Millennium Post

Gendered are our choices

The alleged suicide of Fiza alias Anuradha Bali, the ex-wife of former deputy CM of Haryana Chander Mohan has raised all the required eyebrows. Fiza was Anuradha’s name after she has converted to Islam following her marriage to Chander Mohan who had by then converted to Islam and was named Chand Mohammed. They had a whirlwind romance followed by a controversial stint as husband and wife. Their relationship came under media glare when Chander Mohan was accused of deserting his wife Seema Bishnoi and three children to marry Anuradha Bali. They adopted Islam and surfaced a few days later, married. But after a little over a month Chander Mohan vanished, only to be traced in London later. Even before this controversy had settled, Chander Mohan announced his divorced from Fiza over the phone and through SMS in February 2009, only to return to her in June the same year. No wonder the media had supped on this issue for a while.

Chandra Mohan is the son of Bhajan Lal and belongs to the powerful Bishnoi sect in Haryana. Bali was no hanger-on either. She had a bright career and was assistant advocate general of Haryana when the controversial marriage happened. Bali later used her fame to appear in a reality television show too, but faded from public life soon after. The controversy around his problematic second marriage had cost Chander Mohan the chair of Haryana’s deputy chief minister. The couple was not heard of since and had apparently separated. The last reports about Chander Mohan, he has returned to his sect and by all means to his first wife and is desperate to make a return to active politics. The reports indicate that Fiza’s body was found in an advanced state of rot, in her house in Chandigrah. The circumstances of her death, though hinting towards suicide are yet to be ascertained as such since she has been involved in a sleazy and public face-off with her ex-husband, a powerful and ambitious politician in his own right. The police should make all the efforts to understand the circumstances of her death and investigate right into it. If the powerful are involved, they must be brought to justice. But perhaps more than just a case of justice, Bali’s case is a study for sociologists and gender experts to understand how gendered still is our perception of personal choices that are made. Chander Mohan has been largely rehabilitated and will surely make a comeback to politics wiping his past clean, assuming that he has no role in Fiza’s death. Fiza, ostracised, psychologically brutalised, neglected and largely forgotten, chose to drop away from the map of life. That’s tragic and that’s always a lesson.
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