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EditorialA step towards gender equality

A step towards gender equality


A step towards gender equality

A Division Bench of Bombay High Court in its landmark judgment allowing women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah is, by and large, received well by Muslim community in .  It is heartening to see progressive sections of the Muslim community coming forward to fight for gender equality and rejecting some of the dogmas which are falsely touted as the will of God by obscurantist who have a stake in male domination. That it is through a court battle waged by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan that the bar on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah imposed by the Dargah Trust of the famous Mumbai mosque has been lifted, it is a measure of the winds of change blowing across the citadels of male domination. The Bombay High Court's observation that women should be allowed entry ‘at par with men' deserves to be welcomed by all.

Repudiating the argument not to permit Muslim women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali, the division bench of the High Court said there was nothing in the holy verses to prohibit entry of women into dargahs and mosques and to say that their entry was sinful in Islam is a deliberate misrepresentation of the Quran. The court said the fact that women were allowed in the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali until four years ago, can hardly be ignored. Besides, while the trust had claimed the fundamental right ‘to manage its own affairs' under Article 26 of the Constitution, the right could not ‘override the right to practice religion itself'. These are, indeed, observations of far-reaching consequences which can shape the future of women's empowerment among Muslims.

Significantly, the Bombay High Court has stayed the operation of the judgement, allowing the Dargah Trust the liberty to appeal in the Supreme Court. That underlines the ongoing challenge that the mahila andolan faces in upholding its case for women's equality. There are scores of Muslim organisations waiting to reverse the tide and perpetuate the domination of males. The High Court judgement is only one step towards the goal. The ultimate victory is yet to unfold. There, indeed, is no room for complacency.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.


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