ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Listening to Muslim Women

Muslim Women Speak: Of Dreams and Shackles by Ghazala Jamil, New Delhi, California, London and Singapore: Sage Publications and New Delhi: Yoda Press, 2018; pp xxiv + 190, ₹ 595.

Personal Laws versus Gender Justice: Will a Uniform Civil Code Solve the Problem?

Personal Laws in India present a situation where abolishing them in the interest of gender justice also inadvertently benefits the reactionary side.

Urdu Newspapers in India

The declining fortunes of Urdu newspapers seem to be reversing as major media houses are beginning to invest in Urdu media. Largely catering to the Muslim population in the country, its impact in terms of representing Muslim interests and shaping Muslim opinion is enormous. Domestically, almost all Urdu media outlets regularly highlight the theme of Muslim victimhood at the hands of the Indian state. Internationally, these outlets are consistently critical of Israel, the United States and the West for their propaganda vis-à-vis international Islamic terrorism and adverse foreign policy towards Muslim nations.

Envisioning and Striving towards Gender Justice

The efforts of the secular women’s movement have ensured that the debates on family laws are no longer framed in terms of uniformity, but gender justice. Progressive and forward-looking laws addressing familial violence, a range of partnerships and living arrangements, property and inheritance, divorce and maintenance, guardianship and custody, and disenfranchisement within families, will serve as an impetus for social change.

Do Personal Laws Get their Authority from Religion or the State—Revisiting Constitutional Status

What enables an obscurantist, patriarchal body such as the All India Muslim Personal Law Board to challenge the state’s authority to intervene in Muslim Personal Law is uncertainty over the constitutional status of personal laws, that is, does the authority of personal law come from religion or the secular state. However, what eventually came to be known as “Hindu and Mahomedan laws” were creations of the colonial state following a complex process of rationalisation, rather than a simple codification of religious commands.

Muslim Women: Historic Demand for Change

A number of Muslim women and their organisations are part of the national debate on ending the system of triple talaq. Triggered by the public interest litigation currently being heard in the Supreme Court, this represents a major change from the past when individuals like Shah Bano went to court raising issues around marriage and divorce procedures for Muslim women. What remains unchanged is the position of the ulema and the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board.

Muslim Women’s Rights and Media Coverage

Despite the large number of positive court judgements in favour of Muslim women in India, the media prefers to endorse the view that once the husband pronounces talaq, the wife is stripped of all her rights. Similarly, articles by experts, while focusing on the need to declare instantaneous triple talaq invalid, pay little attention to the rights laboriously secured from the trial courts, the high courts and even the Supreme Court by many Muslim women.

Reforming Muslim Personal Law

The recent judgment by a Bangladesh High Court invalidating the utterance of 'talaq' thrice as a ground for divorce has sounded the death-knell for an erroneous, long held legal doctrine that has stifled a more benevolent interpretation of Muslim law. The judgment though not binding in India, is bound to have a substantial and pervasive influence on Indian courts and legislatures as both countries remain bound to the shared legacy of the colonial legal system.

Danial Latifi, 1917-2000

Danial Latifi, the third generation nationalist who passed away in Delhi last month, was a fighter for many causes, ranging from civil liberties and minority rights to women’s empowerment and, in his final years, the preservation and promotion of Urdu language.

Women's Rights Walking the Tight Rope

THERE are many who believe that to be sensitive to the insecurity felt by the minorities in general and Muslims in particular is to support reforms from within the community. However, such political expediency has willy-nilly lent credibility to an ideological position which accords religious community a centrality in people's lives and concerns. It argues for reforms from within as being necessary and therefore, politically correct. Despite the difference, the political articulation of both have foregrounded Muslim Personal Law. The two day national convention of the All India Democratic Women' s Association (AIDWA) on Equal Rights and Equal Laws tried to break this prevalent mould. Held in Delhi (December 9-10) and drawing delegates from 18 states, the convention was significant for more than one reason. Being the largest democratic organisation the position articulated by AIDWA carries enormous weight. This is all the more important because there has been great deal of confusion among political activists on the question of women's rights after the Shah Bano case in 1985 and especially after the dgmohtiop of Babri masjid on December 6, 1992.

Creating Taslimas

There are Taslimas and Taslimas. They reject what they regard as unfair. Some are believers some are not. But only the latter are publicised, and hounded. And thus is born a stereotype of the bold, brass blasphemist.
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