[Reader-list] Guests in Vedavati's house

Kshmendra Kaul kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 22 17:31:21 IST 2007

Dear Tapas
  Easily answered, at least by me speaking for myself. YES.
  Religion should have no mention or role to play in India's Laws, not any religion. The convoluted interpretation of "secular" that is currently employed is tearing apart the country. 
  I would be interested in knowing which Hindu Laws for Property and Marriage are operating in India.
  A recent Court Judgment makes it clear that marriages MUST be registered and such a registration is the only recognition of 'marriage'. Evidencing that the couple has reached that arrangement can be done by declarations in front of the Registrar of Marriages under Special Marriages Act or by producing evidence of any pertinent religious ritual (pujari's certificate, nikkahnama, invitation cards, photographs etc). I believe the Special Marriages Act endows special protection to the woman in the case of divorce.
  The Hindus used to have the system that the eldest son is the "karta darta" and sole inheritor. That system is long dead and gone. To the best of my knowledge, the inheritance laws are now equitable and without any gender bias and are not specifically "hindu".
  The "using" of "Joint Family" as a loophole to cheat the Govt out of Tax Revenues has also been plugged (to the best of my knowledge) 
  Tapas the point is exactly what you have alluded to. One of the grouses and I would say foundations on which the "Hindutva" sentiment rests is that the Hindu must and has been made to submit to modernity/liberal/equitable/human/humane and subsequent change of thereto followed Laws/Principles/Rituals.......but the people of other faiths are allowed their "Laws" howsoever degrading they might be.
  Whether by consent or silent acquiescence the Hindu had to accept changes in systems/rituals howsoever sanctified and divinely sanctioned they might have been considered. Sorry, no child marriage; sorry, no Sati; sorry, no Caste System; sorry, no Dowry demands etc etc
  In a truly "secular" environment the same principle should apply to everyone with uniformity of Civil and Criminal Codes. 
  - Sorry, the Vatican or the Pastor has no role to play in dissolution of marriage.
  - Sorry, the Muslim woman or any woman in the case of divorce will get her share as equal partner in couple's earnings during marriage and not just "Haq Meher'  
  - Sorry, in the case of divorce it is incumbent on one ex-partner (with higher earnings) to pay regular maintenance (for children up to adulthood) to the other ex-partner (lower or no earnings) who might have custody of the children.
  - Sorry, this system of Man being allowed 4 wives simultaneously is not acceptable
  - Sorry, Talaq, Talaq Talaq pronounced simultaneously (amongst Sunnis) is not acceptable as being dissolution of marriage
  I must mention here that the basic Quranic principle for divorce is excellent. 3 periods of  woman's menses have to be allowed (no sexual contact between couple) with 3 spaced out pronouncements of Talaq before it gets finalised. It gives partners time to think, it obviates pregnant woman being divorced without recourse. It could be used as inspiration for Uniform Civil Code.
  Similarly, the Quranic injunction for more than 1 wife at the same time is so demanding and strict that it is an impossibility. Yet we see how it is abused. Even Hindus profess to have converted to Islam to avail of  more than 1 wife simultaneously because of the current loose application.
  Tapas, I am clear on this, if a man is allowed 4 wives, the woman must be allowed 4 husbands and not just Muslims but everyone.
  Can you imagine the chaos if Hindus also cited Heritage or some scripture  and demanded 3 wives just like Raja Dasharath had or 5 husbands like Draupadi had. Or Sati or Caste superiority.
  There is also the very pertinent question as to why penalising punishments are not given to Muslims as per Islamic principles (if any precedent from Islamic Law is to be applied to Muslims at all). We will be quite a society of Limbs chopped off, Death by Stoning, 80 lashes.
  So Tapas, it is not up to the Hindus to be willing to give up Hindu Laws.   They have been denied and rightly should have no choice. Similarly the Muslims should have no choice. Laws by common consent (by due Constitutional processes) should be equally applicable to all. 
  Ironically (and this is something for us Indians to think about) Jinnah in his Presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan (11th Aug 1947) presented one of the finest definitions of "secular" I have come across. Extracts from what Jinnah said:
  " You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State"
  " We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State."
  " Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State."
  In the case of India we must add (to Hindus, Muslims), Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Bahai, Atheists, Agnostics etc., etc., etc., etc.
  Kshmendra Kaul 
  PS: Concession should be given to the dead. Let people choose between graveyards, cremation grounds, crematoriums, wells of silence etc  

Tapas Ray <tapasrayx at gmail.com> wrote:
  There also are laws specific to Hindus - at least for property and
marriage. Would all Hindus be willing to give these up and embrace a 
uniform civil code?


S.Fatima wrote:

> And cultural diversity demands that not everyone is forced to live
> the same way, with a uniform culture and laws. If I
> stayed back in India, I did so because I wanted to
> live in a multicutural country. Now if I am asked to
> live under conditions of uniformity, then what's the
> point of my not migrating to Pakistan. If my right to
> live with my culture is denied, then I might as well
> leave India. But where else can I go - there is no
> other place in the world that I can call home.

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