Thank God!

The god was bored
He created rains
And flooded the lands
People suffered…

The men used the resources they had
Used the technology
To locate the suffering people
Used the boats to save them
Used helicopters
When boats couldn’t reach
Shared the food they had

When the water receded,
The people who were saved
Assembled in the prayer halls
Which were cleaned by the men
And Thanked the Gods
For saving their life…

Psychedelic Dreams…

It was the day, and it was the night
I was awake and asleep.
I knew I was on the balcony
Gazing at the blue valley

I was also walking down the hills
It was not the snow that covered the hills
But the blue smoke from my pot
The sapiosexual in me was aroused
By the intellect of the universe
And I realised how stupid I am

My mind was absorbed into a pensive
Filled with fluid smoke
Blowing wind made ripples
On the surface of the deep lake
I gulped down the lake from a wine glass
It burned down through my throat
I was wide awake,

My senses sharpest and tingling
I knew every move of air,
And every ripple of love
I knew when the stars twinkle
And when will the supernova explode

Yes, I was god
And I was dreaming
A psychedelic dream…

Riding, Driving or backpacking…

To be frank, this is an elongated answer to a prospective friend on why I don’t ride a bike.

The question came like this…

The friend is a biker and I told her “And I don’t know how to ride a bike”. The reply was “You must be a car person”. For which I couldn’t find a reply short enough to ensure that the listener or reader is not bored. Hence I thought I should write it here where people have a choice to read or not to read. If someone wants to choose boredom, they should have the right to do so…

So coming back to riding, I do ride a Honda Activa scooter in Delhi and another Honda Activa when in Kerala, and just like Kanjiram, you can make a statue of me sitting on the Honda Activa when you decide to build a temple for me…

But, I don’t ride a real bike with gear and all and the story starts in upper primary school.

Once, when I was in 7th class, my uncle met with an accident. He was an avid biker, and those days had various models of Hero Honda bikes in the market. He was also one of the founder members of Vypeen Island Twowheelers Association(VITA). So, he met with an accident, and fortunately, nothing was serious, but he got several layers of skin peeled off from his arms which refused to heal for about a month or so. The accident happened because of a pothole in the darkest corner of the road where street lights were not working when he was returning after a late night movie. The uncle in question is the youngest brother of my mother and was also a favourite brother to her.

Now, what do this accident has to do with my riding? The uncle told my parents ‘teach the kids to drive, not to ride’ and according to him riding was too risky even if we are careful. I think he said it in a moment of emotion because he himself bought another bike later and continued biking for a longer time. But this statement had a bearing on my parents mind for a longer period than needed.

I learned to drive when I was 13 years old. I was studying in 8th class, and Nazar known as Nani, an experienced driver of a senior lawyer who also assists my father with his driving skills sometimes, decide to teach me to drive in our old second hand Ambassador car after school hours. Later, after I was 18, I joined a local driving school to ensure that I can drive in ‘H’ shape to get a license for driving Light Motor Vehicle.

We had an old Hero Honda RS 100 also at that time. Nani was of the opinion that people should learn to ride two wheelers also, and even three wheelers (Auto Rikshaws used as local taxis). He wanted to teach me riding once when I was comfortable with driving. It must be when I was in 9th class or 8th class. We started the lessons and riding was difficult compared to driving because I was not big enough support the weight of the bike at that age(I was a small kid, one of the smallest kid in my class room). And then the worst happened!

One fine morning when we woke up and was getting ready to go to school, the bike was not in the garage. It was stolen. My bike lessons stopped there and I never learned to ride afterwards.

During my college days, I could have learned to ride, but I never did, for unknown reasons. But once while I went to an uncle’s house in Kaloor and had to visit another uncle nearby, the uncle insisted me to take his Kinetic Honda for the commute. When I told him I don’t ride, he told me it is as easy as bicycling and insisted me to ride. That was perhaps my first riding experience or experiment which I found to be easy.

Thereafter I got a licence for driving two-wheeler added to my existing licence to drive LMV. The test for riding two-wheeler was done with an M80 scooter with gear, used by a driving school in the area, and they have adjustments to ensure that the vehicle responds perfectly irrespective of the gear in which we have put it. So, I got a licence to ride a two-wheeler with gear.

