Muslim women, 6.9% of the population, 0.6% in the Lok Sabha

Five of the 16 Lok Sabhas since Independence did not have a single Muslim woman MP. Their number has never crossed 4 in the 543 house. In IndiaSpend I look at the question of their representation. 

Nuh (Haryana), New Delhi, Mumbai: She may be the head of her village, but making rotis for her extended family of 22 is still her responsibility.

Hunched over the small chulha (earthen stove) in the family house at Hussainpur village in Haryana’s Nuh district, her hands efficiently slapping a small piece of dough into a round roti, Farhuna (she uses one name),  smiled when she recalled the circumstances of her marriage–and election.

It was early in 2016. The panchayat elections were around the corner and the Haryana government had recently introduced a new eligibility condition. To contest the elections, women needed to prove that they had cleared their eighth standard exams; men had to be matriculates.

That year, the seat at Hussainpur was reserved for women. The problem: No woman in her husband’s family had ever been to school.

So Farhuna’s father-in-law began looking for a bride for his son. His only condition: Education. “He didn’t even take any dowry,” grinned Farhuna, proud holder of a bachelor of arts degree.

Continue reading “Muslim women, 6.9% of the population, 0.6% in the Lok Sabha”

Triple talaq verdict: What empowerment of Muslim women really means

The fact that the battle was fought and won by determined Muslim women themselves should help alter the narrative of the singular stereotype – the shadowy figure behind the burqa, illiterate, dis-empowered and left to fend for herself.

The Supreme Court judgment on triple talaq has achieved many things, but the one that has received comparatively less attention is this: It reverses the narrative of the oppressed Muslim woman.

The fact that the battle was fought and won by determined Muslim women themselves should help alter the narrative of the singular stereotype – the shadowy figure behind the burqa, illiterate, disempowered and left to fend for herself. Ignored by politicians for 70 years since Independence, she is, in fact, perfectly capable of articulating and fighting for her right to be an equal citizen. Continue reading “Triple talaq verdict: What empowerment of Muslim women really means”