In a historic judgement, a panel of five judges in the Supreme Court struck down the practice of talaq-e-biddat or triple talaq in India , that has caused Muslim women grief due to the instant nature of divorce, for a period of 6 months. It ruled that the practice of instant divorce among Muslims was ‘void, illegal and unconstitutional’ and has given the Parliament 6 months to enact a new law in its place.
This is a major victory for women’s rights activists who have been fighting triple talaq for years. If anything, the SC’s ruling is a major victory for the women involved in the movement against it. The petitioners who made this ruling possible are Shayara Bano, Ishrat Jahan, Gulshan Parween, Aafreen Rehman and Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan. All five petitioners come with their own share of struggles with triple talaq. The petition titled ‘Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality’ was heard by the SC as a precursor to this ruling.
So it isn’t surprising that literally everybody rushes in with furious anger to claim credit for the force behind this judgement. Top among them are English news channels. A report in Newslaundry reflects how broadcast channels in India have been claiming credit for the victory. Channels like CNN-News18, Times Now and Republic TV covered the entire triple talaq verdict last night by flashing continuously on-screen how their channels’ individual campaigns led to this victory. Bulletins like ‘ Times Now Campaign Victory’ and ‘Relentless Campaign Impact’ flashed on screen throughout the coverage. Republic TV, whom the nation does not want to know, flashed bulletins of ‘Campaign ensures #TripleTalaqOver’, ‘Triple Talaq After Right to Pray’ and ‘CAMPAIGN WINS, #TripleTalaqOver’ throughout the evening. Where were all these channels the last four hundred or so years when Muslim women were fighting for their rights?
Sample 👇 pic.twitter.com/vtyqhIRtRr
— Manisha Pande (@MnshaP) August 23, 2017
And the women’s rights’ activists were eating popcorn all these years trying to push legislations and courts to repeal the oppressive triple talaq, no?
This comes right after the BJP tried to do it’s own brand of credit stealing. BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi claimed that it was the Narendra Modi-led government’s political will that led to Muslim women getting “justice” and not going the Shah Bano way. Not just this, a hashtag #bhakts started trending on Twitter yesterday, when BJP supporters started piling on the credit to Modi for the SC ruling.
— Prerna Bakshi (@bprerna) August 22, 2017
If we can look beyond all the cringing at this give-credit-and-I-shall-give you-nothing masquerade, this does something more impertinent. It derails the focus from the issue at hand – that after fighting against triple talaq right from the 1966 (when the first march against triple talaq was held in India), this is the first step in the right direction for reformative measures for Muslim law and Muslim women. Publicity gimmicks don’t surprise us, but insulting activists’ decade old struggle for a punchline and a PR shroud, especially with regard to a law that has violent bookmarks, is in particular bad taste. Please switch self-off, channel-log.