In between, I had got a Honda Activa and I enjoyed riding it to the core. I used to travel to my college which was one and a half hours away from my home, on this scooter. I used to take the scooter even I. The late-night far away rides and I never hesitated to ride.

Then I got a red coloured Maruti 800. I started alternating between riding and driving. I enjoyed both and it continued for a few years.

Me, on my friend’s bullet, a posed click.

In between, I met with a few minor accidents but nothing was relevant. But there was an accident that I actually remember. I was so overconfident about my driving skills and in an attempt to overtake a truck, my car came face to face with a bus on a curve. There was nothing to do!

The bus driver had better presence of mind and he steered away from me and hit an electric post and stopped just before falling to a well. Thereafter I mellowed down and became a careful driver.

Then I shifted to Delhi, I had no cars and scooters here. So never used to drive or ride, and I forgot the pleasure altogether. In due course of time when I shifted my place of job, the buses were less between my house and office, though the distance was hardly 2 kilometres and I was forced to invest in a scooter again. Thus I started riding the scooter again.

In the meantime, the schedules got busier, and when I go home for vacations I had to travel a lot and I was forced to drive again and I started driving when in Kerala.

So, now I do drive occasionally, ride gearless vehicles regularly, has a licence for geared two-wheelers, but don’t ride them.

Finally, coming to my choice of travelling, I prefer to be a backpacker, using the public conveyance, with free hands to focus and shoot when I feel like. Even if I have to travel in a rented car or family car, if possible, I prefer to switch myself into the backpacker mode, with a camera in my hands…

Perhaps, I have become Lazy…


Smoke that rose from the chimney
Attached to my lips
Darkened the Skies
And watered her eyes
Love Burned like a butt of the Cigarette,
Not crashed under the angry boots
Rivers under my skin
Overflowed, breaking the dams
I woke up from the sleep groggy eyed
Smelling like a dirty rag
With hammers drumming in my head
Letters floated like dead fish
On the waveless surface of my mind
And she was there
Wet from the downpour
Smelling like a vintage Champagne
And the lava hidden in me erupted
With all the fury and fire
And that’s when
I fell into the eternal bliss
That’s when I made Love!!!

