Abandoned By Their Husbands, These Fisherwomen’s Life Stories Alarm For A Bigger Problem
- IWB Post
- August 12, 2019
In view of passing of triple talaq bill, it is important to address that millions of women in India, in spite of their religions and communities, have being abandoned by their husbands every day. And these men had never given them a divorce – they just left them without uttering a single word. According to The Wire, the number of such women in India is around 2.3 million.
As per this calculation, 2.8 lakhs of this number are Muslim women, 0.9 lakh Christians and 0.8 lakh of other religions. And till date, they haven’t received any help. Sounds intimidating this figure, right? Well, an example of this reality is the fishing village in Tamil Nadu, Dhanushkodi, where scores of women have been abandoned by their husbands.
A Hindu dominant village, Dhanushkodi has limited educational opportunities and here girls are married off before they turn 18, hence their marriage is not registered in court. So, this lack of legal binding encourages husbands ditch their wives without fear of any legal proceedings. The ratio of such marriages is reflected in the fact that 10% of the women who are married end up either abandoned or divorced. How patriarchal the village norms is evident from the fact that if a woman marries outside her caste she is not allowed to stay in the village but the same doesn’t apply to men. A female child holds no inheritance in her parent’s property either.
Living this terrible life is Muthukaraupayi, 52, who was abandoned by her husband 24 years ago for another woman. Since then she has been working as a fisherwoman to support her daughters. When her husband left her, her daughters Amudha, 26 and Selvi, 29 were only 2 and 5 years old. Because of the financial burden, Selvi could never go to school and had to start working with her mother at the age of 8.
The history repeated itself when she too was abandoned by a man whom she married in a temple. She had been fighting a legal case for divorce for 3 years and had finally received a meager amount of Rs 50,000, the half of which she spent on lawyers and official proceedings. After living a life of struggles, Selvi wishes that her son, Nambudivin, now 14, would never have to become a fisherman and would rather get a job in an office.
She has no off days, as her daily income buys the groceries for the day. Selvi’s sister Amudha, 26, studied till class 8th but was unable to study further because of the limited financial resources and also joined her mother and sister as a fisherwoman. Amudha’s husband too left her two years ago, due to his excessive drinking habits and their never-ending fights about it.
But even when they work as hard as men, sometimes even harder, women receive comparatively less money than men who earn about Rs 4,000-10,000 a week. Adding to their miseries is the fact that they have to work late night in isolated areas from where they have to walk kms to reach their home.
It’s high time that the plight of these women is addressed, and the government takes a step to put an end to their exploitation.
H/T: The Wire