IAS toppers Tina Dabi and Athar Khan have filed for divorce after two years of marriage. They had tied the knot back in 2018 shunning inter-religious taboo. The couple had met during their training period at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for Administration in Mussoorie. Tina Dabi was the topper and Athar Khan was ranked second in the 2015 batch of UPSC exams. Their marriage and now divorce has grabbed the attention of the entire nation for more than one reason.
Tina Dabi was the first-ever Dalit woman to top the prestigious UPSC examination. Furthermore, she cracked it in her first attempt itself.
Since when did marriage and divorce become a public affair?
After their marriage in Kashmir, they hosted multiple wedding receptions in Delhi, Pahalgam and Jaipur. Many politicians and media accounts attended the reception in Delhi including Venkaiah Naidu, Sumitra Mahajan, and Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The inter-faith relationship was criticised and politicised. Rahul Gandhi had tweeted after the marriage congratulating the couple as well as condemning the government for “communal hatred” and “growing intolerance”. His tweet added to the political spectacle of the marriage. Furthermore, the Hindu Mahasabha had expressed discern with Tina’s decision to wed Athar. They even wrote a letter to her parents persuading them to call off the wedding or convert Athar.
So a private affair like marriage became a celebrated national affair. Clearly, the inter-faith element was the highlight that turned the eyes of many rather than the public image of Dabi and Khan. Now their divorce too is being a topic of discussion. Certainly, our Indian community is far from being normal towards acts like divorce and inter-religious relationships.
A young perspective
My perspective, a 20-year-old undergraduate student, clearly reflects how young girls have been forming a certain kind of sentiment towards traditional social norms. It may come as a shock to many that topics like divorce are being debated in many young women forums. Hence I feel that the Tina Dabi divorce has been dealt in a very unkind manner by our society.
Evidently, both marriage and now divorce are being criticised for the inter-faith union. Claims of love jihadi is also being surfaced in social medias. But how much should I believe these sources? We must understand that divorce is a very normal personal decision made by two individuals. In this case, we know that clearly their marriage was also a mutual decision. The one question I don’t seem to find an answer is-When will our society realise and normalise acts like divorce and inter-faith marriages?
Now, the Tina Dabi and Athar Khan’s divorce is one of the many divorce cases in the country. But they are not being politicised or judged. Neither should this one be.
Malavika M S is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.