Tuesday October 24, 2017
Home Opinion Why Uniform C...

Why Uniform Civil Code is a must

0
150

Man made religion, a set of moral principles and ethical guidelines so that he could evolve into a better human being with the passage of time. In fact, a religious man would be considered cultured and highbrow. But every society needs some kind of reform with time (duh), for what was considered alright hundreds of years ago might not be desirable today.

For instance, in 12th century orthodox Christians would burn people alive at the stake so as to combat ‘heresy’. In ancient India, a Hindu widow would be compelled to immolate herself on her husband’s pyre under an obsolete funeral system, namely Sati. This savagery shockingly continued for several hundred years. The practice was in fact initially legalized by the colonial British officials specifying conditions when Sati was allowed.

Needless to mention, the real place of these barbaric, inhuman practices was in the dustbins of history and this is where they rest now.

However, would it have been possible if the society had refused to reform itself and evolve?

No religion in this world is perfect. Remember it was made by ‘man’ keeping in mind the ‘needs of the man’. The woman’s real place was in the kitchen, as a sexual object and slave, serving those needs of men, with no right to inheritance and property. She was supposed to quietly acquiesce to her husband’s multiple marriages, burn herself to death when he died and accept divorce on trivial grounds when her spouse uttered the word ‘Talaq’ thrice. How easy is it for some to break the nuptial bond and abandon their consorts at the drop of a hat? Talaq, talaq, talaq – that’s it.

Article 44 of the Constitution, which is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy, says: “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

Polygamy could be a good thing for men, but for women it could have disastrous consequences. Imagine the plight of women who live on the whims and fancies of men with no protection from courts of law and society.

Men have two potent weapons in their hands thanks to their religious laws. First, they can marry up to four women as their Holy book allows it. Second, getting rid of their wives is duck soup for them thanks to the ‘Triple Talaq’ practice. And when the hapless women knock on the door of the courts for justice, the latter express their inability to provide succor to them citing the absence of a Uniform Civil Code.

With regard to polygamy, the Holy Quran states there are conditions that must be met, including treating each wife with justice, fairness and equality. But, who is going to ensure that the men do not misuse the rights granted to them? There have even been cases in India when Hindu men converted to Islam because it allowed them to commit bigamy.

Besides causing financial woes to the women, polygamy also makes them suffer from negative emotions like neglect, jealousy, depression, angry tantrums or even illnesses. This completely goes against the principles of gender equality. But when it comes to women’s rights the situation is more or less the same in the world.

Even the Constitution of the United States says, “All men are born equal,” while maintaining a conspicuous silence about the social status of the women. Therefore, seeking gender equality by doing away with discriminatory, obsolete social customs should not be seen as an attempt to curtail one’s religious freedom. Verily, we all should aim for equality for all human beings irrespective of their caste, creed, sex, religion and colour.

But this is not what happens in India when the issue of Uniform Civil Code i.e. a common set of laws governing personal matters for all citizens of the country, irrespective of religion, is raised. Currently, different laws regulate these aspects for adherents of different religions. All of these Hindu, Muslim, Christian laws need urgent reforms in view of rampant discrimination against women.

In fact, Article 44 of the Constitution, which is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy, says:

“The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

So, when the Gujarat high court made a strong pitch for a uniform civil code on Thursday, calling for the abolition of polygamy in Muslim society in India as it’s a “heinously patriarchal” act, an apparently agitated Muslim friend of mine commented thus on Facebook.

“Muslims are polygamous. Keepers of four wives. Violators of human rights. Right? Despite being this, Muslims don’t have a widows’ Vindavan.”

First of all, this is not about your ‘religion versus my religion’. This is about women’s rights, gender equality, and humanity. When we say bring in the Uniform Civil Code, one must note the common law would be applicable on every Indian, irrespective of his or her religion. So where is the scope of religious discrimination?

Defending polygamy is akin to professing bigotry and misogyny. This is what Gujarat HC Justice JB Pardiwala said while adjudicating on a petition by a Muslim man who faced bigamy charges after marrying for a second time without his first wife’s consent.

“On the basis of modern progressive thinking, India must shun the practice (of polygamy) and establish a uniform civil code,” Justice Pardiwala said.

“If the state tolerates this law, it becomes an accomplice in the discrimination of the female, which is illegal under its own laws,” the judge said, adding that, “It’s for the maulvis and Muslim men to ensure that they do not abuse the Quran to justify the heinously patriarchal act of polygamy in self-interest… The Quran allowed conditional polygamy to protect orphans and their mothers from an exploitative society. But when men use that provision today, they do it for a selfish reason.”

 

One might be tempted to ask how a judge could question what’s written in a Holy book and call polygamy a punishable act. But what’s wrong in raising questions? What’s the harm in having a meaningful debate when what at stake are gender equality and women’s rights? Men cannot be allowed to continue inflicting injustice on women taking the shelter of their religion.

