Tabassum 22 Student | Wanabal
After her rukhsati (last ritual at the bride’s house) in 2015, Tabassum’s husband fell ill and was hospitalised. Tests showed his liver was irreparable—he was a long-time drug addict. “Aftab’s family didn’t disclose this, for I’d have never married him. It was a fake marriage,” she rues. Her father was initially against divorce, which she obtained from a Sharia court, but now supports her. She’s keen to continue her studies. “There are enough people to encourage women who come forward, so they should speak up against injustice.”
Shabana 18 Housewife | Pulwama
Shabana, who’s from a Banjara family in Pulwama, was married against her will to a man in his late 40s. There was no compatibility, he accused her of having numerous affairs. Calm and forthright, she says, “I was married for three years to a man I had no love for. He’d abuse me physically, lock me up.” After the freedom in her Banjara community, she found marriage stifling and without peace. She sought divorce and Nasir-ul-Islam’s court annulled the marriage in three months. Confident, she has her family’s full support and says she won’t tolerate abuse from a man any more. “I’m happy and hope to marry again when I find the right person,” she says. She’s the rare divorced woman in her community but wants to be the change other women look up to.