The Supreme Court on July 2 has agreed to review a list of petitions challenging the age-old practice of Nikah Halala and polygamy that is prevalent among Muslims as per their own personal law. Last year, Supreme Court banned the practice of triple talaq among Sunni Muslims.
“We will look into it,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said. The observation came after Delhi-based Sameena Begum, who filed the petition, urged the matter to be heard soon, as her in-laws have been threatening her to either withdraw the petition or leave her matrimonial home, reported The Times of India.
What is Nikah Halala?
According to the popular narrative, Nikah halala is a practice that was intended to curb the frequency of divorce, where a Muslim man cannot remarry his wife until and unless she marries someone else and consummates the marriage.
The Logical Indian spoke to someone whose parents became a victim of the age-old custom. She said “Nikah Halala is not something very simple as marrying another man. Halala means something that is permitted by law, ‘lawful’. This means that a divorced woman can ‘lawfully’ be the wife again after the process of nikah halala is complete.”
But it does not happen that fast. The Islamic law dictates that a man has the liberty to marry the same woman twice. It is the third time when the problem arises. “Once the husband pronounces a revocable (raji) talaq, he can patch up and continue co-habilitation. In the second instance too, there is a possibility of reconciliation. But, if talaq is pronounced for the third time, then for a possible reconciliation, the woman has to marry someone else, consummate the marriage and then only remarry her previous husband,” she said.
Now, sexual intercourse is an important part of this custom as only if the second husband dies or divorces her after sexual intercourse then after completing the Iddat period, she can re-marry the first husband. But, if the second husband died or divorced her before consummating the marriage, then it will be of no account and she cannot marry the first husband.
She says that according to many, this rule of irrevocability was introduced so that men do not torture their wives by divorcing and remarrying as many times as they wish. But, this practice has been misused by many opportunists.
Husband for a night
This practice has been oppressing Muslim women for years. Many women claimed that they have been raped in the name of Nikah Halala. There are websites available that offer services of a husband who would sleep with a distraught and divorced woman in exchange for a fee.
Many women are taken advantage of and asked to pay large sums of money for a sham of a marriage. Recently, an India Today investigation revealed how religious scholars charge around Rs 20,000 to even Rs 1.5 lakh in exchange of the controversial practice.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.