The idea is to protect the rights of the vulnerable sections of the society by having a common law for all citizens irrespective of their religions. Seeking gender equality does not tantamount to religious discrimination and appeasing Mullahs and Sadhus is not secularism.

Religion and state, both, need to work out ways to evolve from certain practices which were relevant at one point in time, however, rendered useless and socially insensitive to the citizenry at present. Religion has to be socially inclusive and it must address issues that divide, discriminate or inflict pain on a particular section, in this case, women. The state cannot be a mute spectator anymore to injustices meted out to women, children and minorities. It has to step up to the plate.

It’s time we understood this fact to a T.

Next Story

Asia Cup : India Emerge Champions for third time, Beat Malaysia in Asia Cup Hockey Championship

India emerged victorious for the third time

0
17
asia cup
(representational Image) India vs Malaysia Hockey Match wikimedia

Dhaka, October 22, 2017 : India overcame Malaysia 2-1 in the final on Sunday to win the Asia Cup hockey championship for the third time.

Ramandeep Singh (3rd minute) and Lalit Upadhyay (29th) scored for India. Shahril Saabah (50th minute) scored the reducer for Malaysia. (IANS)

Next Story

3 Ahmadi Men Sentenced to Death in Pakistan on Charges of Blasphemy; Minority Communities are increasingly facing the Heat in the Country

“Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan. Rights groups say the controversial blasphemy law has often been abused to settle personal vendettas and disputes.

0
8
Pakistan-protest
Pakistani students of Islamic seminaries take part in a rally in support of blasphemy laws in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Hundreds of students of Islamic seminaries rallied in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, urging government to remove blasphemous content from social media and take stern action against those who posted blasphemous content on social media to hurt sentiments of Muslims. The placards, in center, in Urdu language are reading as "Authorized Institutions immediately take action on the incidents of blasphemy and remove blasphemous content on social media". (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed) (VOA)

Washington, October 15, 2017: A court in Pakistan’s Punjab province has sentenced three men of a minority religious group to death on charges of violating the country’s controversial blasphemy law.

Mubasher Ahmad, Ghulam Ahmed and Ehsan Ahmed were found guilty and convicted by the trial court Wednesday for insulting the prophet of Islam.

The men were tried under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s penal code, commonly referred to as the blasphemy law, which recommends either life imprisonment or the death penalty for anyone found guilty of deliberately insulting Islam.

The men were arrested in May 2014 in a remote village in Punjab province after residents filed a complaint with the police and accused the defendants of tearing down a religious poster.

Four men were arrested at the time. The fourth man, Khalil Ahmad, was shot dead by an angry man while in police custody just a few days after the incident.

Saleemuddin, a spokesperson for the Ahmadi community, told VOA that the charges against the defendants and the court’s verdict were unfair.

“The convicted men were trying to take down a poster, which had anti-Ahmadi slogans and text that urged the community to socially boycott the already persecuted Ahmadi community,” Saleemuddin said.

“We will challenge the trial court’s decision in high court,” he added.

Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims, but Pakistan’s state does not recognize them as such and labels them heretics. There are more than a half-million Ahmadis living in Pakistan under the constant threat of persecution.

The Ahmadi community “is one of the most mistreated communities in the country. They have had been a target of blasphemous charges, sectarian violence and target killings,” said Mehdi Hasan, a prominent human rights activist in Pakistan.

ALSO READ Military Dictatorship Always Halted Progress in Pakistan, says Pakistan Prime Minister

Ahmadis ‘a threat’

The death sentence for the three individuals came just a few days after Muhammad Safdar, a prominent member of the ruling party and son-in-law of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, publicly denounced Ahmadi community members as a threat to Pakistan and urged the country’s institutions not to hire them in the military or the civil service.

Safdar’s remarks stirred a debate in the country on the issue of minorities and their rights.

Pakistan Minister of the Interior Ahsan Iqbal, without mentioning Safdar by name, denounced the anti-minority rhetoric coming from politicians.

“It is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly. We believe in inclusive Pakistan. Pakistan respects all minorities,” Iqbal said in a tweet.

Abuse of law

“Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan. We’ve seen several incidents where angry mobs killed those accused of committing blasphemy without giving them a right to face the trial,” human rights activist Hasan told VOA.

Rights groups say the controversial blasphemy law has often been abused to settle personal vendettas and disputes. Due process is often ceremonial, the rights activists add, and decisions are often informed by the growing religious intolerance in the country.

