Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called out Congress for being only a “Muslim-male” friendly party with no thought to Muslim women. His frustration has stemmed from the “triple talaq” Supreme Court judgment last year, still awaiting legislation despite being cleared in Lok Sabha, held up as it is in Rajya Sabha.
On the face of it, it’s a “hara-kiri” by Congress: The ratio of Indian muslim women vis-à-vis men is 951 per thousand. Why risk losing such a significant share of votes when the party is fighting for survival?
The answer is in these bland statistics: As per the 2011 Census data, 13.5 Muslim women are married before they turn 15. The ratio rises to nearly 50 per cent for Muslim women getting married between 14-19 years. The child thus “transferred” at a fragile age is unlikely to resist the patriarchal order, from the one of father to the new one of husband. Such a “captive” audience would do as the overarching men in the family would ask them to do. Love, set and match.
The Muslim women, thus married early, are also unlikely to finish their education. An uneducated women has lesser chance of being employed. Lack of financial security drives them further inside the cage. This is the story from one generation to another to the next one. There is no escaping from this rigid order which acquires a “Quranic” sanction only Mullahs or All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) can decode in this land. In order to keep their hold watertight, they then announce grandiosely to have a “Sharia Court” in every 640 districts of the country.
Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) demands our attention for this body has been active for over a dozen years. It came into existence during Gujarat Riots of early 2000 where, as per its founder Zakia Soman, she felt a common thread of being from a “marginalized gender” with Muslim women in camps. “Marginalized in families; marginalized in community,” as she says it.
Soman recounts a vivid experience: “We were working to enroll girls in school, get scholarships…and find some kind of work with decent wages and social security. After three years, Muslim women started coming to us from all over the country…`You helped my daughter…helped me fill some form for the government. That was very good, but now my husband has divorced me instantly and thrown me out. And I don’t have a home to go to…I don’t know where to go with my children. Can you please help me’?”
So it’s much more than just about “triple talaq.” It’s also much more than polygamy, inheritance or abortion. It’s a state of perpetual slavery, without education, without jobs, without security. You also can’t keep your children with you, if so the men wish. The Mullahs who interpret “Quran” in this manner are lying, pure and simple.
“There are direct verses in the Quran…that support our claim to equality and gender justice… For the first time both women and men were learning that Quran is not about what some groups had been suggesting.” says Soman.
The truth is, the personal laws for Muslims remain uncodified in India. Hindus have the succession act of 1956; the Christians have their own marriage act but Muslim leadership has taken refuge under the Constitution which allows for family law to be based on religion. The Muslim laws remain uncodified in India. The codification of the laws too would solve little for the well-being of Indian muslim women. As long as they are disempowered due to lack of education, and consequent financial independence, they would be herded like sheeps in perpetuity. The patriarchal society would assert its domination.
Neither child marriage nor education/financial independence of Indian muslim women is a matter on which you would see a Congress leader stick his neck out. That’s the vote-base they have cultivated for decades after decades. Never mind the abject situation of muslim women; never a thought as to what a self-confident woman could do to free-up her next generation; never a reflection how it would “de-ghettoised” a community and turbo-charge the growth of country. All muslims in this country have got is religious leadership; there has been no attempt to create social or democratic leadership from within.
It’s facile and silly to play to the gallery with quips like “jhoothon ka sardar” in response to the charge Modi has made against Congress for appeasing muslim men only. Discerners remember at certain times “maut ka saudagar” or “khoon-ki-dalali” one-liners have emerged from the Congress camp. Sometimes, Modi is called “tughlaqi”. At other times “feku.” Rajdeep Sardesai once on stage called him “mass murderer.” His wife Sagarika Ghose kept screaming about Modi and his Louis Vuitton shawl till the company clarified it doesn’t make shawls. Rahul Gandhi mentioned “khoon ki dalali”; one of his senior leaders had the word “neech” in his mind. The parties which intend to form a Mahagathbandhan with Congress are no better. Sitaram Yechuri of CPI (M) mentions “pick-pocket” in reference to Modi. Arvind Kejriwal, the epitome of masculinity, called Modi a “coward and psychopath.” All of these can be referred here.
When a Congress leader spreads the fear of a “Hindu Pakistan”, he ought to remind his party that even Pakistan has outlawed “triple talaq.” So by appearing to support its retention, they actually plan to make India worse than a Pakistan.
The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has plans to introduce Sharia Courts (Darul-Qaza) in all 640 districts of India.
Even though Sharia Courts have no locus standi in the precincts of India’s courts, and that individuals and not a religious group is an entity in the eyes of a “secular” state, the AIMPLB recommends itself to solve the personal conflicts of Muslims in this country, citing the inordinate time a case takes in legal courts and claiming the guardianship of interpreting “Quran” the holy book for its adherents.
