One year after triple talaq was outlawed
It's been a year since the Narendra Modi government ensured gender justice for Muslim women by abolishing triple talaq, making it a criminal offence. Numerous women have benefitted from the move since then. Gender justice is a fight that unites women across the world transcending religious, ethnic, political and social divides. It is a demand to correct the wrongs committed over centuries.
Describing western thought on women, which believed Eve came out of Adam's rib, feminist thinker and writer Simone de Beauvoir asserts in The Second Sex, "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman... Therefore, the patriarchal culture surrounding Eve in Paradise Lost, in fact, forces her into submission to the point where she internalises it, making her 'become a woman." In Indian thought, both men and women have individual souls. The right to equality and equity has been taken ahead in India from here and it is for this reason that reforms in personal laws have happened from time to time.
In 1955, the Hindu Marriage Act laid out the conditions for a valid Hindu marriage. One of the conditions introduced was that neither of the parties to the matrimonial alliance should have a living spouse at the time of marriage. It has taken unrelenting fight from women to claim their right to exist as individuals and not be seen merely as an entity in conjunction with men. The job of governments is to provide women an enabling environment to be what they want to be. This was a gender just law. As has been the abolition of triple talaq, which allowed men to desert women at whim without any liabilities.
This year, rather just this month, the government the Ministry of Defence has issued the formal government sanction letter for grant of permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army. The move will pave the way for empowering women in Army to shoulder larger roles in the organisation. The government has made women the centre of welfare schemes by ensuring women in families are receivers of the benefits. The amount of empowerment it has given women in immeasurable. The first term of Modi government started with Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojna because education is what gives people the confidence to be on their own. In 2016, the government extended maternity leave for women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. This was not just for women working in government sector, but also those in private jobs. From Ujjwala Yojana, to Mahila Haats, to the preference given to women in Mudra schemes are ways in which women across India are being empowered to see claim their existence as individuals.
This is an endeavour which has miles to cover...
(Bhupendra Yadav is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha & National General Secretary, BJP)
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