"I speak with passion," says Nafees Fazal, former minister for Medical Education and Science and Technology, in Karnataka who likes to put her enthusiasm into seeing through issues to their logical end. "Even when I was a minister I used to speak just the same way," she adds while talking to Joyeeta Chakravorty on the practice of Islamic divorce law, 'triple talaq' that was raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ruining the lives of Muslim women, and which the opposition parties said was no more than a political gimmick to consolidate the Hindu vote ahead of polls in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.
The triple talaq practice has been banned in more than 20 Muslim countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, but sadly a multitude of Indian Muslim women have been victims of the instant triple talaq practice. Recently, the Centre gave a thought to relooking the practice on gender equality issues.
Adding her voice to the recent debate Nafees Fazal spends her early eveningw ith Deccan Chronicle by pouring her heart out about Triple Talaq.
"Who gave the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) the authority to decide about this issue? Just because a few NGOs registered themselves in 1972?" she asks, quite moved when told about the AIMPLB opposing any attempt at any kind of reform as they considered it an interference in religious matters.
"It is not in the constitutional framework of the Quran and Hadis. Sadly, it is now being misused to trample us, women," she says, miffed. One can see the botheration in her eyes and her tone.
"These advocates of triple talaq, these Mullahs and Maulavis have no clue of the havoc it is causing to the women who received triple talaq through whatsApp, emails, and phone calls. Have they forgotten that despite being permissible, 'Talaq' is the most hated word by Allah?" Ms Fazal said.
Women have been crying for change for years over this archaic law that leaves them helpless and for want of justice. "It is sad how our religion which is forward and liberal gets misinterpreted and distorted by a few.
It's used for vote banks but ends up trampling us, women," she says, as she scrolls down her laptop where she taps local, national international news and debates online, with the political acumen that brought her into politics in the first place.
" Why not follow all the laws stated in Quran in toto? "she asks. "But they won't, as they are just using things to oppress women." "This is not religion. This is just another page from the book of patriarchy and power play in the name of religion," she says. The Ministry of Law and Justice recently in its affidavit, referred to constitutional principles like gender equality, secularism, international covenants, religious practices and marital law prevalent in various Islamic countries to drive home the point that the practice of triple talaq and polygamy needed to be adjudicated upon afresh by the apex court.
"Islam gives utmost importance to marriage and marital relations and has given nod to Talaq only in the worst situation that too after a long and lengthy process of reconciliation. There are chapters which explain at length about Talaq like in 'Surah Talaq' and also chapters which teach how husbands should treat their wives. None of which is followed," she says.
However, Nafeez is happy with the way women are fighting for the cause and discussing their plight with debates in the visual and print media. "The war has begun. Women are fighting and it should be appreciated that women are breaking the shackles of oppression. All we want is whatever equality is given in Quran. We want it!"