The Supreme Court today restricted the use of Triple Talaq, the controversial Muslim divorce law, until the government formulates a new and better legislation.
Instantly letting go off your wife in person or via Skype or whatsapp by uttering or scribbling the word ‘Talaq’ three times made no sense and was a social sickness. This inhuman practice was a disgrace to the modern world and women.
However, the judgement is only a partial victory for Muslim women who have long argued that the law violated their right to equality. With the media going bonkers over covering their plight, I request you to stop going overboard in portraying muslim women in a certain manner.
Most people beyond metros and upper class echelons believe in the stereotypes they are fed with about Muslim women being buffaloes (not holy cows) tied to a latch to produce babies.
Once past our prime – which in your understanding is till the early 20s – our Pakistan supporting men are more than willing to sacrifice us by writing ‘triple talaq’ on Whatsapp or spelling it out on a call.
Sorry to disappoint, but this is not true. Even though Twitter and a few ‘popular’ TV shows paint us as beef eating, Pakistan supporting, locked-up, beaten up, veiled buffaloes, we are much more than that.
I work as a communications professional. My struggles include waking up on time, finding a cab that is less than 5 minutes away, getting to work on time, going to the gym or for a run/walk on time, eating healthy, looking groomed and be known as a good professional.
I do all this while constantly fearing for my safety or for being judged by the small minded men in this country. And there’s nothing ‘Muslim’ about any of these concerns.
I am also a practicing Muslim. I fast and try to pray as much as I can. I don’t want any concessions while I fast. I do not take Namaaz breaks during work.
I am always willing to put in that extra mile or hours as I leave my religion at home when I go to work. I expect the same from everyone else.
My concerns are the same as any other working woman in this country irrespective of her religion. These also include my safety while walking down the road or catching a cab late at night, being felt up in public transport. Like any professional I care about getting a good appraisal so that I am able to have a celebratory meal, watch a movie, top up my PayTM and pay my bills on time.
But hey, facts be damned, as someone somewhere felt my biggest worry is triple talaq. Is divorce rate highest among the Muslims? As I said, facts be damned, and let rhetoric build stereotype.
I read about world news and bombings around the world in passing, but do not have time to actively worry about them. And yes, believe it or not, I do not support terrorism and violence. I do not support bombings in Paris or London and neither do I support US bombing innocent people in Iraq and Syria.
But that does not mean I start hating my colleague because her brother works in the US that bombs Syria or any American I come across. In fact, I love the US and have been there multiple times. I love it as much as Israel which is right on top of my travel list. And here, I am not sorry to disappoint you.
With Bakr-eid round the corner, just to update you all, our festivals are not beef fests where we dig into steaks and chant ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. We dress up, get together, share each other's well-being and treat each other to great food. And surprise surprise, we celebrate Holi and Diwali with equal fervor, if not more.
A Muslim woman in India is primarily an Indian woman. My mother, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, cousins and I are all Delhi women with typical Delhiite concerns. My mother-in-law is more worried about her hair root touch up, my older sister-in-law teaches at Delhi University and has the future of her students as her priority, my younger sister-in-law works hard to live independently and would take on any debate for a society that allows us to live it up rather than lock you in. And my mum who worked hard for 35 years as a teacher and educationist was loved by all her students and colleagues, irrespective of their religion.
Honestly, men espousing our causes need to meet and mingle with women in general and Muslim women in particular. To their shock, they will realise we don’t message each other in Urdu or greet each other in Arabic.
If we say ‘What the F’ then alphabet F doesn’t mean Farsi. It means exactly what the F it should mean. And yes, even though my roots are from Lucknow, I don’t talk to my husband in couplets and neither are our conversations ghazals.
Don’t think of me as Muslim just as I don’t think of you as Hindu, Christian or Sikh. I don’t have a bomb constantly ticking in my head.
Fortunately, I have been blessed with friends who are truly cosmopolitan in their thinking and are true global citizens. They don't make friends based on narrow parameters in mind and see me as an individual with potential and not a Muslim hiding her lipstick under her burkha or a bomb under her shirt.
With terms like intolerance, mobs and lynching flying around, we now have an additional baggage on our mind about our family’s safety especially of our men folk. It may not matter or even occur to you, but at times the online rage gets to you and a feeling of fear sets in.
But then how can one breathe and live with so much fear. So we do not even care about what is in the news anymore as we let the strays be. We have taken it in our stride that there are men who need to make a livelihood from 8-10 pm on TV by creating strife in our names. We have also stopped indulging online trolls typing choicest of abuses from a call center. I watch it all with a smile as the anchor and troll go about earning their living #inmyname.
(The author is a Delhi-based communications professional. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)