What however cannot be rationalized by men and women, Muslims as well as others is the new found interest in woman’s right by a party who’s own ideology is clearly misogynist.
In an interview to the telegraph, the President of BJP Mahila Morcha, Mridula Sinha had once said: “I gave dowry for my daughter and received dowry for my son…. Wife-beating is bad, but if it has to be done to bring the woman on proper track it’s all right… Women in their own life should not take independent decisions about marriage and other things. The family should take these decisions.” Well, that’s the female perpective!
The male view on woman’s liberation can be summed by Golwalkers opposition to the Hindu Code Bill. Precisely what he had said was that granting of rights to women would “cause great psychological upheaval” to men and “lead to mental disease and distress”(see Paula Bacchetta,Gender in the Hindu Nation: RSS Women as Ideologues, p.124).
Then why on earth are the followers of Golwalker so keen on exposing themselves to such a dangerous situation, that will lead to psychological upheaval, mental disease and distress. And why the urge to protect from polygamy and arbitrary divorce the women,they are ultimately supposed to ‘rape’ as an act of nationalism. So had said V. D Savarkar, the man whom PM Modi paid tribute on the former’s 132nd birth anniversary, calling him a ‘brave man’.
In the eyes of Indian Muslims the proposal to implement UCC has little to do with woman’s right and much to do with subduing religious freedom in India. The common Indian Muslim (men and women) have perceived the proposal of UCC as yet another attack on the community in line with, beef ban, de-reservation in Maharashtra and the Dadri lynching.
It would also be interesting to note that while 5.7% Muslim men in India practice polygamy, it being allowed in Islam, 5.8% Hindu men practice polygamy, it being already illegal under Hindu marriage act. What exactly then the government proposes to achieve by making polygamy illegal for Muslim men? Absolutely nothing.
The UCC has also been opposed by Muslim women’s group Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, who have instead asked for a more gender just Muslim personal law. A revived Muslim personal law is precisely what is needed by the Muslim community. No man made has ever been able to liberate women the way Quran does when interpreted and implemented correctly.
The Indian ‘ulema’ are however stuck in a technicality, unanimously agreeing that triple talaq is a sin, is punishable but nevertheless effective.
According to a hadith (Prophetic tradition), the Prophet (PBUH) was told of a person who had divorced his wife thrice in one sitting. Upon that the Prophet (PBUH) stood up in anger and said “You make fun of Allah’s book and I am still there among you” which clearly shows the Prophet’s disapproval of triple talaq. According to Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, one of the four most prominent jurists of Islam, triple talaq is an innovation and should be treated as just one divorce.
There is sufficient scope for the revival of Muslim personal law as has been done in other Islamic countries and accord woman the status she was accorded fourteen hundred years ago, but which she came to gradually lose due to the influence of other cultures on Islamic sharia.
The well known Islamic jurist Ibn Taymiyyah stated that shar’i ahkam (injunctions) change with the times. If this government is really interested in procuring Muslim woman her rights, then amending the Muslim personal law is the way to go about it, rather than scrapping it altogether and inviting the wrath of Muslims.
One thing that even the adamant mullahs cannot object to is levying of strict penalty on husbands who pronounce three talaqs in one sitting. What is preventing the government doing so?
Also a great deal of reform can come about by government engaging Muslim bodies in the of educating Muslim men about the correct Quranic way of divorce and about equality of status granted to women in Quran.
There are enough ways of bringing about reform in condition of Muslim women without snatching away provision of personal law from the community. Yet if the government persists on implementation of UCC, then no one can have any misgivings about BJP’s real intent.
By Aazeen F. Kirmani