Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/476

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440 Some Matrimonial Problems of

we find that in the Punjab there are many ways of dealing" with a contumacious sister-in-law. She may be harassed with a complaint of stealing jewellery, or her father, brothers, and cousins may be charged with riot, assault, mischief, and several other offences in connection with the occasion when the brother-in-law went to them to ask for her, and was told in the politest of polite vernaculars to get out. These cases may not be successful, but they swell the volume of crime, real or alleged, of the province. The con- tingency of the brother-in-law in his rage cutting the lady's nose off, or addressing her uncle or father or lover with a hatchet, is one which is always possible. I will give a concrete example of a somewhat amusing type of an instance of the clashing between custom and Muhammedan law.

One Hassu, husband already of a lady named Khanzadi,. (" the chieftain's daughter"), fell in love with another fair one, Bakthbhari ("full of fortune"). The latter was already, unfortunately, the wife of Allah Baksh (" the gift of god "), but the smiles of Hassu prevailed, and the pair skipped across the river and remained quiet for a time. Later on,. Hassu, thinking the lady worth the price, paid thirty pounds of our money, and arranged that her husband should divorce her. Directly this was done he foolishly returned to his village. By custom he had paid his price and had secured his article. But by Muhammedan law the period of iddat had to intervene, and, before the three months and ten days could elapse, further complications ensued. Either the lady had got bored with Hassu during the period of honeymoon and exile, and there was another suitor in the offing, or her relatives stirred her up with the argument that the man who could pay thirty pounds to the husband might surely be squeezed to the extent of a tenner or so in aid of the family fortunes. Anyway, before the three months expired, she retired to her mother's house. Consider now the position of Hassu. He had paid thirty