Dear Ishrat Jahan, Don’t Become a Pawn in Triple Talaq Politics
Image of Ishrat Jahan used for representational purposes.
Image of Ishrat Jahan used for representational purposes.(Photo: Rahul Gupta/The Quint)

Dear Ishrat Jahan, Don’t Become a Pawn in Triple Talaq Politics

Dear Ishrat,

I just got back home today after a whirlwind new year celebration with my eleven-year-old son, to find a letter on my window. My son tried to look, but I knew what it was, so hurriedly snatched it away.

My estranged husband has filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. It made my eyes smart and my throat itch, and I knew my son must never see that incriminating piece of paper.

Despite the fact that the gentleman in question and I have had differences for almost a decade, and haven’t lived together for almost eight of those years, I wasn’t ready to let go, and I am not sure I still am.

I have been to counsellors, spoken to friends, family, and friends who are family, yet I haven’t found it in me to let go. Which is why, when you say that any man who pronounces ‘talaq’ three times and casts his wife asunder should be imprisoned, I understand. Your words resonate with me on more levels than you can imagine.

You must have wanted to hurt your husband while with him. And the same applies to him. Ad nauseum. Because that’s what men and women do to each other in marriages that eventually come to an end. And apparently in so many marriages that don’t.

And now, suddenly, there is this void. And no retribution.

You got no time to prepare yourself for a life on your own, you got no time to prepare the kids, and hell, you don’t know how you will deal with your life ahead.

Also Read: Who Is Ishrat Jahan, Bengal BJP’s Newest Weapon Against Mamata?

Let Law Take Its Course

And like you, Ishrat, I was born a Muslim. A faith I practice as much as I understand it, in a syntax that is far from the fire-spewing God we grew up with. But I am a Hindu too. I was married under the Hindu Marriage Act due to a ‘comedy of errors’, but that is something we can discuss over tea some day.

Islam honours marriage as a contract between a man and a woman, and gives both parties the right to call it off. Patriarchy is as entrenched in Islam as in any other religion, but that isn’t something we need to debate.

The courts have done well to call triple talaq illegal and akin to domestic violence. There is, then, a law of the land that will take its course.

A law that has, at your behest, cast aside something despicable, which, despite its violent nature, found social acceptance for ages.

Also Read: Ishrat Jahan’s Life Is Still a Trial Post SC’s Triple Talaq Order

Don’t Let the State Hijack Your Narrative

I know you would want him to be in pain and I know it would soothe your soul to have him writhe in agony.

But you would want justice, you would want retribution.

The fight is between you and the man who had promised you a ‘forever’, and then reneged on that promise, leaving you without enough to live on. It is not a matter between the State and your ex-husband. But imagine the State taking over, or someone other than you, deciding to prosecute the man you were married to.

Also Read: Ishrat Jahan Joining BJP Shows Bengal’s ‘Competing Communalism’

Implications of Being ‘Poster Girl’ Against Triple Talaq

You know how it works between a man and a woman: stuff is glossed over, and no third person can step in and seek redressal of wrongs committed between the two people involved, as long as it isn’t a ‘gross’ harm.

Do not for a moment believe that I do not share your agony and helplessness at having been denied the time to come to terms with such a life-changing event. I am just hoping you understand the implications of what you are now ready to be the poster girl for.

Also Read: Ishrat Jahan Case: When Politicos Try Manipulating Public Opinion

It might give you livelihood at a time when you need it most, you might just be the next Member of Parliament, you may suddenly be led into believing that you are the embodiment of feminine power and the harbinger of a social revolution.

But when you sit down with a cup of tea, or whatever your poison is, all by yourself, think about why those who are using you as the face of their heinous agenda are doing so.

You have, once again, become a pawn in a larger game.

Don’t Further Alienate Muslims

This Bill will take away that option from every Muslim – man or woman.

Do not let your bitterness, desperation and fear fuel this madness. Do not let your personal grief cloud your judgement, do not let your lack of discretion in this moment alienate an entire community more than it already is. Because that is exactly what this Bill wants to do.

If it was women’s empowerment, you would be the poster child for education of the girl child and for vocational education of those society has allowed to live on its fringes. Do not allow vested interests to hijack your personal narrative, Ishrat.

It isn’t about women’s rights anymore. It’s about flexing one’s muscles and intimidating an entire demographic in your country and mine.

Also Read: Ishrat Jahan Joining BJP Shows Bengal’s ‘Competing Communalism’

Woman to woman, Ishrat, I hope you find your peace. And I promise you, you will know, as will I, that there is so much more to life than being someone’s wife.

Best wishes always,

Shibal

(The writer is a Gurugram-based doctor. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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