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Published in the 16-31 May 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


Unbecoming behaviour of a VC

The Milli Gazette Online

Consider this a credit to your fair and balanced reporting that I write to you today. I have become an avid reader of your paper ever since a close friend introduced me to the Milli Gazette after her return from the North . I keep reading the views of thinking Muslims in this forum who lament the actions/attitudes of those who undermine the high principles of this beautiful religion by their selfish actions. A case in point worth mentioning here is the case of my very dear friend, and I insist that you bring this to the notice of your esteemed readers, if nothing else but to invite their concern. A noble lady has suffered since the last 20 years and continues to suffer at the hands of a person who continues his rise in the community with the help of his powerfully placed friends and with his penchant for climbing the ladder of material success. I talk of Mr. Suleman Siddiqui, was recently appointed Vice Chancellor of the Osmania University and earlier Registrar of Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad. A ‘scholar’ of Islamic studies who has refused to grant divorce to his separated wife since the past 20 years. She has chosen to live away from an incompatible torturous marriage, brought up her children on her own, given them education and careers, yet must suffer the ignominy of pleading her case in court all these years. Siddiqui has used his clout and position always to buy the lawyers and generally to obstruct justice.The case has had a change of three lawyers in 17 years. Obviously, Suleman Siddiqui has taken advantage of the desire for discreetness of the respectable family of this lady, and obviously too, the gentlemen of the community have been subtly biased in favour of their own species. What else can explain the fact that editors of respectable newspapers in Hyderabad continue to send feelers for raprochment every time Siddiqui assumes a new office? Where is the dignity of a women which is written about and talked of almost daily in newspapers and journals? The ultimate nirvana for a woman that these respectable gentlemen think of is to live in marriage, it is of no consequence that the marriage in question may be at best a chamber of torture. So we have now a VIce Chancellor with double standards, who will head an old and venerable institution of learning, probably chair meetings of women's forums, talk of the rights and goals of girl students, generally mouth all those ideals that we love to hear. In his private life he will continue to suppress and obfuscate justice because he has challenged many who have tried to counsel him in this matter that he will see that his wife is never granted the freedom that she desires, he has vowed to let her suffer the trials of a long drawn court battle. This is indeed a miscarriage of justice. A religion that is so vast and sweeping in it's jurisdiction, so liberal and broadminded in the matter of human rights and liberties, and followed in such poor spirit. It surprises me how such things prevail, when I see my friend in a predicament that only needs a "Khula" to be sorted out, has been allowed to be dragged out in court as 'plea for divorce'. I am myself a practising lawyer and know that Islamic laws are easier in this matter than Hindu or Christian, but have also seen cases willingly and deliberately prolonged to wear out the patience of the plaintiff. Perhaps the opinion of the intelligentsia in the community will make good sense prevail through the forums of your esteemed magazine.

Sema Menon, Lawyer, Hyderabad

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