Haseena Faras refused to live behind the veil by rejecting the fatwa of maulavis, but her real fight begins now as she has to empower women of her society
Haseena Faras knows how to fight the rabid communalists in Islam-the reactionary and conservative ‘Maulavis’. Her election as Mayor of Kolhapur in Maharashtra is a big slap at the face of reactionary and conservative maulavis who have been all through opposing equal rights to Muslim women in the society. Now Haseena has emerged as a source of inspiration for Muslim women.
In fact, maulanas and maulavis along with some conservative women were opposing Haseena for contesting the local body elections in Kolhapur. Their argument was women entering the election arena was against the tenets of Islam. I wonder if the so-called ‘thekedars’ of Islam forget that Benazir Bhutto, a woman was Prime Minister of Pakistan and Sheikh Hasina is currently Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
The maulavis had issued ‘fatwa’ barring women from contesting civic body polls in Kolhapur. Despite that 19 Muslim women entered the fray and five of them won the elections. This is broad indication that women in Muslim society are no longer ready to live in the dark age of religious
Haseena Faras refused to live behind the veil of religion by rejecting the fatwa of maulavis. But her real fight begins now. She has to bring in more and more women of her society to mainstream of social life. She has to encourage women to become equal partner in life with men and fight for their fundamental rights to which they are entitled to as per our Constitutional provisions.
Life is becoming increasingly difficult for Muslim women under the practice of triple talaq and practice of ‘halal’. They are fully aware and knows it well that in changing world where social reforms are taking place, women cannot lag behind the changes in the society for the better. The problem in the Muslim society is that it is not ready to reform and change. In Muslim society in India, there is no scope for debate and discourse. Anyone trying to advance the point of reforms in the society is ridiculed by the religious leaders of Islam. His leg is pulled or even broken for introducting reforms in the society. It is increasing becoming clear now that the Talibani advocates of triple talaq in Islam are not prepared to listen any argument against the practice of talaq in the Muslim society. Nobody dares to raise voice against the illegal social practices in the Muslim society for fear of reprisal by the hardcore Muslims. Such conservative Muslims on the other hand want that their women folk should remain where they are and should live, die and buried within the confines of four walls of their homes.
It is high time that moderate and modern men in the Muslim society who want to go with the progress and development should come out on streets and support whole heartedly women like Haseena Faras. Women in Muslim society are far less independent socially and economically compared to rest of women in the country. They are totally dependent on men. Perhaps it is because of this that they live in suffocated atmosphere. They are less educated. Wars that cannot be won with canons and swords can be won by learning and education. According to the official statistics, more than 60 per cent Muslim women are deprived of any education and only 10 percent women are lucky to get higher education.
A novel by Abdul Bismillah titled Jhini Jhini Bini Chunaria gives better insight to the plight of Muslim women in North India. The writer has described the condition of wage earning Muslim family where women are second and third rate members of the family. A woman character in the novel says, “what is the role of a woman, cook food, sleep on bed with husband, give birth to children and serve the man as bonded labourer. If you fail in your duty or in the estimation of your husband then face..talaq talaq talaq”. A Muslim friend of mine says even “Allah does not like talaq”.
(The writer is a Member of Rajya Sabha and Chairman, Hindusthan Samachar)