From Delhi to Kathua

Two days back, a baby pigeon landed on my balcony, with injured wings. I tried to feed it and provide a shelter, but it didn’t come near me. I am a stranger for it. But I can see the parents of the pigeon through my window, always near to their baby, sometimes landing in my balcony to console the child. It makes me think about the parents of a girl in Kathua, who were searching for her everywhere for 8 days only to find the dead body of their daughter in a terribly abused state in the forest nearby.
People say that nothing has changed since Nirbhaya case of Delhi, but I have to disagree. A lot of things have changed since Nirbhaya Case and it is evident from the way the social and political organizations handled Kathua case.
When Nirbhaya Gangrape happened in Delhi and the society learned about the atrocities committed on her and the way the perpetrators behaved, there was a huge outcry. The people irrespective of their societal allegations condemned it and there were candle light marches everywhere in Delhi and protests at India Gate braving the water cannons of Delhi Police. A former justice of Supreme Court of India went to the protest site himself and joined hands with the protesters. There was no need for political heavy weights or even the surety that there will be sufficient people in the protests, to force people to come out and begin the protests. Everyone agreed the crime was a ghastly one and condemned the perpetrators alike.
I am not forgetting the single voices here and there, who were responding with ‘What was she doing at the odd hours in the bus station’, or ‘She was roaming around with the boyfriend and deserved this’ etc. But their numbers were very few and those few ‘nays’ was crowded out by the overwhelming ‘ayes’ from the society as a whole. Though the demands were, at times, too much unrealistic, the people of the country clearly showed the world and who ever cared to see that they have a soul and conscience.
This soul and conscience is what was lost in the past 5 years from our society when we see how the Kathua case is being handled by our society. A group of people came in support of the rapists and sloganeered for their release, the lawyers in the court tried to interrupt the proceedings of the court and the lawyer of the victim was threatened to withdraw from the case by her own fellow beings. Two ministers in the state from the party which is not only a part of state government, but also a part of the party which rules the centre lead the pro-rape faction of society. The people are still bargaining over the merits of raped against the rapists and vice versa. It took 3 days of intense media coverage for our Prime Minister to give a statement on the issue.
Yes, a lot has changed in the past 5 years and India of today is not the India which I loved so much and kept close to my heart always. The India I studied in school as a nation in making, where we were trying to integrate the nation, to build a common consciousness through our maxim of ‘Unity in Diversity’. That nation building has failed miserably if we have to know the cast and creed of criminals and victims before deciding which side has its merits.
I can see few people in the social media asking, ‘why only this case, why do not you protest against that rape case’. This case is one with very few parallels in the modern society with regard to the modus operandi of the crime as well as the savageness with which it was planned and committed. You cannot compare incomparable, you cannot generalise extremes. Mean, median and mode of extremities will never measure realistic tendencies. When issue at hand is extreme, trying to have a neutral middle stand is in itself the gravest sin. That’s why Dante’s said ‘The deepest part of hell is reserved for those who remain neutral at the time of moral crisis’.
Again I can see someone with a news article about the rape of a Hindu woman by 9 Muslims for 9 days. But I can’t see any Muslim organization that tried to interrupt the law or tried to even support the accused. Surely, It is a huge difference.
In case of Kathua Gang rape, if media is to be believed, the girl was kidnapped and drugged, kept in a village temple and gang raped repeatedly subsequently killed and disposed to terrorise the Bakarwal Muslims who migrate to this village every winter. It was part of a planned, chilling strategy to instill fear and drive the nomadic tribe out of the region by the Hindu Brahmins who normally live in the village. The signs of religious fanaticism and fundamentalism is evident from the charge sheet submitted in the court. I have seen people questioning the purpose of presenting the religion of victim and accused. When religion was the sole reason for atrocity, the religion has to be said. Ignoring the reality never makes better what had happened. When the crime was perpetrated based on identity the identity is a weapon and ignoring it is ignorance to the social realities.
But that doesn’t mean that all Hindus are rapists or all Muslims are victims. There are rapist Muslims, rapist Hindus , victim Hindus and victim Muslims as there is every sort of people in the society. However, while we cannot taint whole community for a few persons mistake, we shouldn’t forget that the communal identity was a factor in the crime and communal elements tried to use it to their advantage. The actual issue is that the ‘one nation-one religion’ theory put forward by Hindutva, including the terrible means to achieve it includes every barbarism of medieval era from lynching to rape. Unfortunately, this Hindutva takes form of much more lenient compassionate avatar when it is not strong enough and when it knows it may be condemned. This two faced Hindutva is a terrorising demon which every civilized human has to be afraid of.
The atrocities committed on the girl, the torture she suffered, is incomparable and all the systemic abrasions and deformations can’t be an excuse. The blatant violation of an 8 year old, with intentional malafide, to terrorise a community, to the extent of drugging her for a week and abusing her continuously, is beyond any type of human comprehension. Being a disproportionate crime, it requires a disproportionate response and please don’t compare it with the lack of response for other cases, because this case is much and much bigger in magnitude to other cases.
Tail End: I usually enjoy the arguments with people who have different ideological and political positions and viewpoints including in the social media. But I dont enjoy the debates and decided to unfriend anyone who comes up with argument in favour of the rapists, because those who support rapists are potential rapists and being close to them is risky. I prefer people who are normal and left with atleast a semblance of humanity in them.

The Rebel…

Yes, I am one of those Facebook revolutionaries… In olden days we were called armchair revolutionaries. We used to sit conveniently in our armchair, our eyes half closed, pretending to be in a pensive mood of an ascetic and give sermons on what everyone else should do. We know why everyone else is wrong and how to correct those errors.

In the new era of computers, Siri, Cortana and Sofia, we have left the good old armchair for our new revolving chair in front of a computer table and to ensure wider reach for our sermons we log into the Facebook.

