I interviewed an alleged office-bearer of the All-India Medieval Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to find out their views on triple talaq:
Me: Sir, almost everyone feels triple talaq is misogynist and outdated.
Official: You haven’t been asking the right people. Have you talked to an economist?
Me: But what can an economist have to say about it?
Official: Plenty. What do you think is the real objective of triple talaq?
Me: To make sure husbands have the upper hand?
Official: No, we’re merely trying to improve the ease of doing business, in this case the divorce business. Just think of all those huge divorce costs, the enormous waste of time. Triple talaq cuts through all that red tape.
Me: Never thought of it that way before.
Official: Precisely. It’s just a way of increasing productivity. Suppose there’s this fellow who wants a divorce and has a deadline for submitting a column. Does he have to take a day off, run to the courts and plead for extending the deadline? No sir, he casually asks for a cuppa tea and when his wife is handing it to him, he utters the triple talaq and that’s it. After finishing the column, he could even help his ex-wife pack her bags.
Official: Why do you think India is the fastest-growing major economy in the world?
Me: Because the statisticians fudged the figures?
Official: Not at all. Because of our productivity. And a sizable part of our population is efficient and productive because of triple talaq. I’ve always felt happiest between marriages, which is why I become even more productive after a divorce.
Me: But if divorce is such a good thing, shouldn’t people have to work harder for it?
Official: No. Next, ask any historian and he’ll tell you preserving our heritage is very important. And if ancient monuments that are in danger of disappearing need to be protected, so must endangered social practices, like triple talaq.
Official: What would you do if you discover a living dinosaur?
Me: Eat it?
Official: No, we must preserve it. Similarly, we members of the Medieval Personal Law Board also need to be preserved.
Me: Oh. But you really don’t expect me to buy the argument that men would murder and engage in adultery if triple talaq is banned. Pakistan, Egypt, Yemen, Bangladesh and Sudan have banned the practice, so why do we need it here?
Official: Well, they banned it in Pakistan and look at all the mayhem there, bombs going off practically every day. Look at Yemen, where there’s a full-fledged war going on. Recall the terrorist bombs in Dhaka recently. It’s all about frustrated men trying to escape from their wives and desperately running away and joining ISIS or other terrorist groups. Ask any psychologist. This is what happens when you ban triple talaq.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed are personal