"Ammijaan aapki shaadi ki mithai kaha hai (mother, where are your wedding sweets) giggled a 20-plus girl as she teased her mother and planted a peck on the cheek of the 50-plus-bride Sadarunnisa, one of the 10 couples, who renewed their wedding vows under a new self-styled nikahnama that assured equal rights to women.
Rejecting the model nikahnama drafted by All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Sadarunnisa, a member of the Hukook-e-Niswan Mahila Sanghatan (Federation of Women's Rights), along with nine other couples, decided to express their displeasure by tying the knot again, but this time under a nikahnama that was drafted by the Federation.
The Federation, which has 20 women's groups working under its banner, has been spearheading a movement against the AIMPLB model nikahnama, terming the terms as 'regressive', one that 'tramples' on women's rights and takes the clock back by a century.
"We wanted to set an example to our brethren that we wish we could ensure our own rights and freedom by choosing our own nikahnama," said Fatima Qureshi one of the couples, who renewed their marriage vows under the new document.
"I was just 17 when I got married and I received only Rs 125 as Mehr but now under the new nikahnama I have received Rs 25,000," said the 48-year-old Sheikh, one of the couples to tie the knot at the unprecedented event.
"I was so sure I wanted the new nikahnama because it ensured me financial security and equal rights in divorce," said Sheikh, who had tied the knot after being widowed.
"I have seen too many divorces and I know what it feels," she says.
The nikahnama drafted by the Sanghtan ensures that 'mehr' the financial right of Muslim women, be paid on the day of marriage with no scope of waving or reducing it through pressure or otherwise.
The nikahnama also provides that the marriage cannot be terminated till the arbitrators/mediators, comprising representatives from both the sides give their decision.
"I agreed to the new nikahnama because I realised that it assured equal rights to my wife and ensured that she would be looked after even something happens to me. I have transferred our three-room apartment in her name as mehr," said Razak, a father of two kids.
Recounting a personal tragedy, he said how he had undergone a traumatic experience when one of his sister-in-laws was grabbed by throat and threatened each day by her spouse before being given a verbal divorce, shattering her and her family.
"I decided this should not be the fate of my family members because I fully support the right of every woman to have a share in property and I am against the triple talaq system," he said.