I have access to every relevant piece of information and every knowledge stems from me. It is my benevolence that decided to grant you the favour of my advice to light your path…

I have nothing but pity for those lesser mortals who criticise me or are against me or cannot understand my views… They deserve to be jailed for their ignorance…

I am the true revolutionary and the only real leader of entire world. Listen to me enrich yourselves and be successful or else be perished…

Don’t expect me to be on the field… The sun’s rays, I am allergic to, the sand and clay and dirt I despise… Yet, I am the only one who is always right…

Jio Feature Phone – A first hand review

Much awaited, Much hyped Jio Phone has started to reach the customers. The phone was announced in august available at a refundable deposit of Rs 1500/- for 3 years. Booking was open at payment of Rs 500/- and rest of the cash was to be paid on delivery. Though it was announced that Jio-Phone will be a feature phone with basic functions and 4G-Volte technology, perhaps out of curiosity the subscriptions reached 6 million and Jio had to stop subscriptions.

Yesterday evening, I got the message that my Jio-phone has arrived and I can collect it from any nearby Jio store. I went to the shop and there was a small crowd obviously from the people who got the message. after patiently waiting and paying Rs 1153/- (Rs 1000 remaining amount for the phone and Rs 153 recharge for included sim) I got hands on the phone.

The sealed packet has a phone, a battery, a charger and the sim is already inserted into the sim slot of the mobile. Though the packet says it includes a Quick start guide and warranty card, they were absent in my package. The phone is named as Lyf F61F powered by Kai OS.

The video call quality was also good. But an important change noted here is that Jio is moving away from conventional 4G voice call to a chat app based voice call like that of Whatsapp and Skype. Perhaps they may be wising to replace whatsapp for their huge customer base due to unavailability of apps in the Kai environment.

The phone reacts clumsily after switch on. Very slow to respond and the screen looks very dim. It took about 40 minutes for the sim to get activated and I could use the phone.

Calling from Jio phone, Voice clarity is really good even with less signal strength compared to other phones on same carrier. Perhaps, because the phone is optimised for the carrier. Video calling was not available by default. The phone asked me to install Jio Chat for Video calls. But the installation always fails due to ‘manifest mismatch’. After searching online, the issue was referred as due to older OS version, used the update to Kai OS 2.0 and issue was solved.

Clumsiness of the handset also disappeared after the update and the colors of the screen also came alive. Still, the phone has a tendency to hang on the call log, if accessed by pressing call button in the traditional way. It doesn’t seem like a major issue though.

The phone unlocks and locks by long press of * key, but can be set up to use 4 digit pass-code also. It has one sim slot and a memory card slot.

It has a menu that looks like olden day java based phones, with a Jio store to install new apps. The phone includes FM Radio which has inbuilt antenna. So it doesn’t need ear phones to function as an antenna to tune in. There is also a note taking app to keep notes and retrieve it.

It has a pull down shortcut menu activated by pressing the up arrow key. The menu includes airplane mode, brightness, camera, wifi, etc.

Settings can also be accessed directly from this shortcut menu.

This menu also has a flashlight option which powers an LED torch placed at the upper side of the mobile. Long press of the up arrow key can also power the torch.

The biggest attraction in this phone is Jio TV. All channels including pay channels are available in Jio Tv for free (Provided that you have recharged your jio number) in HD quality. The TV takes some time to buffer initially when we select the channel. But afterwards it plays seamlessly without any issues. As the Jio Media Cable is not yet available, the performance of Jio TV when connected to a larger screen cannot be tested.

The phone also comes with access to Jio Music, Jio News, Jio Movies etc, as an added advantage.

The battery lasts for a day on average use of about 30 minutes to 40 minutes of call, 1 hour of browsing and 2 hours of TV watching.

Saying all this, selection of a custom OS is the biggest disadvantage faced by Jio Phone. Kai OS can repeat what happened with Bada OS of samsung. Being an OS used only by one company there will not be many developers making apps for the phone and there will be complete dependency on in-house programmers. Due to the OS issue, there is an absence of popular applications like whatsapp, youtube and facebook.

