Fight for equality:Women activists want the Prime Minister to do more for women.— File Photo: V.V. Krishnan (SEE ALSO Page 14)
Women’s rights activists ask the Prime Minister why he did not talk of wider concerns of equality
Prime Minister Narendra Modi coming out strongly against the practice of immediate divorce or tripletalaq in some Muslim communities had women’s rights activists asking why he had not talked of wider concerns of equality.
On Monday, the Prime Minister addressed the ‘Bundelkhand Parivartan’ rally, which was seen as an election rally of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
With the State heading to polls in 2017, Mr. Modi spoke out against triple talaq , saying that it was ruining the lives of Muslim women. Though his government’s stand against the practice has been clear, as seen in the affidavit it filed in the Supreme Court recently, this was the first time the Prime Minister was so vocal about the issue.
Ranjana Kumari, a women’s rights activist and the director of the Centre for Social Research, said, while she welcomed Mr. Modi’s opposition to triple talaq , issues of “real equality” had not been touched upon.
“The women’s rights movement has been asking for all personal laws to be abolished. These laws are inherently patriarchal. Whether it is Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Jain, personal laws discriminate against women,” she said.
Referring to the Women’s Reservation Bill that has been pending in Parliament for six years, she said, “If women were better represented in Parliament, these laws would have been repealed long ago.”
Other activists said the Prime Minister jumping into the debate, which was reignited last year when the Supreme Court started hearing a matter on triple talaq , could actually hurt the cause.
“For the Prime Minister to make this an election issue, it makes it harder for the Muslim women leading the fight against triple talaq . They have to fight this battle with the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board as it is and then the perception that it’s a ‘BJP issue’,” said Kavita Krishnan, the secretary of the All-India Progressive Women’s Association.
She added that though triple talaq should be abolished, any change would come only because Muslim women’s groups had been fighting for it.
“What about Hindu women’s right to inherit property? The law is in place, but it is being violated. What about the injustice meted out to women in Muzaffarnagar and Gujarat. The Prime Minister’s silence on these issues exposed a blatant double standard,” said Ms. Krishnan.
Though Mr. Modi did appeal to the media to stop making triple talaq a “Hindu-Muslim” issue and he came out against sex-selective abortions by Hindus, activists maintained that his speech ended up isolating Muslims.
The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which has told the Supreme Court that though triple talaq is a sin, it is permissible within sharia , said that the Prime Minister had given the debate a political colour.
Kamal Faruqui, a member of the AIMPLB, said that if the Prime Minister was serious about equality for women, he should have spoken about a “divorce Act applicable across religions”.
“Using an election platform to talk of social reform is not right. The Prime Minister has politicised the issue. We are not bothered about politics, but we are concerned about our future generations,” he said.
He added that the AIMPLB was “open to social reform” and had come up with a model nikahnama, or marriage contract, that protects the rights of women in cases of dispute or divorce.
Indian Express Editorial had taken a very narrow and very nearsighted moral view of the settlement negotiated by BJP's Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis between Film producer Karan Johar and the supposed non-state actor Raj Thackeray. That kind of 'illegal' and 'immoral' exchange has been going on in Maharashtra, nay even all over the world, for times immemorial. The real justification for the exchange of such hafta is the avoidance of bloodshed. One would think, if BJP will be prepared to enter into some such arrangement with Pakistan itself over Kashmir, to avoid bloodshed. After all Kashmir and even other piece of populated land had been bought and sold by other entities, without the transaction being judged on moral ground. What price Kashmir? who will be the highest bidder, India or Pakistan. Will the people of Kashmir become a bidder? All this could be an interesting area of conjecture, in case India wants to abide by its true spirit of non-violence and keep peace.
Shamsul has unnecessarily brought in Saudia and Islam for legalizing peace terms that had historically avoided wars and bloodshed all over the world, throughout history. India and its Brahmins are not spiritually and morally geared for military engagements. Modi will be working against the very spirit of accommodation and peace if he and his group thrust a billion people of India into any military confrontation, either on its own volition or as proxy of other forces. Fadnavis has open a new mode of exchange in full public gaze. It appears horrendous, but it can be evaluated in wider perspective to take sting out of our tortured lives that we are going through under the new rule.
That’s what India’s soft power was reduced to: A bargain between the extortionist and the artist with state as facilitator.
