Amidst the heated debate about abolishment of Triple Talaq led by Muslim Women Groups under the AIMPLB (All India Muslim Personal Law Board), here’s a story of a valiant 16-year old Muslim girl hailing from rural Bengal. She uttered Triple Talaq to her husband when he opposed her will to continue studying.
In an interview with The Times of India, Mampi Khatoon, 16, said, “I have to get on with life and carve my path just like Malala did. We have to each fight our own battles.” In 2015, Mampi’s parents married her off without her consent. Her father owns a tea stall and decided it was the best for his daughter to get her married in a family in Tekpanja village which is about 6 km away from Mullickpur Mandirbazar, where Mampi lives. He has two sons and three daughters, a fact which might have driven him to take this decision without considering his daughter’s wishes.
Mampi was in class 9th when she got married off and she wanted to continue studying. She got her in-laws to agree to her education post marriage. However, things didn’t pan out as per her plans. Once she got married, the family started expecting her to quit studies and get into doing the household chores. Given her persistence, she did manage to pass her Madhyamik this year and went ahead to ask her husband for letting her join class 11th. This is when he refused and his family was by side. Mampi was helpless and she visited her parents where she expressed her will to study and not return to her husband.
Seeing her ardour for education, she got admitted to Krishnachandrapur High School at Mathurapur, around 9 km from her home with a tuition and admission fee waiver. This was a time for her to be happy that finally she was on her way to what she fought for, until her in-laws heard about this. The flounced to Mampis’s home and tried to humiliate her family for letting her study. Not only that, they also forcefully tried to take her back with them. Good thing that her parents stood up for her, but it only led to worsening of the situation. Things got so much out of the hand that the poor girl lost it. She got up, walked to her husband and yelled ‘Talaq’ thrice. Followed by this stunning act, there was a complete silence. This left her in-laws stunned, understandably.
Quite obviously, her bold move was appreciated and applauded by most of the people in her community. Some even compared her to what Malala Yousafzai did, when she defied the Taliban’s diktat against women’s education. However, there were many people who did question her move as well, given the fact that the law only entitles men to use Triple Talaq. As of now, Mampi is ignoring all of this. Her parents have now understood their mistake and they want her to stay with them as long as she wants to study and to succeed.
You could be on the either side of the debate, but one thing is for sure – incidents like these are eye-openers for people who marry off their daughters at a very young age, disregarding their wishes. They are raised to believe that marriage has to be the ultimate goal of their lives. Miratun Nahar, a Social Activist said, “Under the Sharia law, a woman can seek termination of the marriage contract (khula). But then, the separation doesn’t come by uttering triple talaq at one go. A woman can approach the Shariah Committee seeking divorce on certain grounds — if her husband is impotent, if her husband is handicapped and the like. In this case, the woman has sought divorce for pursuing studies. Even if the girl doesn’t satisfy the grounds laid down in the Sharia laws for seeking divorce, I believe she has reasonable grounds to do so.”