The story of Zaaria Patni, who thwarted her abusive husband and challenged Indian law
This is the story of Zaaria Patni, a Mumbai-based woman, whose courage led to the change in age-old government rules. Earlier, the process of passport approval for a child required signature of the father. But, thanks to Zaaria's courage and persistence, the rule was changed.
Zaaria Patni, a resident of Mumbai, was only 19 years old when she got married to a man seven years older. The decision to get married was her own, and the man she married was also of her own choice. She realised it soon, however, that her marriage was a big mistake.
Though Zaaria and her ex-husband lived in the same building with their families, she had never seen him. He developed an interest in her, and approached her for a date. They soon started meeting each other and arrived at the decision of getting married.
After marriage, Zaaria soon realised that her husband was an insecure and abusive person, and wanted to control every aspect of her life. He used to threaten her, and hit her. He even started to decide everything for her- food, clothes, and even the friends she should have. Settled in Dubai, she became pregnant. However, the abuse continued and she had to be admitted to a hospital. The nurse informed her that even a one-day delay could have cost Zaaria her life.
After she was released from the hospital, Zaaria decided to return to Mumbai. After returning, she told her parents about her situation who immediately insisted that she doesn't go back to Dubai. She soon initiated the legal separation process. Now a mother, she used to visit the court trials along with her son.
After legally separating from her husband in 2012, Zaaria started helping out with her family business. She also indulged in her passion of photography, and soon started shooting for popular brands.
Zaaria, however, faced a major obstacle when she realised she needed her ex-husband's signature for her son's passport approval. Her application got rejected despite numerous efforts, and no progress happened with her application despite making countless rounds to the passport office.
She then tweeted to the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, and also filed a petition on Change.org, which gained traction of 96,000 people. This made the government take notice of its contradiction with the Supreme Court guidelines, which clearly state single mother as a legal guardian.
Due to her persistent efforts and strong determination, the online passport form now only requires the name and signature of either of the two parents, hence making it easy for single parents to apply for passport. Despite facing many adversities in life, Zaaria emerged victorious, overcoming every obstacle that came her way.
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