Gutsy 19-Year-Old Muslim Bride 'Divorces' Husband On Phone After Dowry Demand

You be you, Mohsina, you be you.

26/07/2016 1:22 PM IST | Updated 26/07/2016 2:29 PM IST
Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
A Muslim bride waits for the start of a mass marriage ceremony in Mumbai, India, January 27, 2016.

A gutsy young woman in Daha in Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat district set a precedent by making her groom apologize over phone in front of 500 guests for asking for dowry. It did not just stop there. When the guests awaited her response after the apology, she said "talaq, talaq, talaq" and hung up, according to a report in the Telegraph.

Mohsina's action is being seen as a step forward for many reasons.

Many women's rights groups want Muslim personal laws changed to abolish triple talaq -- an option for Muslim men to file for an instant divorce via phone and social media -- because it is unconstitutional and discriminatory. It's highly unusual for a Muslim woman to utter the words to reject a man.

Though her action was courageous and unprecedented, Mohsina, however, has to seek a 'khula' from a qazi to seek a formal divorce.

The report also stated that the panchayat that tried to patch things up for the couple were made up of both Hindu and Muslim elders.

The local khap panchayat last month made dowry illegal in the district and now the family of Mohammed Sattar, her father-in-law, faces a three-year ban on any marriage ceremony. The ban can't of course be enforced by law, but it holds weight in Western Uttar Pradesh's tightly-knit community.

Also incredible is Mohsina's widowed mother Anwari Begum's reaction. She immediately asked her daughter to return home after she informed her on phone about the fresh dowry demand. The council asked Mohammad Arif, the groom, to repeat the triple talaq to make the divorce official.

"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," Anwari said.

The decision is unlikely to fully eradicate the deeply entrenched custom of giving and taking dowry, but hopefully it will deter future demands in the district through telling and re-telling of her story.

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