It’s a dangerous, calculated ploy by the AIMPLB to present itself as the upholder of “Quran” and thus obtain a complete subservience from the Muslim population of India, preparing a ground of conflict with India’s legal system which has recently made a move on the “triple talaq” issue and which is at the cusp of making a “Ram Janmabhoomi” verdict.. It’s preparing a ground for “two-nation” theory and has seeds of another Partition, another Pakistan in it.
The threat is real due to the weak nature of Indian judiciary which, in the past, passed a Shah Bano judgement couched as its “interpretation” of Sharia laws. India’s rule of government is no better in cracking a whip on a body about whom 95.5% percent of Muslim women have not even heard of.
Prof. Mohammad Tahir, an international expert on Muslim law, and a former chairman of Minorities Commisson, has no doubt that the Muslim law board manipulates Quran to perpetuate regressive laws and that it needs to be abolished. A few of the instances he cites,are worth quoting: “There are two verses in Quran on talaq. One verse says, `Divorce is only twice.’ The other Quranic verse says a person can’t divorce his wife unless there is an arbitration or reconciliation process from both sides. The Maulvis prefer to choose the first verse as law and the second as a mere morality.
“Similarly there is no Quaranic sanction for a Muslim law which treats two female witnesses as equal to one male witness… Every sensible Hadith is declared false, every sensible verse of the Quran has been abrogated.”
“Frankly I want (Muslim law) board to be abolished. It’s members are paranoid and they speak rubbish. Everytime the Supreme Court delivers a judgement, the Board says it is interfering with the Shariat.”
We have the instances of Muslim women denied fair marriage, divorce, adoption and property rights. No women-in -dargahs; polygamy etc is practiced. Prohibition on child marriage is opposed by AIMPLB. Free voices, like Salman Rushdie, would continue to be muzzled.
The fall-out and damage to India’s social fabric consequently has been massive. It has led to Muslims retreating themselves into “ghettos” and “no-go zones.” There is no assimilation and thus regressive mindset kicks in which fuels similar destructive forces of other minorities. In the name of “secularism”, the majority in India allows such self-appointed bodies to hijack and set the agenda for the minorities to the detriment of the nation.
Thus a “nation-within-nation” takes shape. It’s funded by forces which wants jihad for Muslim sovereignty across the globe. From US to Philippines, every society today is facing this challenge. First, an exclusive area is forged; it then develops into a zone which police has problem in accessing. Lawlessness emerges. Politicians fish in troubled waters. It’s not long before government loses control of such areas. Terrorism and drugs thus come to hold sway. Soon there is a call to declare them “Islamic zones.” Several European cities today are victims of such phenomenon. For example, a radical group in UK wants 12 British cities, including London, to turn into independent Islamic states.
Look at Bengal. It has hundreds and thousands of illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh, duly aided by ISI-modules. Consequently, there are 100s of villages in Bengal where police has no say, abetted of course by politicians. When fundamentalist Mullahs make a call for no-entry to the likes of Taslima Nasreen, neither police nor politicians are of any help.
Initially, the British judges in India were assisted by Muftis and Qazis. The Qazis Act of 1880 deprived the Qazis of their judicial powers. The British courts thereafter made judgment on Muslim Personal Law. There was a persistent demand in the first quarter of 20th century to have Sharia Courts. Muslims followed the Hindu Act till 1937 when the Muslim Personal Law Application Act was passed. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board came into being during Indira Gandhi’s rule in 1973.
The life around us could soon descend into chaos, anarchy, riots and who knows, civil war. That’s what happens in completely communally polarized societies with weak judiciary and appeasement politics. Similar was the situation during the final years of Raj when bigoted forces managed to vivisect India, slicing off its Eastern and Western arms. Appeasement lay at the root of it. History seems set to repeat itself and it would, unless it’s dealt with firmly and decisively. As citizens, we would be no less responsible for our indifference.
Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar needs you on his 45th death anniversary on Tuesday (June 5, 1973). Chances are he would be reviled by Leftists Sitaram Yechury, and “Liberals” Ramachandra Guha, for his alleged affinity with Adolf Hitler. It would help them paint Rashstriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a Fascist and Nazist force, a virulent campaign meant to neutralize the sting out of Pranab Mukherjee’s upcoming visit to RSS headquarters on June 7.
“Guruji” as Golwalkar is known, was in public eye for a long period between 1940-1973 as the second sarsangchalak of RSS. In his profuse writings, letters, articles, statements and interviews, there is NOT ONE single sentence which declares Guruji’s admiration for Hitler. Not one. Yet libraries of articles and books repeat the lie to run down the world’s biggest mass organization.
This ocean of lies floats on a mere two paragraphs which appeared in Guruji’s maiden book in 1938, “We, Our Nationhood Defined”. The book has never been reprinted since 1947. It’s been over 70 years but these two paragraphs alone is the edifice around which an entire cottage industry of RSS-bashing, Hindu-mocking has flourished. Only Shiva knows how many careers have been launched; reputations air-brushed; funds transferred to crooks reaping the harvest out of these two paragraphs.
