This debate which is raging now regarding Muslim personal law is more than 30 years old. I have followed this debate very childishly then but was unable to separate the chafe from the grain. Now when this issue is again being debated I feel it is time to put up the thoughts together.
First, the law commission which is now circulating a questioner in English and Hindi and seem ignorant that Muslims in India have other languages as well. It could have done great service to the community if it had first tried to make attempts to codify the personal laws of all the communities in the country including Muslim personal law.
It’s hard to understand why it is doing such activity and what are they going to achieve. If at law commission has to play a role it could be in the form of a nodal agency for the codification of the Muslim personal law. After that taking the debate to the Muslim community about the relevance of such laws that are detrimental to Muslim society. What it now ended up is as a villain not a savior.
I am of the opinion that there are many other pressing issues in the Muslim personal law that needs to be corrected to suit the modern times than the divorce issue that is being drummed up.
I can specifically point out that the practices like “Mahjoob” “Aaq” which are prevalent id Indian Muslim society are more in need of reform than this divorce concept of triple talaq which is cynosure of all eyes.
One needs to understand this concept in totality that this form of divorce can only be valid if it is pronounced in over a period of nine months with a minimum gap of 3 months.
Triple talaq is not the only form of divorce in Muslim society; there are many more types of divorce practices as well.
The country needs an empirical evidence of the rate of this form of divorce before jumping into conclusion that all Muslim marriages are annulled through triple talaq.
I feel pity at the mindset of our PM who has given the clarion call to abolish this form of divorce practice. He has no clue of the pace of the society and his comments were made in a huff with his Hindu mindset on this matter.
In the age of 4G when marriages are happening on mutual consent, why not the practice of divorce be made simpler and easier. Why bind two individuals who have no hopes of reconciliation and should find ways to separate peacefully. The simpler it is the better it will be for society. The concept of triple talaq points towards such simplicity.
After the Prime Minister’s comment, a dalit lady who heads a political party issued a rebuttal, to this rejoinder has come from the RSS, the fountainhead of Hindutva. This is up and counting and we need to follow them up.
In all this none have spoken for the need of codification of the Muslim personal law. They all have come to conclusion and passed their judgment with all arrogance and ignorance at their command.
Now coming to the uniform civil code, the current government instead of beating the drum through the media or belling it through the law commission has all the rights to bring legislation in the parliament to achieve any such objective. It also knows the consequences and very well understands its intricacies.
In such case the country has to decide whether it wants the unity in diversity model as the prime motivator of governance in terms of personal laws or it may be happy to have Hindu code of conduct in personal belief and practices in the name of uniform personal law.
The worry is if the objective of uniform civil law is achieved, then what would be the next goal or agenda of those who are shouting from the roof tops.
This debate is unending and only vitiating the over charged communal atmosphere. Muslim, Kashmir and Pakistan are the three drums that are usually being beaten, when any election is round the corner.
This almost a routine exercise and listening to such sound of music is detrimental to the overall health of the country. Indian caravan will go on while such dogs will play their music.
[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at email@example.com]