Who’s Dictating the Demand for Uniform Civil Code?

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Any attempt to impose Common or Uniform Civil Code under the the market-driven modernity will be disastrous. The market-driven modernity legalizes promote premarital sex but bans marriage before a certain age, promotes and legalizes promiscuity and live-in relationships but bans polygamy and has problems with Hijab and glorifies nakedness. Its aims are not the development of healthy and peaceful family and social system but commercialization of human weaknesses, commodification of women and exploitation of the masses for their selfish ends

DR JAVED JAMIL | Caravan Daily
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he debate is again raging on the issue of the Common Civil Code in the country. Though it is certain that if the debate is initiated on what should be the shape of CCC the others will find it harder to adjust, time and again, Common Civil Code is used as a weapon of sort against Indian Muslims, which always evokes emotional reactions from the community. The threat comes from at least three kinds of elements, which have been powerful in the country since Independence in 1947.
The first of these are the forces of Hindutva, which make noise less out of any ideological convictions and more out of their desire to dominate the country. They feel that if Hindus in India are to be united as a formidable socio-political unit monopolizing power in the country, the best course of action would be to arouse hatred for Muslims, to pose them and their religion as threats to the Hindu religion, Hindu culture and Hindu identity, and to ensure that they are not allowed to develop into a socially, economically and politically powerful community at par with Hindus.
In the name of Astha (faith), they have got the cow slaughter banned in most of the states. Ironically, where cow meat is a source of big business for Hindus, it remains legal. In the name of Astha again, they razed the Babri Masjid. On the one hand, they talk of “uniformity”, on the other, they discriminate against Semitic religions. While they will continue to expand the benefits on the ground of their Astha, they will not let Muslims and Christians act according to their Astha even where it doesn’t affect anyone else

When it comes to special privileges to Hindus, they forget the concept of equality and uniformity altogether and deny Muslims and Christians their genuine rights. Being in majority, they change the constitution the way they want and interpret it the way they want. SCs are legible to Reservation till they remain Hindus or convert to Buddhism but lose benefits as soon as they convert to Christianity or Islam. They have enacted an Undivided Hindu Family Act, which gives them huge advantages in Tax assessment. These benefits are not allowed for Muslims and Christians.

In the name of Astha (faith), they have got the cow slaughter banned in most of the states. Ironically, where cow meat is a source of big business for Hindus, it remains legal. In the name of Astha again, they have razed the Babri Masjid to the ground. On the one hand, they talk of “uniformity”, on the other hand they discriminate against the Semitic religions wherever it suits them. While they will continue to expand the benefits on the ground of their Astha, they will not let Muslims and Christians act according to their Astha even where it does not affect anyone else.
The second and the most important group is that of the corporates who as part of the globalization regards moral and family values enshrined in religions as a massive obstacle in their plans of turning human beings into commercial beings.
The issue is not triple talaq but the unreasonable and unjust attitudes of men. AP photo.
The issue is not triple talaq but the unreasonable and unjust attitudes of men. AP photo.
It is ironical that in a world where there is so much emphasis on personal freedom that even an unhealthy relationship between two consenting individuals (even if both happen to be married or both happens to be of the same sex) is regarded as the golden maxim of freedom, a community is targeted for following its own set of laws in their personal matters. Still more ironical is that this is being done in the name of the rights of women despite the fact that the modernity has allowed every such practice, which is extremely dangerous for the health of almost everybody, especially the lives of women and children.

Though they hate almost all the religions particularly in their public role, they are particularly aggressive against Islam because it has a clear distinction between ‘permitted’ and ‘prohibited’, and because its followers are a more determined believers in their entire religious system. They seek to commercialize every single element of human strength, weakness or need that can help them create and monopolize wealth. In recent decades their influence in the affairs of individuals, society as well as the establishment has grown so much that almost nothing can happen without their overt or covert support.