By: Editorial | Published:October 25, 2016 12:04 am
When Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis invited Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Karan Johar and other representatives of the film industry to his official residence on Saturday to broker a truce — after the MNS threatened to disrupt the showing of Johar’s film Ae dil hai mushkil starring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan — he diminished the fundamental pact between the citizen and the state. The “solution” arrived at, payment of Rs 5 crore by the filmmaker to an army fund, resembles the hafta given to assuage the local bully who has already intimidated the policeman. That there should be a price tag to law and order, that a filmmaker should have to pay money to ensure a violence-free passage of a film, speaks of the times we live in when nationalism is becoming a cover for an everyday assault on civility and freedom by assorted non-state actors. But most of all, it speaks of the stark abdication by the chief minister and his government of its responsibility to ensure and protect the rule of law.
But there was more than one cave-in in last week’s meeting in Mumbai. Karan Johar and other industry seniors had an opportunity — to take the moral high ground, to stand up to the bully, and to show up the cravenness of their government by refusing to compromise with the freedom of speech and expression. They failed, but what was far worse, they didn’t even put up a fight. Far from defending the liberty to make the film they want, with the actors they choose, Johar and Co. have let the MNS frame the issue as one that involves nationalism and patriotism. They did not point out the obvious: That the campaign of threat and blackmail, MNS-style, is not about anybody’s love for the nation. That it is, in fact, about the danger posed by the politics of hate and insularity to creative freedoms. The Fadnavis-led BJP may arguably have acted on the political calculation that propping up the MNS and legitimising its politics would help it undermine the Shiv Sena, which is becoming a competitive, troublesome ally. The film producers may have felt pressured by the large sum of money and the several livelihoods that ride on a film as big as Johar’s. But in the end, for their own reasons, both the chief minister and the film producer have let Raj Thackeray and his goons seize the canvas and stunt the frame.
Tragically, the Mumbai drama was devoid of any high principle, it was only about the tawdry terms of a monetary transaction, at a time when it could have been about Mumbai reminding the nation of the real power of the idea of India. It gets reaffirmed, and becomes larger, when artists from other countries, including and especially from Pakistan, flock to it, to work and to make it their home. That idea of India is made up of the promise of a system more open and free, institutions more rule-bound, and a society more liberal and tolerant of diverse ideas, minorities and dissent. It took a blow in Mumbai on Saturday.
Since the arrival of Narendra Modi, a lifetime parcharak of RSS, as Prime Minister of India, with huge convincing majority in Lok Sabha, a string of measures have been unleashed at several levels in politics, society, and economy to ‘crush’ Indian Muslims.
A cursory study of the reasons for this negative avalanche of enmity towards Muslims, equal citizens of this pluralist, multicultural republic, would reveal several factors that are in public domain.
However, there is a much deeper motivation that drives the political votaries of Hindutva to counter Muslims and Islam, and that could be pure jealousy.
Brahmins at the head of the caste hierarchy have been fully aware of the common origin of their monotheistic ideas and ideals. They however, having imposed on themselves a non-military life-style had been no match for Muslim invaders who had both an ideology and the means to nourish it in a favorable social environment.
Brahmins helplessly observed how the monotheist Muslim, with identical ideology of religion, could marshal forces, create States and use its resources to achieve both a worldly prosperous existence as well as a life-style conducive to harmonious social environment conforming to Islamic fundamentals.
Brahmins, a fairly educated tribe had nurtured deep jealousy against Islam. Even though they admired or appreciated so many facets of Islamic Sharia, they had gone on some distance with their caste-ridden hegemony to be able to bring about any change to adopt Islamic norms in their conduct, or join Muslims in converting Hinduism to a class-less, idol-less, generous version of even their own Vedic based religious beliefs.
Now that through exploitation of secularism and democracy as tools of convenient power-grab, Hindutva had acquired State power, they have ambitions to spread out like Islam, to all over the world albeit with their pagan images of soft power. In this age of modern communication, compared to 14 century old Islam, they do have some beginner’s luck to bedazzle the unsuspecting world with their demonstrative razzle dazzle of song and dance rituals. However, the deeper content of Vedic truth cannot be long covered up and it has to acknowledge and trod the same monotheistic path like Islam, if it has to get any foothold in the hearts and minds of uninitiated looking for alternatives to their failed religions, be that Christianity or Marxism.
