Many a times answers to pertinent questionable happenings in our world, trouble an entire nation getting it caught up in books of law and order. It’s then the storytellers in all their simplicity and interest of simply engaging a reader into a thought process, who surprisingly step ahead and give us the much needed answers in the form of entertainment.
The recent protests and appeals of the Muslim women in the courts of law and order against Triple Talaq, where the practise of divorce becomes a mockery when a man by simply announcing the word ‘divorce’ vocally three times in a row is able to nullify his marriage to a woman, are objections much in need of consideration this ‘Women’s Equality Day’. This kind of a separation can definitely not be acceptable in a modern intellectual world where marriage is a commitment between two adults who come together with a mutual understanding of living together. When this coming together of the two needs an agreement from both, the parting naturally must also consider a mutual assent or at least a mutual reasoning.
When the Supreme Court a few days ago favoured gender justice striking down the controversial practice of talaq-e-bidat or instant talaq, where Muslim women in recent times had been divorced over messages, phone calls, e-mails and letters, it surely was a ‘feather in the cap’ kind of feeling for the women who had been protesting against the injustice towards them in the name of religion. Thanks to education that such a practice has today begun to be understood by law and many others as a socially unacceptable practice and the court and people of moral integrity jointly have gathered courage to stand up against it.
However, it is not admirable when certain men in our country still hold tight to the infallibility of their religious texts. The modern world needs to implore such minds which are stuck up rigidly in the past and get them to move and be flexible to allow humane changes to happen. We must also not overlook the fact that when such practices are allowed to continue they cause pain not only to the present generation but also to the ones in future. If man’s education fails to promote him towards positive change, respect for one another and equality, it is all nothing but a waste.
Rabindranath Tagore in his short story ‘ Minu’, throws light on such rigid religious thinkers . In the story, Minu sitting at the window sees a tree regularly not blossoming. Since she loves nature, she pleads to her maid to go and dig up the earth around that plant and water it so that it will flower. But the plant continues to not have a single bloom and the mystery finally detected is that a Brahmin priest every morning arrives with a basket and shakes the tree in a manner of a tax collector taking away all the fresh blossoms. When Minu sees this, she pleads with the Brahmin priest, ‘Oh Brahmin, for whom do you gather these flowers?’ The Brahmin answers saying it is for God that he collects the flowers daily. Minu then argues with him telling him that God himself has gifted the flowers and surely wouldn’t want them back as gifts. On hearing her, the Brahmin goes away frowning. The sad part of the story is that he is back at the tree the following morning ‘shaking it with all his might’.
Similarly, one of the leading Islamic organisations in India, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind struck a defiant note only a day after the Supreme Court set aside the practice of instant tirple talaq saying that the practice would not be stopped in the country, “If you want to punish the person for it, you can do so but the divorce will be recognised”.
What can we derive from such an approach, but that such an attitude is nothing but like the Brahmin in all his lack of understanding the one he worships, coming back to the tree and ‘shaking it with all his might.’
When religious people enter the house of worship which preserve authoritative and indisputable doctrines, do they also need to leave their brains behind as they leave their shoes at the doorstep?