Though there is no doubt that Jio-Phone is worth more than the Rs 1500/- you spent on it, the only specialty of Jio-Phone is that it is available for almost free (Rs 1500 refundable deposit) and it supports 4G – VoLTE. The other peculiarities like Jio TV and Video Calling are available on any mobile using a Jio Connection through My Jio app. Unless you want to use this as a replacement to your set top box, or you want to return the phone and take back your money after 3 years, you should prefer to buy a Lyf flame at a slightly higher cost. The cost of Lyf phone has come down to around Rs 3000/- and is the cheapest reliable 4G-VoLTE Phone in market other than Jio Feature Phone.

Pros: Price, 4G Support, Jio Plans

Cons: Kai OS due to which there are no third party apps, Lack of touch, lack of accessories.

Cannot tether wifi to other devices


Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Yesterday night, lying on the sofa in our living room I decided to read Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother, perhaps motivated to be a Chinese mother myself after a small quarrel with my wife about the need to get our daughter to sleep early. I started to read and felt bored a little due to the monotonous lecture by author Amy Chua on Chinese way of parenting.

Of course, it is never a book on parenting like a DIY parenting guide available in the market wooing you as an aspiring parent to spend hard earned cash on it, only to realise later that all those things were known to you since childhood while you had your own temper tantrums with your parents. In spite of that this book is on the parenting experience of Amy and the value conflicts she had to go through with her daughters Sophia and Lulu, the book is not primarily about parenting. The book is more about the clashes of the culture faced by immigrants from eastern world to the western world. Their dilemmas when age old traditions and values they believe in is questioned by a different value set of the native population.

Sophia is a typical Chinese kid, who obeys her parents without a question and strives hard to please her parents, especially the Chinese mom. Amy relates it to her Zodiac animal according to Chinese astrology which is monkey.

Intelligent, eloquent, adaptable, flexible. The Wu Xing (Five Elements) sign of the Monkey is Metal (Jin), so the animal stands for brilliance and perseverance. According to Chinese zodiac analysis, people born in a Year of the Monkey always have smart, agile and active characteristics.

The book became interesting the moment Lulu – the second daughter enters the scene. She defies all laws of childhood known to Amy and creates an entirely different crisis for the Chinese mom. Amy continues the battle without compromise with all her weapons to succeed at times and fail at other times. The Zodiac sign Boar comes to play.

Pig is not thought to be a smart animal in China. It likes sleeping and eating and becomes fat. Thus it usually features laziness and clumsiness. On the positive side, it behaves itself, has no plan to harm others, and can bring affluence to people. Consequently, it has been regarded as wealth.

The description pulls us through different achievements by both her daughters Sophia and Lulu and amount of perspiration that has to be put in behind the curtains. The entertainments are denied to the children as a part of Chinese or perhaps Asian parenting style while they are supposed to obey every command without question and work hard on their grades in school as well as in a hobby chosen for them by the parents. Sophia excels in Piano forced upon her and the hours of practice put into her everyday results in a huge success. But Lulu, though she is successful as a violinist, defies the mother with her unwillingness to practice and dislike to follow the path made by her mom.

As a tiger by Zodiac, Amy fights with all the surroundings to end. She fights her children, she fights her family, she fights her colleagues and students to ensure that her daughters always ends up with a podium finish and are sources of applause for the family.

Tigers, considered to be brave, cruel, forceful, stately and terrifying, are the symbol of power and lordliness. In ancient times, people usually compared emperors or grandees with the tiger. Court officials often said that ‘accompanying the emperor is just like being at the side of a tiger’. There are also many legends about this animal.

But, disobedience of Lulu becomes a huge issue for the Chinese mother and it grows day by day. The health issues faced by her own sister adds to the agony. Amy tends to have tantrums which even forces the soft spoken Sophia to react. It all culminates in a fight between Amy and Lulu in a restaurant in Moscow where they have gone for a vacation.

After the huge explosion in the restaurant, Amy reinvents the parenting method and finds that all laws may not be applicable to everyone.

