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Why Rukhsana is today's Draupadi

Mausami Singh
Mausami SinghApr 17, 2017 | 17:56

Why Rukhsana is today's Draupadi

While Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath compared triple talaq to the cheer haran of Draupadi in Mahabharata, the story of Rukhsana explains why the comparison to Draupadi is actually justified.

Seven years ago, Rukhsana got married to a person that her parents had chosen for her. In the beginning, all was well but soon her married life became a living hell.

Rukhsana was beaten regularly by her husband who was an alcoholic. She would dread his return home when, drunk and unable to work, he would vent the day's frustration by beating her up.

Despite receiving physical and verbal abuse, she decided to stay with him because she did not want to burden her parents. She even gave birth to two children but one fine day, in a fit of rage, her husband uttered talaq thrice to divorce her.

She was completely broken, troubled with fears for her children's future. But that was not all. Her husband told her to commit Halala (marry another man, consummate the marriage and then divorce him) so that he could marry her again.

According to Islam, there are three levels of divorce and in the first two stages, reconciliation is possible. A man can divorce his wife by pronouncing talaq (after all reconciliation efforts have failed) in the presence of two witnesses. He then has to wait for three months (the period of iddah, within which time he can revoke the divorce). If the couple fails to unite in this period, the final pronouncement of talaq is made.

If the divorce is completed, the couple can remarry. But the two are allowed to divorce and remarry only twice this way. If they divorce a third time, they can neither unite within the iddah period nor marry again. If the ex-wife then happens to marry another man and they divorce, then she is free to marry anyone again (Halala), including her former husband.

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A Halala cannot be planned in advance.  

A Halala cannot be planned in advance and aims to deter couples from taking marriage lightly, but without understanding the notion of a deterrent in Islamic processes, it becomes a tool to be exploited, which is what Rukhsana's husband did.

She was forced to marry her brother-in-law and divorce him. She then married her former husband again and lived with him for a few more years, having two more children. But things again went downhill for her.

Seven months ago, after suffering years of torture, Rukhsana fled her husband's home and returned to her parents in Lucknow. But her husband then decided to utter talaq thrice on the phone and get rid of her.

The aggrieved woman now stays with her widowed mother who works as a maid. She gets regular threats from her husband.

All that she wishes now is for her husband to be punished for his sins. "My husband keeps calling me and threatening me with physical harm. He doesn't even accept that our daughter is his own," she says.

Rukhsana's mother has lost hope for justice; she wants the menace of triple talaq to end. "Daughters are considered like objects and married off multiple times and even sold off in the name of religious ceremonies. We have had enough. Either give her justice or shoot her," she says.

Last updated: April 17, 2017 | 17:56
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