By Ayesha (name changed)
I am 20 years old. Three months ago, I was divorced by my husband. He didn’t say talaq talaq talaq to me. What he did was to send across a talaqnama in April 2019 that I was forced to sign. This was immediately after he found out I was pregnant. We had been married only for four months.
I went to the Delhi police, not once but twice. I was told to try and reconcile or accept his talaq. No other choice was given.
I know there is now a new Triple Talaq Bill that has been passed by Parliament. But I don’t think that will change either the status of my marriage or my future.
The law already existed that said instant talaq is illegal. Isn’t it? Then how come the police did not act and only asked me to reconcile to the situation. I even told them about how I was beaten. To my shock, they told me these things one must learn to cope.
My mother-in-law, who is my step mother’s sister, told me it is their family tradition for women to be beaten. She explained that she was always beaten by her husband, her married daughter is beaten by her husband and so she saw no wrong in me being beaten by her son, my husband. She normalised the assaults.
Last year, I had gone to my father’s house in Delhi when he suddenly blackmailed me saying he has a heart condition and got me engaged. I was told the marriage would happen only in 2019. But all of a sudden one day, my father along with my in-laws decided to conduct my nikaah at short notice of just an hour in December 2018. I was given no choice.
My parents had divorced when I was very young and both my parents remarried. I grew up without the loving care of either of them. I had hoped that my husband and in-laws would fill that void for me. So even though right from the beginning of the marriage, all my husband wanted from me was a physical relationship and beat me up, I put up with it, hoping life would turn better one day. My mother had got divorced and I did not want to get a bad name with people saying “like mother, like daughter”.
I also did not want my unborn child to face the same situation as I did through my growing up years, with no family to call my own. So I went to a doctor in Delhi and got pills to do away with my pregnancy.
It was only after I returned to Hyderabad that I realised that Quran and Islamic law do not allow talaq when the wife is pregnant. I realised that is why my husband and in-laws had insisted on disbelieving my pregnancy, saying I am trying to blackmail him to stay in the marriage.
So what is my status now? Technically, I am not even divorced since divorce cannot be given when a wife is pregnant. So I am deserted and I have no support from anyone, no home, no money.
Will the new law against Triple Talaq be able to get me any justice?
I somehow managed to get a job in a garment store in Hyderabad and stay at a hostel. I go back very late after work, sometimes after 10 in the night. I feel scared. I am alone. There are many who want to take advantage of a girl who is by herself. The only safeguard I have is the veneer of confidence that I put up, to tell myself I can survive even if neither the law nor people help me.
(As told to Filter Kaapi)