While Amy focuses on Chinese mothers, I would rather say that the basis of this book would have been same for any Asian. Once I heard a story of an Indian father who was punished for beating his son while in Americas, who brought the son to vacation in India to just beat him and show him who sets the rules. Similarly there was an Oslo couple who got divorced and their child was taken over by the state for better protection because the parents used to feed the kid with hands. In India feeding some one with your hands is an epitome expression of love and kindness while abroad it is considered wrong and unhygienic. Thus the culture is sometimes too narrow and law sometimes ignore very fine humane values.

If I have to summarise in a sentence about the book, I would say ‘an interesting book of experience of an immigrant Asian in Americas within the household and the sharp contrast with the view points of their children who are born and brought up in America’. The difference in culture plays the lead role in whole of the book. The Chinese parents concept that the children should be grateful to them and should obey them unconditionally in contrast to independence offered by western parents. Chinese parents belief that they knows better than their children what is best for them. All these cultural aspects comes into the interplay in Battle Hymn.

Post Script:

I am born in the year of Dog and my daughter in the year of Monkey.

As Dogs are not good at communication, it is difficult for them to convey their thoughts to others. Therefore, Dogs tend to leave others with the impression that they have a stubborn personality.



Uniform Civil Code – Outside the Constitution

Please Read the Uniform Civil Code – The Constituent Assembly before reading this for a better understanding. This can be read as a stand-alone article also.

Based on constituent assembly debates, we can see that inclusion of Uniform Civil Code in DPSP was not a random event but by choice after considering all possibilities in the constituent assembly, and not only Muslims but others including Hindus had oppositions to it. But constituent assembly after due deliberations accepted it and most importantly, there were no uniform personal laws among any of the communities in India be it Hindus or Muslims and the prospect of UCC affected all, minorities and majorities alike.

Throughout India, preference for scriptural or customary laws varied, because, in many Hindu and Muslim communities, these were sometimes at conflict; such instances were present in communities like the Jats and the Dravidians. The Shudras, for instance, allowed widow remarriage—completely against to the scriptural Hindu law. The Judicial system during British Raj was leaning towards Brahmanical system as the official Hindu Custom, ignoring the other systems due to convenience as well as due to its wishes to appease the upper castes.

When it comes to Muslims, it is more surprising as the Muslim Personal Law (based on Sharia law), was never strictly enforced in India and had no uniformity in its application at lower courts. Hence, in practice, Muslim customs became often more discriminatory against women. Women, mainly in northern and western India, often were even restrained from property inheritance and dowry settlements allowed by Sharia. The Shariat law of 1937 stipulated that all Indian Muslims would be governed by Islamic laws on marriage, divorce, maintenance, adoption, succession and inheritance putting an end to this.

The Hindu customs were more discriminatory against women as it deprived them of inheritance, remarriage and divorce and the situation of women especially that of Hindu widows and daughters were pathetic. Social reformers from Hindu religion forced the British to bring about changes in this. Thus reforming laws were passed which were beneficial to women like the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act of 1856, Married Women’s Property Act of 1923 and the Hindu Inheritance (Removal of Disabilities) Act, 1928, which in a significant move, permitted a Hindu woman’s right to property, for the first time.

The women associations in India like All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) were desperate about the need for equal status of women and they even criticised the male dominance in the constituent assembly as the reason for the delay in reforms.

In between, there was a Special Marriage (Amendment) Act passed in 1872 that allowed Hindus to go for a civil marriage by renouncing their religion and the right to property. Later this was amended in 1923 to allow marriage either under their personal law or under the act without renouncing their religion as well as retaining their succession rights and extended this to Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains.

The attempts for a Uniform Civil Code started immediately after the independence but was met with stiff opposition from Orthodoxy in Hindu as well as Muslim religions. While a majority of Muslim leaders opposed the reforms, Hindu opinion was divided and there were demands from women’s organisations in India. The government decided to use this opportunity to reform personal laws at the least for Hindus and moved the wishes for Uniform Civil Code to DPSP to ensure its implementation at a later time when the minorities can be convinced.

As Law Minister, B. R. Ambedkar was in charge of presenting the details of this bill and argumentum ad hominem against Ambedkar as he had severely criticised Hindu social structure to the level of abuse, did not help the matters either. Ambedkar’s frequent attack on the Hindu laws and dislike for the upper castes made him unpopular in the parliament.

