History of South Asia


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Women are still treated unequally in the 21st century in most parts of the world according to Amartya Sen.. A case of Shah Bano has appeared because of the India’s laws which are personalized. She was an elderly woman with strong Muslim backgrounds. She married to a husband and they stayed in marriage for forty years. In 1978 however, the husband decided to turn her out of their home where they had stayed for forty years (Sen, 1990). According to the law, if such a situation had occurred the husband was supposed to pay back the dowry to his wife which he got when they were getting married. The husband thus fulfilled this and paid the dowry back. The dowry was estimated to be the value of the current 100 dollars. This was too little to sustain Shah Bano.

As a result, she decided to sue the husband to cater for the maintenance costs too in accordance to the law of India. This was in section 25 of the law and was concerned with the codes of ethics regarding the criminal’s procedures. The law did not allow a man who was a man of means to allow his relatives as well as the ex-wife to live a destitute life (Sen, 1990). Other people in the same situation as Shah Bano had been granted such rights. This motivated Shah Bano. As a result, she won too. During Shah Bano’s case, the chief justice highlighted how the laws of Islam disadvantaged the Muslim. This was a good observation from the chief justice of India though he was a Hindu. The Islamic law disregarded the Muslims ex wife. They were not being provided with financial support after divorce.

The rulings of the chief justice brought a lot of reactions. This was particularly seen by the clergy men of the Muslims (Sen, 1990). The board of Muslims that was concerned with personal laws also joined hands to oppose the rulings. There were a lot of demonstrations against the rulings. As a result the law that would apply to the rights of Muslim women after divorce was put into law. This did not offer any benefits to the women of Islamic backgrounds after divorce. The law still exists today. It has made Hindus to complain that Muslims are feeling much better because they are not compelled to pay their ex-wives
This case points out how different religions regard and treat their wives. The Hindus have some respect and dignity for their ex-wives. This is seen even after divorce when they try to pay support their ex- wives. The culture of the Indians however has much disregard for the Wives of Islamic origin that divorces their husbands. They are not entitled to any benefits after the divorce. This has been stated by the constitution. In fact, they Muslims say that their practice is based on their religious freedom. Thus, they propose that in country that has many religions, each should have freedom to make their own laws.

Shah Bano case brought lot sufferings to the women of Muslims origin. The Muslims enacted a strict law that ensured that any ex-wife was entitled to no benefits after the divorce. This also prompted to the Islamic men to adopt such a law in to their constitution. They also felt it was useless to have some responsibilities to a woman that is divorced.

Shah Bano case thus brought the differences in culture between Islam’s and the Muslims. The Minorities were despised. They faced severe consequences like divorce without any entitlement to any ownership. The role of the state in making one constitution was compromised. Each religion had its own rules on how to handle critical issue. This consequently led to politics based on different religions in India.

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