Skip to main content

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.
The latest figures of polygamy, released by the third National Family Health Survey (NFHS), carried out in 2006, also show that two per cent women reported that their husbands had more than one wife. It found that polygamy was prevalent among 1.77 per cent Hindus, down from 5.8 per cent in 1961.
The 1961 figures – based on Census of India data – also show that among tribals it was then widely prevalent: 15.25 of them were polygamous.
Crucially, while the Hindu personal law outlaws bigamy and polygamy, the Muslim personal law does not. AIMPLB said in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, "Quran, Hadith and the consensus view allow Muslim men to have up to four wives", adding, while Islam permits polygamy, it does not encourage it.”
"Since polygamy is endorsed by primary Islamic sources, it cannot be dubbed as something prohibited. Where women outnumber men and polygamy is not permitted, women will be forced into leading spinster's life”, AIMPLB said.
Contrary to the AIMPLB, the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has said, the Muslim community needs to have a law against polygamy, to move towards a society that treats women with dignity and equality. But BMMA also said, “We don't imagine that just passing the laws mean things will change. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for proper grassroots activism.”
A paper based on NFHS data on the subject said, “In modern times, a person is bound by the marriage laws laid down by their religion and have to be adhered to and any deviation from the norms are considered to be illegal. Until recently, no scientific data also was available at the national or regional level to assess whether polygamy is still practiced or is non-existent.”
It added, “For the first time data required to study and understand such marriage practices was collected as part of the 2005-06 NFHS. Data was collected from both women and men – women were asked a direct question whether besides herself, her husband had other wives and men were asked if they currently have one wife or more than one wife.”
The paper said, “Preliminary analysis of this data reveals some interesting findings on this aspect of marriage. In India as a whole, two percent of women reported that their husband had other wives besides herself. Urban-rural differentials are marginal (1.5% in urban areas and 2% in rural areas).
“Husbands older than women, women with less education are more likely to have multiple wives than husband’s of younger women and women with higher levels of education. Spouses of women age less than 30 have about 1.35 partners whereas husband’s of women age 30 or more have 2.22 to 2.51 partners”, the paper said.
It added, “One interesting finding is that women across religious groups – Hindu (1.77 partners), Muslim (2.55 partners), Christian (2.35 partners), Buddhist (3.41 partners) have reported that their husbands have multiple wives. It is more common for husbands of women belonging to scheduled castes and tribes to have multiple wives than women belonging to other caste/tribe groups.”
“Differentials in this characteristic are not only by background characteristics of the women but also a clear regional variation emerges from the findings of the survey”, the paper said, adding, “Polygamy is more prevalent in the Eastern (2.11 partners), Northeastern (3.20 partners) and Southern (3.02 partners) regions.”
It further said, “In the northern and central regions, it is non-existent as the women from these regions have reported their husbands to be having only one partner on an average.”
“The general thought in India is that marriage is practiced mainly for progeny, i.e., to have children to continue the lineage. Also, we need to understand marriage practices in the context of strong son preference that exist in most parts of India”, the paper said.
It added, “The data clearly shows that husband’s of women with no children are more likely to have multiple wives (2.51 partners) than women who have at least one child (1.80 partners).”

Comments

There is an anecdote about understanding. A professor was taking a biology class. It was about dissection of a frog. The prof cut one leg of the frog and said 'jump'. The frog managed to jump on its three legs. Then two and then one. After cuttings its fourth leg when the prof said jump it couldn't. He asked the students what they understood and one of them promptly replied 'if all four legs of a frog are cut then the frog will not be able to hear'!

I am reminded of this anecdote on reading the following parts of this report.

“In the northern and central regions, it is non-existent as the women from these regions have reported their husbands to be having only one partner on an average.”

“Husbands older than women, women with less education are more likely to have multiple wives than husband’s of younger women and women with higher levels of education...'