Even if courts do drop charges against defendants, mobs and local residents attack them, and law enforcement authorities look the other way in most cases, the activists charge.

blasphemy
Members of a Pakistani civil society demonstrate April 22, 2017, in Karachi, Pakistan, against the killing of Mashal Khan, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University in the northwestern city of Mardan. Police say the lynching of Khan, falsely accused of blasphemy, was organized by other students who saw him as a political rival. (VOA)

Social media posts

Nadeem James, a Christian, was sentenced to death last month in Punjab after the court established that he sent a blasphemous poem to a friend via WhatsApp, an instant message application.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a recent report said 15 people were arrested on charges of blasphemy in 2016, including 10 Muslims and five members of religious minorities.

In April 2017, Mashaal Khan, a journalism student, was accused of posting blasphemous content online and was beaten to death by fellow students at Abdul Wali Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Pakistan’s government is being criticized for strictly enforcing the blasphemy laws.

In April 2017, the government used newspapers and mobile phone services to warn its citizens not to post or upload any blasphemous materials on social media.

The government has also reportedly encouraged people to report those who violate the blasphemy law. (VOA)

Next Story

Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Hinduism- the oldest religion in the world is based on certain established beliefs. Read more to find out what these beliefs are.

1
112
justice and Injustice factor of Hinduism
Hinduism of Hindus when compared between justice and injustice

Hinduism being the world’s oldest religion does not have any proper beginning story like the other monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam do. It has no human founder. Therefore it leads us to the question that if there was no human who started Hinduism then how did its teaching come to being. Well, there is no definitive way to answer this question. What we can answer though are the nine beliefs of Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion which believes that if a person realizes the Truth within himself then only he can reach a point where the consciousness of man and god are one.

Our beliefs determine our thought process and attitude toward life which lead us to our actions. It is said that we create our destiny from our actions. Beliefs regarding matters such as God, soul, and cosmos often shape our perceptions towards life. Hindus believe in a variety of concepts but there are few critical ones which shape the basic belief of Hinduism. The following are the nine beliefs which not exactly very comprehensive but they form the base of the spirituality of Hinduism.

Are you familiar with the various gods and goddesses of Hinduism? Pixabay

All Pervasive Divine Power

  • Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.

Rig Veda – Wikipedia Commons

Divinity of the Sacred Scriptures

  • Hindus believe in the divinity of the four Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion.

Hinduism – Pixabay

Creation Cycle

  • Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution.

Hindu Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi, Wikimedia

Belief in Karma

  • Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words, and deeds.

Reincarnation and Liberation

  • Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny.

penance
Belur, Chennakeshava Temple, Gajasurasamhara, Shiva slaying the demon Gajasura. Wikimedia

Worship in Temples

  • Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.

Hindu dharma
Hindu Sadhguru –  Pixabay

Belief in a Enlightened Satguru

  • Hindus believe that an enlightened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation, and surrender in God.

Hinduism, Hindu temple, Krishna idol
Krishna idol. Pixabay

Propagation of Non-Violence and Compassion towards living things

  • Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered and therefore practice ahimsa, non-injury, in thought, word and deed.

The symbol has been adopted by various religions and cultures across the world.
The swastika is a Hindu symbol of spiritual principles and values. Wikimedia Commons.

Respect and Tolerance for other faiths

  • Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance, and understanding.

Prepared by Saloni Hindocha (@siatipton)

One response to “Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know”

  1. Please use proper words for our culture. There are no ‘beliefs’ in Hinduism. There are only ‘hypotheses’ of Hinduism. Belief is something a person is required to adhere to, even in the face of disproving evidence. It demands a suspension of rational thought which goes against the basic nature of Hinduism. Please do not explain Hinduism using the same terminology used by Abrahamic religions. Or more appropriately, call Hinduism and other non-Abrahamic religions as ‘dharma’ to distinguish their inherent nature. Even religious Shinto-Buddhist Japanese say they have no religion when asked. Also, I do not know how you came up with these nine basic so-called ‘beliefs’. I am a Hindu and have never heard of some of them. Please call them ‘some’ of the hypotheses of Hinduism that ‘some’ Hindus agree with. Disagree with ‘tolerance for other faiths’, respect for other dharma – yes, tolerance – not applicable. This word ‘tolerance’ is required by Abrahamic religions which are intrinsically supremacist. Hence they need tolerance to be able to live in a diverse civil society without the tendency to occasionally commit violence for their religion. A dharma like Hinduism has nothing to ‘tolerate’. A Hindu/Jain/Buddhist/Shinto/Taoist/etc. does not care about the religious ‘labels’ and will easily exchange gods/practices/hypotheses with each other if they make sense or are harmless but satisfy some need. Of course, things that are bad deserve criticism and no tolerance (except for basic human respect). How can anyone attempt to define a culture that has always been and will always be in flux as human knowledge increases? It’s time we restored our so-called ‘religion’ to what it always has been i.e. ancient science.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.