• ‘Talaq Talaq Talaq’: A bride’s response to dowry demands in an Indian village

    Lucknow girl Mohsina said “Talaq talaq talaq,” on the phone to her husband, Mohammad Arif, and then disconnected it as he kept apologising to her.  The unofficial panchayat of about 500 people that had gathered at the Daha, a village 600km northwest of Lucknow in Baghpat district recently found it best that the husband use his right to divorce as she has already shown her disinterest to live with him.

    19-year-old Mohsina got married to Arif in an Islamic ceremony earlier on in this month. Even during the marriage, the two parties faced issues which were sorted by village elders after which the young bride left for her husband’s house in Bhagwanpur-Nangla, 10km away. As soon as the bride reached home, her father-in-law, Mohammed Sattar put a new dowry demand of some cash and a car on her. Mohsina called her mother, Anwari Begum, to inform her about this new development.

    Begum, who is a widow herself,  immediately asked her daughter to return. She sent about 50 people from Daha to Bhagwanpur-Nangla on the wedding night to bring her daughter back. “I had already given household things to them to start a new life. But my daughter called me after reaching her in-laws’ home saying they were expecting cash and a car,” local media quoted Anwari as saying. “That’s why I asked my daughter to return.”

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    “We couldn’t risk the life of our daughter,” Mohammed Yusuf, Mohsina’s uncle, told a newspaper.

    Khap panchayat which is usually in the news for ‘honour killings’ and regressive attitude towards women had passed a rule of no dowry in the village only a month ago. The Sunday panchayat that had to take a decision on this case was a good mixture of both Hindus and Muslims with a Hindu elder passing the judgement. The elders ruled that Mohsina will have her divorce and Sattar will have to pay Rs.2 lakh to Begum. This is the amount that was spent on the marriage by begum.

    Since Mohsina asked for the divorce she will not be getting any mehr and alimony. Also, the panchayat sarpanch ruled out any marriage in Sattar’s family to punish him for asking dowry. The punishment is not legally binding but certainly is respected by everyone in the village.

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    “Both Hindus and Muslims had agreed to last month’s decision against the practice of dowry. That’s why the village elders decided to punish Sattar’s family,” said Sunil Kumar, who had presided over the unofficial “panchayat”, told The Telegraph.

    Attagirls Mohsina and her mother Anwari Begum, who stayed put with their dignity and did not let orthodox rules affect them!

    Feature Image Credit: India Live Today

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