The Prime Minister has weighed in on the side of Muslim women in speaking up in favour of abolishing triple talaq. For this he was roundly attacked by the likes of politicians like Asaduddin Owaisi. And now that we have the RSS wading into the controversial issue, it will assume a different and worrying colour. It has said that discrimination based on gender was not right. “The issue of triple talaq is an internal problem of the Muslim community… It’s a challenge before society to safeguard the interests of women and society should review it closely. The judiciary should take a humane approach while deliberating on this issue,” RSS sarkaryavah Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi has said.
This would have been a convincing argument had it not come from the RSS, which is not known for its gender-friendly policies. In fact, the RSS coming into the picture will give the issue a communal tinge. This should have been avoided at a time when the major push for reform is coming from Muslim women. The RSS has routinely made misogynistic remarks about women. In fact, it was not long ago that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat publicly said that if a women did not carry out her husband’s wishes, she did not deserve her position as a wife. This is one of many such negative remarks that he and other RSS worthies have made about women. The Law Commission is looking into the matter of triple talaq and polygamy and it will give its recommendations to the government. There are many civil society organisations and Muslim women’s organisations that are pushing to end this practice of triple talaq.
The RSS, which claims to be a cultural organisation committed to upholding Hindu values, could do a signal service to Hindus by concentrating on fighting caste and institutions like khap panchayats, which have always discriminated against women. It could take up the issue of female foeticide and infanticide. These are all gender issues of far-reaching import.