The rays of summer was slowly touching the corridors of hope as the chilling winter of chained freedom was fading from Hadiya’s life. A 25-year-old adult Akhila, who embraced Islam and sheltered under the name of Hadiya was not free from questions of the society. Since January 2016, Ashokan and his wife Ponnamma (Hadiya’s Parents) have been waging a legal battle to prove in court that she was forcefully converted without her free will, leading it to involvement of brainwash love jihad stories.
Vulnerable freedom at 25 ?
On May 24, the High Court nullified the marriage, ordered a probe into it and sent her back to her parental home with a directive that she should not interact with outsiders. It observed that she was a “weak and vulnerable girl capable of being exploited.”
The 25 year old adult having no access to the outer world. Her husband lived in shadow of negligence. Hadiya echoed – ““What I demanded from the court was freedom — freedom to meet my husband. But the truth is that I am still not free… I didn’t get freedom.” ““For the last six months, I was made to stay with people who I don’t like. They are the ones who tried to convert me. Newspapers, television or… there were so many restrictions at home, even restrictions on talking to people. And now it has reached a point where my parents are saying that I am not mentally stable.”
At a time India is observing 71 years of Independence, there Hadiya is left puzzled to ask – “Isn’t it a basic right that I am demanding, something that every citizen should be allowed to have. It has nothing to do with politics or caste.”
On 8th March when the entire world was busy celebrating International Women’s Day, some in the corners of discounts flaunt by brands and some in the streets of protest, Hadiya gained her much deserving right long after a battle of patriarchal restrictions. The August Supreme Court in a turning point gave the verdict that Hadiya and her husband Shafin Jahan’s marriage is valid and very much lawful, the Supreme Court, has also set aside the May 2017 Kerala High Court order that was against their marriage.
Some words that mingle in my mind are perhaps, “because you are women people will force their thinking, their boundaries on you.They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go.Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom.”
As Hadiya walks ahead in her life, she leaves behind thousand questions for millions of us. She asks us today that how many Hadiyas are still living in the fear of social restrictions, how many Ankits are courageous to stand for what they love, how many women in this country can speak and fight for they believe and for how long will a women need to struggle for freedom?