Hindu community leaders disagree on divorce clause

Published: October 17, 2011

Some believe there is no concept of legal separation in the religion. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Hindu representatives in Pakistan are divided over including a divorce clause in the proposed Hindu Marriage Act 2008. The decades-old problem of registering Hindu marriages seems no closer to being solved, as the government and Hindu leaders have so far been unable to reach a consensus on the issue.

Those defiantly against including the clause believe that there is no concept of divorce in Hinduism. Chief Patron Pakistan Hindu Council Ramesh Kumar said that his community will never allow the government to incorporate the clause. “How can we accept this clause which is not part of our religion,” said Kumar.

MNA Dr Araish Kumar echoed this view. “Our religion does not allow divorce,” he said, adding that Parliament should pass the bill without the controversial clause.

Pakistan Muslim League-Q MNA Kishan Chand Parwani disagrees, however, pointing to several factors, such as conversion to another religion and sexual problems, as potentially justifiable reasons for the divorce of a Hindu couple.

The government is sticking to its guns on the issue. PPP MNA Ramesh Lal believes the divorce clause is essential, pointing to India’s Hindu Marriage Act of 1956, which also contains the clause.

Parwani introduced the Hindu Marriage Act 2011 on Tuesday which endorsed the already pending bill in the National Assembly. The newly tabled bill contains important clauses related to divorce in Hindus religion. According to it, any marriage solemnized before or after the commencement of this act may be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the grounds mentioned in the bill.

Meanwhile, Minister for National Harmony Akram Masih Gill has called a meeting of representatives of the Hindu community to develop a consensus on the issue by the end of the month. Gill explained that those with reservations on the inclusion of the clause should offer their recommendations so that a final draft of the bill can be tabled in Parliament.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • narayana murthy
    Oct 17, 2011 - 10:40AM

    “Our religion does not allow divorce,”

    What rubbish! Yes, perhaps, there’s no concept of divorce in the religion, but Hinduism has adapted with time. That’s the beauty of Hinduism and that’s the reason why Hinduism is THE MOST tolerant of all religions.

    If Hindu majority India and Nepal have accepted the concept of divorce, then why not in Pakistan?

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  • Deb
    Oct 17, 2011 - 2:40PM

    @narayana murthy

    Spot on.

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  • Deb
    Oct 17, 2011 - 3:08PM

    @narayana murthy

    Spot on. These Hindu leaders in Pakistan is behaving like their Muslim counterparts in India.

    At any attempt to legal reforms (of socialy relevant) they will flash the religious freedom card.
    Shah Bano case comes to mind.

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  • Ikramuddin Akbar
    Oct 17, 2011 - 6:08PM

    Dr. Araish Kuma,”our religion does not allow divorce”
    What does your religion allow, a life long slavery.Yes they will not accept one of the rights and rules of Islam equal for all men and women ,and why should they? if they accept the divorce right how come their vulnerable ladies would be called “sati sawatri”
    @ narayana murthy! is this the beauty of Hindu religion,I hope your religion has more room in future to adapt with time.But please voice with me allow the hindus to have rights of divorce in Pakistan,and please don’t blame Pakistan ,this is your religion that is not allowing you the basic human right to protect one’s self respect.

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  • Menon
    Oct 17, 2011 - 6:15PM

    Hinduism is not a religion, It is a philosophical way of life to live with things in the world we live in as in:

    ” Philosophy is thinking about things in the world we live in”.
    “Science is learning about things in the world we live in” and
    “Religion is living with things in the world we live in”

    This makes Hinduism the most tolerant and evolving social system.

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  • Doctor
    Oct 17, 2011 - 10:20PM

    These Hindu leaders need to wake up. Their cousins across the border in our neighboring India allow divorce. Just because they are a minority group does not mean they should be allowed to give women freedom. All Pakistanis, Muslims included, need to make concerted efforts to promote women’s rights.

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  • gunjan
    Oct 18, 2011 - 3:38AM

    @Menon: The problem arises from the fact that you have limited knowledge of the subject under discussion. What is a religion? Is following a book religion? If yes, then following anything and everything can be classified as religion. Isn’t it? Free yourself of all biases. Pursue knowledge and not hatred!!!

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  • Analytical Engine
    Oct 18, 2011 - 6:40AM

    I am a well-wisher of Hindu minorities in Muslim countries because I’m treated quite well as a Muslim in India.Thanks.

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  • Ikramuddin Akbar
    Oct 18, 2011 - 8:20AM

    @Menon:
    Yes you are right justifying your “living way” but religion is a message that has to be believed and conveyed by its believers to others justifying it’s benefit for the humanity , it cant be simply something that you failed to understand you start it worshiping for example seeing a girl of 18 years that could not grow to normal height and is only 23 inches tall, people start worshiping her as a goddess and shower money ( income of parents) instead counseling a doctor for her treatment .If this is a philosophy of tolerance and “beauty”it’s OK let it always be confined to a particular area of the world.

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  • Ikramuddin Akbar
    Oct 18, 2011 - 8:34AM

    @Analytical Engine:
    It might be some of your qualities that your compatriots treat you well, it has nothing to do with minorities or majorities,Hindus and Muslims have been living in the subcontinent amicably without any blood bath even when nobody did tell them about the benefit of being in “majority ” and vulnerability of living in “minority”.So enjoy your life there, and be careful of any “untoward situations” that mistakenly takes thousands of lives in a single day that sometimes fail to know who to treat which way.

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  • narayana murthy
    Oct 18, 2011 - 8:39AM

    @Menon.

    You are not wrong. However, you are not right also.

    Religions are man made.

    Hinduism did evolve as a social system and did not call itself a religion (to utite people, like exactly what Prophet Muhammad did) because there were no threats from other religions for thousands of years.

    However, since every organized religion is man made, we, as Hindus can turn Hinduism into a religion. And that’s exactly what is happening in India today.

    Perhaps, you also know that the word Hindu is derived from Persian.

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  • BruteForce
    Oct 18, 2011 - 11:08AM

    Where is the most peaceful version of Islam practiced? India. Why? Because of the in influence of Hindu culture.

    If you look closely India has given birth to 3 major Religions- Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Of which, Buddhism has millions of followers worldwide. All 3 Religions take the best of features from its parent ideology.

    Anyway, not to mix Culture with Religion, Hinduism is not rigid, it has scope to evolve. Hence, it is not a Religion in the traditional sense.

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  • Anwar Balochi
    Nov 8, 2011 - 5:16PM

    If a Hindu woman is not entitled to get divorce from a cruel, impotent, inefficient husband, the alternative is to elope with another.

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