Hyderabad: For some, it helped cement the family bond while for a good number the Covid-19 pandemic drew a wedge in the relationship. Coping with the challenges posed by the prolonged lockdown has had a catastrophic impact on many families. Stories of financial stress, unemployment, domestic violence, and rise in divorce cases are dime a dozen. The horror of remaining cooped up in homes day after day only added to the stress.
The worst-hit, of course, are the women. Domestic violence against fair sex spiked in several countries, including India. More often they were at the receiving end of verbal, financial, psychological, and sexual abuse. For many homes became the most unsafe of places. The large number of distress calls received by the National Commission for Women from victims of domestic violence is a pointer in this direction.
To repair the damage and to strengthen family ties, the women's wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has launched a nationwide campaign - 'Strong Family Strong Society'. The 10-day long campaign which commenced on Friday seeks to highlight the importance of family as the basic building block of society. "Family is the heart of the home. But today this basic unit is under tremendous threat of being weakened and disintegrated", said Asiya Tasneem, President, JIH TS Women Wing.
According to Hamid Mohammad Khan, President, JIH TS, there was an exponential rise in domestic violence during the Covid-19 lockdown. Survey reports indicate that the increase in domestic violence was at a 10-year high record. The numbers are actually much higher since only a few reach out to authorities for help. Similarly, divorce rates have registered an increase. "And this is only the tip of the iceberg", he said.
Friday saw women members of the JIH fanning out across the country to create awareness about the need for strengthening the family bonds. In Hyderabad informal family get-togethers with women were organized in several apartments and bastis to explain the importance of shared family values. The JIH members explained how care, warmth, good communication, a predictable family environment, and connection to people outside the family are requisites of a strong family.
The drive evoked a good response with the women inmates opening up and revealing their problems. "We also cautioned people about the pitfalls of seeking happiness outside the institution of marriage", said Syeda Sajida Begum, Telangana campaign convener.
The rising trends of live-in relationship, homosexuality, abortion of unwanted pregnancy as well as the virtual revolt against all value systems of family and society pose a clear and present danger towards the health of a vibrant society. Restoring the basic status of the family and giving proper direction and support to this end is the need of the hour, she remarked.
The JIH campaign on building strong families received appreciation of people from different walks of life. Brahma Kumari Sumalatha, Kulsum Fatima, a B.Tech student of Swami Vivekananda Institute of Technology, Renuka, principal, Venkat Rao Memorial High School, and Basheerunnisa, ex- jailor, Chanchalguda Jail felt the programme is the need of the hour.
In the coming days, the JIH plans to hold grass-root level programmes, corner meetings, family quiz, interfaith dialogues, International webinar, and panel discussions with lawyers, family counselors, and educators. There will also be daily online interactive sessions with experts. These activities will be organized across the country within the Muslim community as well as for the public at large. It is also proposed to send letters to community leaders, Imams of mosques and various religious scholars draw their attention to this theme.