karar’.
Does it anyhow look like ‘gender justice’?
Well, the name ‘Maitri Karar’ is not so familiar name or a law. The ‘authentic fourth pillar’ of democracy does not talk about it much.
So, before we begin, let’s know what Maitri Karar is!
Originated in Gujarat, Maitri Karar was specially designed to circumvent the rules laid down by the Hindu Marriage Act of 1956.
The contract says that a man can make an agreement on 10 Rupees stamp paper in the form of an affidavit, signed by both parties and by the Sub Registrar of Marriages and once the contract is made, no marriage is required and even if the man was married he could keep a mistress legally!
Let’s dig deeper then.
It is common knowledge that this practice was rampant in Gujarat in the 60’s and 70’s and was reportedly followed by many Ministers and senior bureaucrats.
- The Maitri Karar advocates the relationship between a married Hindu man and his ‘other woman’ to circumvent the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, which prohibits the re-marriage of such a man as long as the wife is alive and not divorced from him.
- It should be noted that this was done by Hindus and not Muslims.
- This practice was rampant in Gujarat in the ’60s and ’70s and was reportedly followed by many Ministers and senior bureaucrats.
- Though Gujarat, these days is conscious about its social image and says all such relationships and agreements are illegal, as many as 29,951 cases of Maitri Karar were found officially registered at the District Collectorate in Gujarat a few years ago.
- It is not just “Maitri Karar’’, old Indian customs like ‘’Nata Pratha’’ too allows unmarried men to stay with numerous women with no legal commitment.
- Despite being a legal practice dedicated to widowed men and women, people further customised the norm as per their preferences so any man can avail it anytime.
- These bizarre customs are still in practice in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Abolishing customs like Triple Talaq is no doubt a justice to Muslim Women. Being a woman, I am glad about it.
But what about that woman of Surat whose husband had brought a mistress home ten years back?
Who will give justice to the young woman of Madhya Pradesh who was simply abandoned by her man because their ritual allows him to do so?
Do they have any hope?
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