It is hard to identify Shayara Bano as the strong crusader she’s made out to be. Sitting silently in a meeting here on Saturday, while several women rights members deliberated passionately about what the course should be from now on, Shayara looked like she did not know what exactly was happening.Shayara Bano, 38, stirred a hornet’s nest after she moved the Supreme Court to challenge the triple talaq under Muslim personal law, under which a man simply has to utter ‘talaq’ thrice to divorce his wife. The consent of the woman is never taken into consideration, and as opposed to what is mandated under the Quran, the woman is never given the stipulated three months’ time.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shayara has also challenged in the Supreme Court the concept of nikah-halal, under which a woman must consummate another marriage in order to go back to her first husband if she wants to. She also wants to outlaw polygamy within a Muslim marriage.A resident of Kashipur, Shayara got married to Allahabad-based property dealer, Rizwan Ahmed, in 2002. The problems started soon enough. “My in-laws would demand a four-wheeler, and wanted from my parents ?4-5 lakh in cash. My parents are not that rich, I also have sisters,” she said.Shayara has two children, a son aged 13, and a daughter, who is now 11, in the marriage. She alleges that she was routinely beaten up, and that Rizwa would pick a fight at the slightest of issues. “He was too argumentative. It was in his nature to simply fight,” she said.According to Shayara, she was made to take several contraceptives while married to Rizwan, and that made her terribly sick. Also, Rizwan made her go through six abortions. “I had gone to my parents’ house in April last year, and he kept on asking me not to come back. In October, I got a telegram saying that he has divorced me,” she said. She went to a nearby mufti, who said that the talaqnama was valid.Shayara and her brother, Arshad, her strongest supporter, say that Rizwan had promised to help solve a property issue and had taken away the ownership papers of a house that belonged to their father. “He called my father and said that he had sent the papers via mail,” Arshad said. Instead, what came was the talaqnama. Rizwan even sold the house without informing them.And, what gave her the will to stand up to such a strong fight? “I want justice. I felt such a step will help other Muslim women hereafter,” she said.Shayara has not been allowed to speak to her children. It’s been over a year she saw or heard them. “I am not allowed to even speak to them over the phone,” she said.And if talaq is made invalid, what will she do? “I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it,” she said. “All I know is that I’m not going back to him.”


Meet Shayara Bano, the woman who wants to ban triple talaq