It is similar statistics that say that the literacy levels in northern and central regions are very poor. So how does the first part linking literacy to polygamy compare with the second part?
This report also highlights the following facts:

1. The law is an ass. It has no business to permit polygamy amoung muslims when banning it for others.

2. The people are not asses. They do not take such biased laws seriously.

3. The law enforcers are asses as they are seen unable to enforce the laws!
Anonymous said…
Continuous debates are being held about Polygamy In Islam, saying that Muslims can Mary more than one wife deliberately. Actually what Quran says regarding this is, in Sura an-Nisa Chapter 4 Verse 3, Indirectly Islam discourages men to marry multiple wives as it is clearly mentioned if you can do justice to all, only then it is allowed

TRENDING

You promised 50 lakh houses, give us one: Ahmedabad migrant women's plea to Modi

Women display letters containing rakhi for PM    By Hirabhai Solanki, Bhartiben Dantani, Ramesh Shrivastav*  Poor labouring families, including seasonal or long-term migrants of nearly 15 squatter settlements -- working as construction and casual workers and petty vendors, providing cheap but critically important labour for Ahmedabad city, living under plastic sheetings -- have reminded the Gujarat and Central Governments about the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of building 50 lakh dwellings, wherein every pavement dweller and homeless would be given a decent home by the end of 2022. Holding a meeting in Ahmedabad under the aegis of the Majur Adhikaar Manch, they also referred to the appeal of the Prime Minister to poor and labouring women, seeking his support as brother by sending rakhis to protect their humble basti dwellings and provide them with decent housing, which is secure for them and their families. So far, about 300 women have posted rakhis to the Prime Ministe

Kailash Satyarthi NGO floats new centre in Delhi to 'empower' underprivileged children

By Our Representative  A voluntary organisation linked with Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi-supported NGO has floated a unique children’s resource centre at Sanjay Camp, Chankyapuri, New Delhi, in order to facilitate in imparting remedial education, recreational training and holistic development of children of around 2,500 under-privileged slum-dwelling families. Virender Singh Kadian, MLA of Delhi Cantonment, inaugurated the centre, which is called Shaheed Kalu Bal Vikas Kendra. The resource centre is in memory of Kalu Kumar, who died at an young age serving and working towards the development of under-privileged children, said an NGO source. A firebrand activist, Kalu Kumar was trafficked from Bihar to the carpet manufacturing belt of Allahabad when he was six. He was rescued by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan at the age of 10. A bright student, Kalu he covered up the lost ground very quickly and grew up to become a leader fighting for the rights of other child slaves at Bal Ashram. In

A countdown to disaster: Breach in fly-ash bunds of Nagpur's thermal power plants

Fly-ash dyke, Koradi thermal power plant  By Dhwani Shah, Deepmala Patel*  Last month the residents of several villages of Nagpur district woke up to the nightmare of being inundated with fly-ash. Located in the north of Nagpur city are Koradi and Khaparkheda thermal power stations which have their ash dykes in the vicinity. On July 10, 2022 at 3 am, the ash dyke of the Khaparkheda thermal power station broke, leading to ash contaminating the Kanhan river. Though the authorities claimed to have acted quickly and the fly ash dumping in the river was stopped, the claim stood to be misleading and false. Even today, the Kanhan river continues to be polluted with fly-ash, and the water supply to the city is affected. Not only did ash dyke of the Khaparkheda power station break, on July 16, 2022, the ash bund of the Koradi thermal power plant also broke. Fly-ash and water stored in the dyke gushed downstream to six villages -- drowning houses, water bodies and farmlands. With such large-

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Multi-crore NRC updation scam? Awaited: Assam media's self-cleaning mechanism

By Nava Thakuria  If some editor-journalists are allegedly involved in a financial scam, shouldn't the people get an opportunity to identify them? As the mainstream newspapers and news channels of Assam are avoiding the issue in their coverage, how come the actual picture will come to the public domain? If the mainstream media outlets intentionally kill the news, reasons best known to the editors, should the social media users take a lead? By now a number of senior journalists (with experience in print journalism for many decades) have highlighted the issue in social media. Their message is loud and clear- identify the corrupt television journalists who grabbed a huge amount of money which is actually meant for thousands of Assamese professionals. It all began when a second first information report (FIR) was filed by the outgoing State coordinator of National Register of Citizens (NRC) against his predecessor alleging corruption and money laundering while updating the 1951 NRC in A