Hindutva’s singular misfortune is to fall for the help, assistance, agency, surrogacy and guidance of Jewish Zionism that has a historical world record of burying their clients while making a big hoopla of their king-making prowess. Not universally realized is the fact that even behind the British colonization and its final disintegration, the British Jewry were always there reading out their mantras at each step of the way. India was done in, more by the Jewish British than the British themselves. One can easily pick out Jewish names in Britain’s 200 years of Indian colonization and exploitation.
Specimen of Jewish intervention in world history of rise and fall of global movements are too many to escape Hindutva opportunists.
No doubt, in India over the millennium, Hinduism as distinct from Vedic religion had impacted several Islamic practices that were and are contrary to Islamic basics.
However, with the new age of open societies in the ever shrinking global village, even Indian Islam is opening up to essential basics, gradually shunning practices mimicking Hindu rituals. More so to confront Modi’s direct interference in Muslim affairs! The old Empire is preparing to strike back. Viva the Mullahs!
As a humble servant of Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) I am duty bound to call all Brahmins who have intellectual capacity to absorb both Vedic and Islamic traditions, to hear the call of your inner being and have the courage to read Shahada (There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is Allah’s servant and messenger) and join the ranks of the righteous and the rightly guided.
I pray to Almighty to open the hearts of all Brahmins wherever they are, to the truth of their special duty to the creator.
Islamic scholars and clergymen of all Muslim sects including Sunnis, Barelvis, Deobandis, Ahlehadis and Shias on Monday held a meeting under the aegis of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) and lodged a strong protest against what they perceive as interference in Muslim personal law.
This was the first such gathering of Muslim sects in Mumbai, and comes days after the stand taken by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to oppose the Centre on its affidavit in the Supreme Court, opposing triple talaq and the National Law Commission’s questionnaire on the Uniform Civil Code.
The meeting was chaired by Maulana Sayed Mohamed Khalid Ashraf, president, Sunni Darul Uloom Muhammadiya. Prominent among those who attended were Maulana Zaherudin Khan, president, All India Ulema Council, Naveed Hamid, president, AIMMM (Deobandi), Maulana Sayed Athar Ali, executive committee member, AIMPLB (Sunni) , Maulana Nusrat, vice-president, All India Jamiat Islami (Deobandi), Maulana Mohammed Islam, Imam of Haji Ali Dargah (Sunni), Maulana Asgar Imam Salfi (Ahlehadis), and noted Shia scholar Maulana Asgar Haideri.
“Any interference in Muslim Personal Law will not be tolerated. Any efforts to impose a Common Civil Code in the name of social reform and gender justice will prove counterproductive,” the sects said in a joint statement.
Maulana Sayed Mohamed Khalid Ashraf said the government should respect the position taken by Muslims, instead of conspiring to end it. He said the government cannot force Muslims to follow other communities in issues related to personal law, as it would amount to an infringement on their fundamental rights. “Those clamouring against triple talaq and demanding a ban on polygamy are a miniscule minority, and are not representative of the Indian Muslim community.”
Accusing the Narendra Modi government’s ban on triple talaq as a conspiracy to impose a Uniform Civil Code, Maulana Zaherudin Khan said, “We will boycott this questionnaire. No Muslim will respond to it because it is misleading and deceitful. The Uniform Civil Code is divisive and will lead to social unrest.”
Maulana Sayed Athar Ali added, “The government should not interfere in the beliefs and religion of a citizen. Muslims consider divorce, polygamy and other personal laws as an intrinsic part of their religion and are hence obliged to follow the Sharia in those matters.
The Samajwadi Party’s Maharashtra unit chief Abu Asim Azmi also addressed the meeting, held near Minara Masjid in south-central Mumbai. He said he was happy that all Muslim sects had come together and opposed the issue.
Speaking to The Hindu , Congress leader and former Minority Affairs minister Naseem Khan said, “The Modi government is implementing the old RSS agenda of a Uniform Civil Code and Article 370, but the Centre opposing triple talaq in an affidavit in the Supreme Court. The National Law Commission questionnaire contradicting the government and seeking the community’s opinion has shaken the faith of Muslims in this government. The questionnaire is politically motivated and an attempt to divert attention from other core issues.”
Any efforts to impose a Common Civil Code in the name of social reform and gender justice will prove counterproductiveJoint statement by sects
No Muslim will respond to [UCC questionnaire] as
it is misleading
UCC is divisive
Maulana Zaherudin KhanPresident, All India Ulema Council