ISSN 2330-717X

Ban Polygamy For Women Empowerment – OpEd

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Polygamy  (the practice or custom of having more than one wife at the same time by a man)  is one of the worst forms of oppression against women from time immemorial.

While such practice of polygamy rarely happen these days in developed countries particularly in Europe and USA,  this obnoxious practice remains extensively in Islamic countries and developing countries like India. In developing countries,, it is also seen that many business men and politicians and others  have more than one wife and   are not really condemned in the society or punished by the government.  Several instances can be readily pointed out.

Unfortunately, there is no strong and sustained  social campaign against the practice of polygamy, though some isolated voice of protest by activists are heard from time to time.

The polygamy practice readily highlights the fact that in many countries by some men, women are viewed as sex objects and as inferior by men folk and women dare not object or protest, fearing harassment by the husband. Muslim women are the most sufferers in this respect.

Another obnoxious practice  against women in Islamic countries is what is called as triple talak (a form of divorce under Islamic law in which the husband repudiates the marriage by saying ‘talaq’ three times).  Though a few Islamic countries have banned this practice, even in such countries, it is not effectively implemented since, women are so much discriminated and forced to remain subdued,  that they dare not make complaint against such practice. Many women have suffered enormously with their voice of distress remaining unheard.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did great service to the dignity of Islamic women by passing a law banning triple talak practice. At the heart of hearts, many Muslim women feel extremely happy and grateful to Mr. Modi for protecting their dignity by banning triple talak practice. Very few Muslim women express this appreciation in public, since they are so much afraid of Muslim men. As a matter of fact, when Mr. Modi banned the triple talak practice in India, there was huge protest from Muslim clergy and muslim men condemning Mr. Modi and accusing him of interfering in the affairs of Islamic religious practice. They labelled this step of Mr. Modi as an anti-Islam law and huge demonstrations and public protests were organized.  However, Mr. Modi had his way,  since his banning the practice of triple talak is ethical, moral and civilized. However, the anger of Muslim men against Mr. Modi is remaining strong.  

The polygamy practice is supported by many Islamic clergies as a practice sanctioned in the religion. They also seem to think that the polygamy practice enable  to expand the Muslim population multiple times in short period. 

Many observers  even think that rapid spread of Islamic population in the world is due to the prevalence of polygamy practice.

Certainly, no woman (wife)  would be happy to see the husband sharing the time with several wives. But, they seem to have no alternative other than putting up with this distress situation, as men are very powerful and women empowerment is far less than the desirable standards in Islamic countries and some developing countries.

It is necessary that all activists and social groups  fighting for empowerment of women and dignity of women must take up this issue on a global scale, considering it as a social evil and unbecoming of a civilized society.

It would be good, if Indian Prime Minister Modi would take up the issue and ban polygamy in India, irrespective of the religion or caste or past  practice.  In India, this practice is still prevalent amongst non muslim population also. Apart from restoring the dignity of women, this practice would also help in curbing  the growth of Indian population, which is increasing at alarming level now.

Of course, if  Mr. Modi were to ban polygamy in India, there would be huge protest not only from Islamic people but also from several politicians, business men and immoral men in India today, who “keep” more than one wife.  Of course, Mr. Modi will have the last laugh, as banning polygamy is an ethical and moral step and would go a long way in ensuring  empowerment of women.



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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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