As an analogy, why Karl Marx is not Hitler-like for he too described Jews as “arch-exploiters”? Or John F. Kennedy so, for he praised Fascism-for-Italy and Nazism-for-Germany in the 1930s? Or our own Pt. Nehru for he swore by socialism even as millions were being massacred in its name in Stalin’s Russia?
But let’s look at these two contentious paragraphs first:
“From the standpoint, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations, the foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture or language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e. of the Hindu nation, and must lose their separate existence or merge into the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment–not even citizens’ rights.”
Let’s look at key issues in the paragraph. One, there is no call for genocide for it says “minorities can stay in the country.” The sentence “not claim any privilege” isn’t objectionable either for that’s the decree of “secularists” alone. All the democracies of the world are run by this maxim.
As for Citizens’ Rights, before we describe its context, let’s remember most Muslim countries till today exclude non-Muslims in its political decision-making system. Golwalkar’s prescription for Non-Hindus is vastly different from Sharia’s prescription for non-Muslims. Golwalkar isn’t stopping non-Hindus from bearing arms or riding a horse. So if Golwalkar/RSS are fascist, how would you describe Quran and Sharia?
Now look at the context of this sentence. In 1938, the talk of a Muslim nation was gathering wind. Muslims advocated the two-nation theory in India. Such a theory had been applied on Austria-Hungarians, Ottoman and Czarist empires. Lenin has supported it; so had USSR constitution. Muslims claimed they were distinct from Hindus by dress and customs; food and marriage; religion and holy days etc. They also lived in separate neighbourhoods. So Golwalkar was only accepting the Muslim logic.
Those advocating a Muslim nation in 1938 unambiguously expressed and defined Muslim community as a separate nation (ummah). So if you are a separate nation, how could you be a full citizen in a Hindu state? As Dr Koenraad Elst says: “Remember, the same choice was given to Kennedy (John), the first Roman catholic president of the (protestant) US. He was asked if he was loyal to Roman Catholic Church or country? He said country.”
Now let’s turn to the second paragraph in contention:
“To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”
This paragraph again must be viewed in the context of 1938. This was the year when Hitler was hugely popular in India and no less around the world. He had transformed Germany; challenged the order of colonial powers. Why, even after WW II, Charles de Gaulle was spewing anti-Jews views. Eugenic politics was on in US and Scandinavia till the 1970s. The “Hitler Salute” was fairly common well into the 1950s. Democratic countries were racists and publicly proud of it. Subhas Bose was hailed in India even though he had joined hands with Japan, an ally of Fascist-Nazist forces.
Just to highlight the double standards, look at how Mahatma Gandhi shed tears on destruction of British Parliament and Westminister Abbey in WW II. But he had no such feel for monuments destroyed in Germany. Was England’s record in India any better than Germany in other countries in 1940?
All Golwalkar said was that Germany proved two nations in one state was not feasible. He drew an analogy but never supported Nazism. He could’ve done so in 1938 since England was still not at war with Germany.
If Golwalkar was a Nazi, he wouldn’t have extensively quoted Western scholars in his work. For instance he approved of John Stuart Mills’ words: “Free institutions are impossible in a country made up of different nationalities.” Golwalkar publicly believed in the authority of League of Nations (while fascist Italy left League of Nations in 1937).
Golwalkar never said Muslims must not hold public office; or intermarriage must be clamped down upon; or that “pogroms of Muslims” was the answer. He didn’t ask for Muslim professors to be removed from universities after the Partition. Golwalkar looked for assimilation of minorities; not dissimilation like Hitler did. What you would never be told is that US, England and France etc—all democratic countries—had refused rights to minorities in League of Nations. They all stood for assimilation of minorities. And so did Golwalkar.
Golwalkar had seen how Muslims in India had appealed to foreign Muslim powers, like Amir of Afghanistan, during the Khilafat Movement. His appeal for their assimilation in the 1930s thus appears perfectly legitimate. Those criticizing Golwalkar, must tell us what was RSS’ position during WW II? They must also be asked: Why don’t you quote from Deendayal Upadhyaya’s Integral Humanism, formulated in 1965 and the official ideology of RSS? Every BJP member has to swear by it.
In the same book, Golwalkar says: “The superiority complex of the White Man blurs their vision. (We.., Pg 6, 11).” Does it look like a comment of “White-Only” Nazis?
An American student who travelled Europe in the 1930s, wrote to his parents saying fascism is right for Italy; Nazism for Germany.” This student was no other than John F. Kennedy. Nobody calls Kennedy as Fascist or Nazist. Those who have no moral compunction while doing the same to Golwalkar and RSS, are at best agents of Left-Liberal mafia. They feed on chaos and anarchy; bloodshed and genocide in a society. Spot them in the light of Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to RSS Headquarters on Thursday.