An Indian election is a good time to see in the raw what is often done a little more politely, perhaps in a more restrained manner, in all other democracies. Those who have political power, those who would gain it, carefully crafting policies to appeal to certain sectors and or segments of the population. We’ve all got things we care passionately about, others we’re not much worried either way. The trick being to promise to use the things we care deeply about while annoying everyone else only on those things they’re not puffed over.
Or, as we might put it, everyone promising anything in order to buy votes. So it is with this proclamation from the Congress Party about the triple talaq bill. India generally leaves family law to the custom of the family and or community. Thus Muslim divorce law is Muslim, not secular. And in such it’s generally said – not exclusively for there is no one central repository of detailed Muslim law nor custom – that a man can divorce his wife simply by stating, three times in a row, “I divorce you”, or in the appropriate language, “talaq, talaq, talaq”.
Well, perhaps not to your or my taste for who wants to make it that easy to gain another Mother in Law but chacun a son gout. The BJP brought in a law to ban this practice. Congress has decided to oppose the ban. Did I mention there’s an election coming up?
The Congress will strike down the proposed law against the “triple talaq” instant divorce practice if it wins the upcoming national elections, party leader Sushmita Dev said on Thursday, drawing sharp reactions from the ruling BJP.
“I promise you that Congress will form government in 2019 and we will repeal this triple talaq law. This is a promise,” Congress leader Sushmita Dev said at the party’s minority department national convention in Delhi. “Many people told us that this law is for the empowerment of Muslim women but we opposed it because it is a weapon used by BJP against Muslim men so that he could be harassed by the police,” Ms Dev said.
It’s a fairly naked pitch for the votes of Muslim men, isn’t it?
Quite whether it’s a wise one is another matter. For another thing that India does is have the universal adult franchise. So while this might please some number of Muslim men how much isn’t it going to please Muslim women? Note above the main point about vote buying, what is being granted to the one constituency being bought must not annoy another too, too, much. And it’s a reasonable assumption that the triple talaq is as annoying to Muslim women as it is valuable to Muslim men. However much the men value it we’d expect women to be equally opposed to it.
It’s obviously vote buying, this promise over triple talaq, the question is, is it sensible such?