Recent media coverage of divorce statistics across communities has raised quite a bit of noise against the Muslim community vis-à-vis the occurrence of Triple Talaq. But is this data hiding something? Does the data really indicate what the media wants you to believe?
Let’s first see what figures are making rounds in the media circles and what is being interpreted. Then we shall see what is being hidden and what can be done.
The national media is projecting this matter as a national disaster and an epidemic particularly in Muslim community. But facts are stating otherwise. To a great extent, the media is not giving you a birds’ eye view to make you feel this is big. Adding to that, it is rather intentionally avoiding discussing a few factors which will expose the whole drama.
You will thank God for this divorce rate…
At the outset, you will be glad to know, the overall divorce/ separation rate in India is very low. As per 2011 census, out of a population of 121 crore Indians 58.7 crores are females and among them 29.3 crores are married and among them 9 lakhs are divorced and 23.7 lakhs are ‘separated’. That is 0.81% (i.e. less than 1%) are separated and 0.31% are divorced. Together, 1.12% women are not in marriage whether divorced or separated. That means, 98.88% of marriages are successful. That’s a reason to cheer. You will thank God if you compare this with American divorce rate of 40-50%. [“It is commonly claimed that half of all marriages in the United States eventually end in divorce, an estimate possibly based on the fact that in any given year, the number of marriages is about twice the number of divorces.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_in_the_United_States#Rates_of_divorce]
Do Christians and Buddhists have Triple Talaq?
Let’s see what the media wants you to believe based on this simple data.
|Community Name||Divorcee Women||Divorcee Percentage|
[Data Source: Census of India, 2011]
(Not discussing divorcee men’s statistics to keep things simple.)
Thus giving an impression, though the Muslim community is only 14% in population, it has 23.36% divorcee women. Hence there’s something seriously wrong in Triple Talaq. All Muslim scholars agree that Triple Talaq is an evil but that doesn’t mean you will accept any propaganda.
Look at the table again, Christian women divorcees are 4.12% while their population is only 2.3%. That’s about 1.79 times their population proportion. Who is to blame? Triple Talaq? Also look at the Buddhist figures. They are only 0.7% (yes, less than 1%) in Indian population, yet their divorces women are 1.51%. That’s 2.15 times their proportion in population. Alas, the government can’t blame Triple Talaq! Same is the case with other ‘sundry’ religious communities whose names are not mentioned. They are only 0.66% (together less than 1%) but their divorcee women are 0.93% (almost 1%). Where is Triple Talaq, to take the blame?
What can be worse than divorce…
The census mentions 3 categories to indicate end of marriage. Widowed, divorced and separated. This third category can be considered as unofficial divorce. In these cases, the women are simply deserted by their husbands. Either the husband is absconding or even if his whereabouts are known, he’s not willing to meet the woman’s responsibilities. You can take it as de facto divorce. In fact, it’s worse than divorce because the deserted woman can’t even marry another man. No marital rights, no chance to remarry and no maintenance. Let’s not take names of politicians who have deserted their wives and keep this discussion academic and objective.
|Community Name||Separated Women||Percentage|
[Data Source: Census of India, 2011]
You can clearly see in the above table, the number of deserted Hindu women is as high as 20 lakhs. And look at the total numbers of deserted women in India, it’s staggering 24 lakhs. This figure is 2.61 times higher than the number of divorces. Why isn’t the government prohibiting this act? Why not make it punishable to desert a wife? Which personal law is permitting this? Which religion is endorsing it?
This data is NOT about number of divorces…
There are two more deficiencies in this data. First is, this data is NOT about number of divorces taken place in a community. This is ONLY about number of persons who have remained divorced. There’s a lot of scope for this figure to be misleading. Suppose Community A has seen 100 divorces in a year but by the end of the year, all the divorcees have married again. Then, this census will show the divorcee figures as zero. But if another community had seen 50 divorces but none of them had found a match, then this data will show the number of divorcees as 50. In a nut shell, this data is somehow related to number of divorces but this is not the number of divorces at all.
This area is too blurred to blame anything…
There is another important aspect which the govt and media are deliberately turning a blind eye to. These so called ‘divorce statistics’ do not tell you, how many of the divorces are initiated by men (Talaq) and how many are initiated by women (Khula). They have put them together as divorce. Even among Talaq, there will be many who have given the correct way of Talaq, one at a time with spacing of minimum 2 months in between, after elders repeatedly fail to reconcile. This figure doesn’t tell how many were appropriately executed Talaq and how many were the stupid Triple Talaq.
Hence we clearly understand, this data is not indicative of divorces, the divorce rate in India isn’t alarming, the government shall immediately solve a more serious problem of deserting wives, divorce rate among Muslims is not high when compared to other communities, even among Muslim divorces there’s no data to identify how many divorces are taking place due to the stupid Triple Talaq. So the government shall immediately drop the plans of interfering in Muslim community laws.