We, as Bebaak Collective (Voices of the Fearless), are writing this statement unequivocally condemning the comment made by the BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in an event in Mumbai on Friday, 27th October that the party could win in Uttar Pradesh elections because Muslim women believed that it was BJP who could save them from ‘triple talaq’. (See, “Muslim women felt only BJP could save them from triple talaq says Swamy” Indian Express, 28th October) BJP leaders have time and again celebrated the victory of the recent judgement that invalidates the instantaneous practice of triple talaq and the leadership have often claimed the victory to itself, strategically pointing out the silence of the Congress government during the Shah Bano case.
22 august 2017
We wholeheartedly welcome the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Triple Talaq brought before it by a number of Muslim women and Muslim women’s rights groups. In arguing that the practice of Triple Talaq is both, un-Quranic and Un-Constitutional, it is an important departure from earlier judgments on all women’s rights, because it is based on the tenets of equality, dignity and secularism as enshrined in the Constitution.
As women’s groups and individuals we recognise that the current political climate of communalisation and violence, when the entire Muslim community is under attack in India and much of the Islamophobic world today, makes the fight for minority and gender rights an even more uphill task. Hence we extend our solidarity and salute the courage of the Muslim women who have fought everyday patriarchy within, religious institutions and the family, as well as communal forces to seek justice and equality from the courts.
Even as we celebrate this victory as one that strengthens the fight for secular rights, we are aware that this is but one step in our continued battle against all kinds of patriarchal power and the prevailing political order that seeks to convert this into a majority-minority issue.
In our joint struggles for gender justice in all laws relating to marriage and family, beyond the religious framework, we believe that the Supreme Court judgment on Triple Talaq is an important affirmation of Constitutional values of equality, secularism, pluralism and dignity for all citizens. We hope that this will be the framework in all matters of justice for gender and minority rights.
Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective
Saba Khan, Parcham, Mumbai
Hameeda, Sadbhavna Trust, UP
Shabina, Vanangana, UP
Muslim Mahila Manch, Nagpur
Sandhya Gokhale, Forum against Oppression of Women, Mumbai
Chayanika Shah, Labia – A Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Mumbai
Vani Subramanian, Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, New Delhi
Renu Mishra, Association For Advocacy and Legal Initiatives, Lucknow
Kavita Srivastav, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties, Jaipur
Rahana Adib, Astitva, UP
Razia Patel, Indian Institute of Minority Education, Pune
Meena Seshu, SANGRAM/Nazariya, Sangli
Swati Sanyal, Swayam, Kolkata
Malobika, Sappho for Equality, A queer feminist activist group, Kolkata
Shyamala Natraj, South India Aids Action Programme, Chennai
Arundhati Dhuru, National Alliance of People’s Movements
Mamata, Humsafar Trust, Lucknow
Guest post by DEBADITYA BHATTACHARYA and RINA RAMDEV
*Disclaimer: Even as news pours in of Pahlaj Nihalani’s ouster as CBFC chief, consider this essay an earnest tribute to the man who is ‘alleged’ to have beeped sense out of Indian cinema. We repeat, merely ‘alleged’ – since we go on to prove otherwise.*
Let us start out with a basic methodological premise – that forms and effects of ideological mensuration cannot exhaust the life of cinema, or even be adequate to an understanding of the ways in which a film-text lives. To that extent, the ferocious debates around how much or how little of Lipstick Under My Burkha qualifies as feminist material have only generated a fair share of readings. While acknowledging the need and value of these aligned readings, we would also urge a look at cinema’s ‘coming into being’ as something more than an image or a text or a performative medium. Often, in our haste for neat hermeneutic closures, reading a film as cognitive-critical material could tend to a negation of the very relationship between the cinematic object and the everyday. The site of a film’s meaning is necessarily in excess of its narrative unfolding as viewing experience. It lies in the negotiations of its object-world – which includes the plot, the actors, the techniques of representation, the exhibition-settings, the infrastructures of distribution and marketing strategies, discourses around its production and release, celebrity-scandals or pre-release promotions, box-office statistics, publicity routines and review ratings, as well as non-audience expectations – with the other object-worlds of thought, feeling and belief. With that note of ‘methodological caution’, as one might call it, we would argue that a movie like Lipstick is also more than just a story of four women as desiring subjects, grappling with their own bodies to secure the most intimately ‘fundamental’ right to dream.
Guest Post by SANOBER UMAR
The ugly patriarchal politics of ‘Triple Talaq’ or unilateral ‘instant divorce’ through which Indian Muslim men (specifically Sunnis who follow the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence), can divorce their wives by pronouncing the word ‘talaq’ thrice in a single sentence, has appeared once again in mainstream politics. In this board game played over Muslim women, you have two main players. On the one hand you have the ever-so-vocal and self-proclaimed representatives of Muslims – The All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) – and on the other hand, you have right-wing public figures of Hindutva, including our very own Prime Minister Mr. Modi, shedding tears of concern for Muslim women’s rights.
However Muslim women should not be deemed as agentless victims in this plot, and many are raising their voice against this practice by asserting their Koranic rights. Nonetheless, it is important to emphasize that while AIMPLB and Hindutva politics may seem to be polar opposites, the two have much more in common when it comes to curbing or denying Muslim women their rights. The male dominated AIMPLB is clearly vested in its project of misogyny even at the cost of denying Muslim women their Islamic right of longer procedures of divorce, that allow time and space for reasonable consideration before annulling a marriage. On the other hand, Hindutva men are no saviours of Muslim women either, as many instances both past and present have shown – including the recent spates of rape and murders (such as the Haryana rapes and murders by Gau Rakshaks and not to forget, the horrifying Muzaffarnagar violence not too long ago).
Statement by Hasina Khan, Roshni Rina, Geeta Thatra, Shirin Dalvi on behalf of Bebaak Collective (Voices of the Fearless).
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 9870162113
We, as part of women’s movement and practising feminists working with Muslim community and the women of the community for years in India, take the liberty to write this statement condemning the recent affidavit posed by All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). The claims of this affidavit are:
First, abolition of triple talaq is (un) Quranic;
Second, since women lack decision making abilities, it is only men of the community who should have this right;
Third, polygamy is Islamic, though not promoted by Islam, and this practice ensures marital rights for Muslim women, banning of which will result in promiscuous sexual practices or murder of women at the hands of their husbands;
Fourth, the honorable Supreme Court of India has no right to intervene in the religious law of the community.
This statement has been issued by the AIMPLB in the context of the growing number of Muslim women’s petitions challenging the constitutionality of triple talaq in the apex court.
We strongly condemn this statement based on all the four premises.