Moslem husbands can get rid of their wives by repeating the word talaq (surrender) thrice, in the presence of witnesses. Every one expected him to utter the formula, which would release Maini from his power. However, he sat silent, with downcast eyes. After a minute or two, he rose and, looking steadily at Maini, was just about to speak, when she sprang forward, laid her hand on his arm, and said: “Surely you are not going to divorce me, your faithful wife, who loves you dearly and seeks only to make you happy? What have I done to be treated thus?”
A murmur was heard in the assembly, but Sadhu raised his hand in token of silence.
“Foolish girl!” he exclaimed, “do you wish to return to a mother-in-law who hates and persecutes you? Will Ramzan be able to protect you?” Then lowering his voice, he added, “Is your life safe with those people?”
“Life and death,” rejoined Maini, “are in Allah’s hands. It is his will that we should fulfil our destinies, and mine is to cling to my husband. I would not change him for Hatim Tai (a legendary hero, very rich and generous) himself!” Then nestling closer to Ramzan, she pleaded in a voice of music, “Surely you don’t want to get rid of me?”
He was quite overcome and burst into tears.
“No,” he sobbed, “I will never separate from my treasure. Come back to me, and you need not fear my mother’s tongue. She has left my house for good, and I swear by Allah, in the presence of all these people, that she shall not live with us again. You, Maini, shall be sole mistress of my house.”
Maini was overjoyed by this decision. She clapped her hands twice, and then, picking up the bag of money, said to the crestfallen Esaf, “Take back your rupees; I am going home with my husband”.
So speaking, she took Ramzan’s hand and led him out of the house, while a great silence fell on the crowd, broken at length by many exclamations and a buzz of loud talk. My readers who know Maini’s sweet nature will not be surprised to learn that her happiness was thenceforward without a single cloud.