Muslim women in India feature among the communities with the highest rate of divorce in India, the latest set of Census 2011 data released last week have revealed.
The data further shows that Muslim women in the age group of 20-34 were most likely to be divorced, with the divorce rate highest among women of all communities in the age group. Almost 44 per cent of the total divorced Muslim women belong to the age group 20 to 34, it says, adding that the age group constitutes 24 per cent of the total Muslim population.
The figures, however, do not point to liberation of Muslim women, but instead indicate their victimisation due to the regressive practice of ‘triple talaq’, also known as arbitrary divorce, which has been prevalent in India and has created much furore.
The Census data shows that the refined divorce rate – the number of divorces per 1,000 marriages – was 5.63 for Muslim women, which is much more the national average of 3.10.
Meanwhile, the refined divorce rate for Buddhist and Christian women was even higher than Muslims – 6.73 and 5.67 respectively. On the other hand, the refined divorce rate for Hindu women only 2.60, lower than the national average.
The Census figures included about 13.2 lakh divorced individuals in India, out of which 9.09 lakh (68 per cent) are women, while only 4.5 lakh (32 per cent) are men.
Among men, Buddhists and Christians have a higher divorce rate than Muslim men. While Buddhist men have a divorce rate of 3.0 per 1,000 marriages and Christian men 2.92 per 1,000, Muslim men have a much lower divorce rate of 1.6 per 1,000 marriages.
These figures suggest that men are likely to remarry at a far quicker rate than women as they do not want to stay divorced for long.
“Among Muslims, marriage is not a sacrament but a contract, and it is relatively easy to get a divorce compared to other communities.
However, the desertion of women is also a major issue, and it is something that is lesser in the community,” activist Flavia Agnes was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.