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Saturday, Oct 23, 2021
Outlook.com

There's Room For Her

The Domestic Violence Act is securing women their right to a home

There's Room For Her
Illustration by Sorit
There's Room For Her
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Can you live with dignity in a divided home? Where divisions are not just mental but starkly physical? Where bedrooms have been turned into bastions and even the kitchen is split down the middle between hostile parties? When the home is not a sprawling haveli but a cramped, two-bedroom, suburban, middle-class Mumbai flat?

The notion of dignity in such situations seems counter-intuitive, but Hina, a mother of two, does live with dignity—and even equanimity—in just such a home. Her equanimity comes from knowing it could have been worse: She and her school-going children could have been dispossessed by the simple expedient of being thrown out, and forced to rely on the charity of the maika, the parental home valorised in Hindi film songs but in reality an unhappy last resort for so many discarded wives.

Her dignity comes from the fact that her situation, strange though it is, is legally protected. Hina is the beneficiary of a path-breaking sentence in the Domestic Violence Act (DVA): "...every woman in a domestic relationship shall...
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