US rights groups claim 'continued violation' of basic freedoms in J&K since August 2019

By Our Representative  Top US-based non-profit, Human Rights Watch (HRW), headquartered in New York, and the Washington DC-based Indian diaspora group, Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), recalling the abrogation of Article 370 three years ago, have taken strong exception to "continued restrictions" on free expression, peaceful assembly, and other basic rights in Jammu and Kashmir. Claiming that after revoking the region’s special autonomous status on August 5, 2019, the government’s “repressive policies and failure to investigate and prosecute alleged security force abuses have increased insecurity among Kashmiris”, in a statement, HRW said, “The government action was accompanied by serious rights violations including arbitrary detention of hundreds of people, a total communications blackout, and severe restrictions on freedom of movement and peaceful assembly.” It added, “Since then, the authorities have released many of the detainees and restored the internet, but have

Why global recession is 'big threat' to India, despite Nirmala Sitharaman’s bravado

By Prasanna Mohanty*  It would be imprudent to assume that a global recessionary trend will bypass India. In fact, a day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman categorically ruled out the possibility of recession and stagflation (with high unemployment and high inflation India is technically witnessing stagflation) hitting India in her responses to the Parliament earlier in the week, Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam dropped a bomb shell. He released latest trade data showing fast deteriorating trends. The data showed, in July 2022, exports fell to five-month low of $35.2 billion and imports sequentially increased to $66 billion. The details revealed a fall in seven of top 10 export items: engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, pharmaceuticals, readymade garments, cotton yarn and plastics. All this happened, Subrahmanyam acknowledged, due to the growing recessionary trends in developed countries and elevated commodity prices. The trade deficit (merchandise g

Bangladeshi women crossing borders: Demand to sensitise cops, BSF personnel

Counterview Desk  Bringing more instances of how the security personnel along the borders in West Bengal refuse to probe the human trafficking angle while arresting Bangladeshi women, human rights leader Kirity Roy has said, they are treated as accused in violation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh on Bilateral Cooperation for Preventing of Human Trafficking, especially trafficking in Women and Children. In a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, said, “The victims should be immediately repatriated to their own country and the criminal charges against them must be withdrawn at the earliest”, insisting, “The matters must be handled by the police or the BSF personnel with a human approach.” Text: I am writing this complaint regarding det

A tale of horror and fraud: Profits in trillions of dollars for vaccine manufacturers?

By Aruna Rodrigues*  John Leake is a best-selling and “experienced non-fiction, true crime author”. Having just read what must be described as an extraordinary ‘telling’ of the Covid-19 saga, his book “The Courage to Face Covid-19: Preventing Hospitalization and Death While Battling the Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex”, co-authored with Peter A McCullough, MD, MPH, is the narration of true crime on a scale that could top the list in the history of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. The book chronicles the unique role of national governments across the world and their health agencies, led by the USA and WHO, which followed an agenda that led to completely avoidable fatalities numbering several million. The question is why? The usual culprits are money and power. But to ascribe cause to these two is woefully insufficient. The sheer magnitude of the ‘dark agenda’ – coordinated and played out by governments, health agencies, the medical establishment (hospitals, doctors and chemists) and the massive a

Draft notification: MoEF&CC should 'critically protect' eco-sensitive Western Ghats

Counterview Desk  In a detailed representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Shankar Sharma, power and climate policy analyst, commentin on the draft gazette notification of the MoEF&CC dated July 6, 2022 on the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) of the Western Ghats (WGs), has said that the political class, having vested interests in Karnataka, has been opposing such a move for many years. Stating that there is no “rational basis to do so”, and stating that the opponents do not even seem to have even read the recommendations of Dr Kasturi Rangan committee report or the actual draft notification itself, Sharma underscores, the only aim of the vested interests, who have “unauthorisedly occupied massive pieces of forest lands”, to continue to do on in near. “These vested interests are continuing to be ignorant of the fact that Western Ghats not only harbour rich biodiversity of critical importance to our people, but also support