The third group is that of leftist forces whose socio-economic ideology does not recognize religion altogether. They reject God, reject religion even as a private affair, and have their own notions of forced equality. In recent decades, with the downfall of Communism in the world and Soviet Empire, this group has of course become almost non-existent, but in combination with the market, they often espouse the same “liberal” values which the latter relish.
It will be seen in this discussion that none of these groups are concerned with either the dignity of human beings as human beings or in their peaceful existence as individuals, or their rights as males or females. Their only concern is their monopoly. It is therefore unthinkable for Muslims that they can ever agree to a Common Civil Code, which is pushed by these forces on the basis of their own vested interests
It will be seen in this discussion that none of these groups are concerned with either the dignity of human beings as human beings or in their peaceful existence as individuals, or their rights as males or females. Their only concern is their monopoly. It is therefore unthinkable for Muslims that they can ever agree to a Common Civil Code, which is pushed by these forces on the basis of their own vested interests.
Under these circumstances it becomes mandatory for Muslims to counter these designs not only through social and political agitations but also through intellectual discourse based on the merits or demerits of the concept of Common Civil Code being pushed by these forces. It will then be easy to understand why Islam alone can form the basis of any code of life, individual, family or social, for Muslims.
There are however certain problems which have emerged owing to failure in following Islamic injunctions in letter and spirit. But these problems can and will be solved only within the parameters of Islam. The overwhelming majority of Muslims believe in and are committed to Islamic laws, and this is their personal matter. Others can present their views but cannot enforce their own laws on us.
It is ironical that in a world where there is so much emphasis on personal freedom that even an unhealthy relationship between two consenting individuals (even if both happen to be married or both happens to be of the same sex) is regarded as the golden maxim of freedom, a community is targeted for following its own set of laws in their personal matters. Still more ironical is that this is being done in the name of the rights of women despite the fact that the modernity has allowed every such practice, which is extremely dangerous for the health of almost everybody, especially the lives of women and children.
Let us assume that there is to be a common or uniform civil code in the country. The first and foremost question that will immediately arise is: What should be the ultimate objective of such an exercise and what will it want to achieve. A civil code cannot be just limited to laws related to marriage, divorce and inheritance.
It must deal all aspects of civil life including a well-defined family system, the permissibility or non-permissibility of the practices that threat the family system as a whole or the members of the family and the rights and duties of the individual members of the family as well as the rights and duties of the family as a unit. Any such Code should obviously be aimed at
  1. Guarding the life and quality of life of all the individuals; this will involve (i) taking comprehensive and effective measures against abortions; (ii) taking comprehensive and effective measures against alcohol and drugs (See below for the devastation they cause.)
  2. Making a healthy and peaceful family; this will involve taking comprehensive and effective measures against premarital as well as post marital sex and all other forms of promiscuity, prostitution, homosexuality, etc; taking all the other measures for ensuring that every adult woman can pass a married family life;
  3. Granting just and equal rights to all including men, women and children; this will be shown below that “equality” and “uniformity” are two different things.
  4. Ensuring a peaceful and harmonious social system where crimes related to family matters show a rapid and steady decline; and there is more harmonious relationship between different communities comprising the Nation so that they all can work together for its development. (The measures in i and ii above will ensure this, and will also involve effective measures to reduce all form of crimes.)
It is to be categorically stated here that any attempt to carry out the development of common civil code under the impact of the market-driven modernity will be disastrous. The market-driven modernity legalizes and promotes premarital sex but bans marriage before a certain age, promotes and legalizes promiscuity and live-in relationships but bans polygamy and has problems with Hijab and glorifies nakedness. Its aims are not the development of healthy and peaceful family and social system but commercialization of human weaknesses, commodification of women and exploitation of the masses for their selfish ends.
The most important objective of Common Civil Code has to be to protect the life of the members of the family and improve the healthiness of life.The biggest threat to human lives and the family health and peace in modern times has come from alcohol and free sex. Ever year, 50 to 70 million children are aborted worldwide, the majority of them being due to relationships outside wedlock.
If we are interested in safeguarding women and children and give their legitimate rights within the family system, total and effective ban on all forms of sexual relationships outside marriage, alcohol, gambling and drugs. Moreover, we will have to remove the loopholes in the laws related to abortion so that no single child can be aborted except for medical reasons
In the last 20 years, more than 40 million people have died of AIDS. The biggest numbers of people dying from AIDS are prostitutes, homosexuals, men and women coming into contact with them and the children of HIV mothers. Alcohol kills more than 3 million people. In India too, the deaths due to all these vices are on the rise.
More than 100,000 people die of accidents, 70 pc of which are related to alcohol. Alcohol is also a major factor in rapes, other crimes, domestic violence and suicides. The number of teenage pregnancies and related proportions is also on the rise in India though it has not yet reached the ominous proportions of the West. And of course, all these are the biggest impediments in the development of healthy and peaceful families.
If we are interested in safeguarding women and children and give their legitimate rights within the family system, total and effective ban on all forms of sexual relationships outside marriage, alcohol, gambling and drugs. Moreover, we will have to remove the loopholes in the laws related to abortion so that no single child can be aborted except for medical reasons.
Any worthwhile debate on the subject will be impossible without agreeing to take these steps. Let us see if the market forces and their minions in politics and media can allow a national debate on the above mentioned objects. Let us see if the forces of Hindutva — though ideally there should not be much difference of opinion between the adherents of different religions — will let it happen considering the fact that their “Hindutva” plank is more guided by their desire to establish political and economic hegemony than by Religious Morality preached by their Dharma.
Let there be a nationwide survey conducted by an independent organisation having representatives from all the relevant parties asking questions:
  • Should alcohol be banned in India?
  • Should any relations outside marriage be permitted?
  • Can any two individuals be allowed to have consensual relations outside marriage?
  • Should boys and girls be permitted to have relations before marriage?
  • Should gambling be allowed?
  • Should prostitution be allowed?
  • Should nakedness and pornography be allowed?
  • Should promiscuous relations be allowed?
  • Should homosexuality be permitted?
Let these also be added to the questionnaire issued by the Law Commission on the subject! We will return to the subject again when we will discuss the role of modern liberal ideologies in exploitation of women and children a little later. It will be shown that only Islamic Civil Code achieves all the above stated objectives with perfection; and whatever the problems are there in Muslim societies due to certain misunderstandings or failure to follow the Islamic principles can be easily handled within the Islamic parameters.

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