Apart from that, the Hindu bill itself received much criticism and the main provisions opposed were those concerning monogamy, divorce and inheritance to daughters including the President of India. The fundamentalists called it “anti-Hindu” and “anti-Indian”, and to delay the Hindu Code Bill they demanded a uniform civil code.

Initially, the women members of the parliament, supported the fundamentalists, but reversed their position and backed the Hindu law reform as they realised that allying with the fundamentalists would cause a further setback to their rights in the long run. This was a huge morale booster for Nehru-Ambedkar team.

Due to all the opposition and controversies, Nehru hesitated to move further and it said that Ambedkar threatened Nehru with resignation to persuade him. Finally, a lesser version of Hindu code bill was passed by the parliament in 1956, in the form of four separate acts, the Hindu Marriage Act, Succession Act, Minority and Guardianship Act and Adoptions and Maintenance Act. It was decided to add the implementation of a uniform civil code in Article 44 of the Directive Principles of the Constitution.In 1954, The Special Marriage Act was also passed, to allow civil marriage to any citizen irrespective of religion, thus permitting any Indian to have their marriage outside the realm of any specific religious personal law without renouncing the religion. Under this act polygamy was illegal, and inheritance and succession would be governed by the Indian Succession Act, rather than the respective Muslim Personal Law. Divorce also would be governed by the secular law, and maintenance of a divorced wife would be along the lines set down in the civil law.

The controversy again was raked up during the Shah Bano Case. When Shah Bano aged 73 years was divorced by a triple talaq and was denied maintenance quoting Islamic Law, the honourable Supreme Court had to interfere and provide her with the rights based on the “maintenance of wives, children and parents” provision (Section 125) of the All India Criminal Code, which applied to all citizens irrespective of religion.

There were national level campaigns against the Supreme Court decision. To appease the Muslim minority and put an end to the controversies, the government under Rajiv Gandhi passed the Muslim Women’s (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act in 1986, which made Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code inapplicable to Muslim women.

The politicisation led to argument having two major sides: the Congress and Muslim conservatives versus the Hindu right-wing and the Left. We can see that the politicisation began as a delay tactic for Hindu Code Bill by Hindu fundamentalists and reached its peak in the argument against Shah Bano judgement by Muslim patriarchy.

Ironically, Muslim Personal laws as applied in India right now are “Anglo-Mohammadan” rather than solely Islamic and it is sometimes more regressive than the actual teachings of the Prophet and Quran. It even includes some provisions which are rejected by Islamic countries like triple Talaq. The clergy must be sticking to these laws to ensure their control over the community rather than for any religious reasons. Lower literacy rates in Muslims, lesser social awareness in Muslims and lesser political and social empowerment of Muslim women are the reasons for the continuance of this issue. The religion of Islam does not make it essential for a Muslim to follow the personal law word by word and there is enough scope for Muslim rituals to be practised within Uniform Civil Code off course without limiting the rights of women.

Politicisation and Uniform Civil Code identified as a Right Extremists agenda also created suspicion in the community. Now, we need the educated Muslims to stand up for equal rights, Muslim women to renounce clergy and demand Uniform Civil Code and the secular-minded people to educate as many Muslims as possible about the need for Uniform Civil Code. That is the only hope for an egalitarian society for Muslim women in India.

Uniform Civil Code – The Constituent Assembly

44. Uniform civil code for the citizens.-
The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

A Civil law is a body of rules that delineate private rights and remedies, and govern disputes between individuals in such areas as contracts, property, and Family Law; different from criminal or public law. In India, we already have a set of civil laws. But personal laws are not included in this civil laws. Personal laws are parts of civil laws. Personal laws are distinguished from public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance. In India, we have had different personal laws for different communities according to the customs and practices mandated by their religion and our Constitution makers wanted to change this.

The British, especially after 1857 was afraid of opposition from community leaders and refrained from interfering with the domestic sphere, though they had framed some personal laws for Hindus and Muslims. The demand for a uniform civil code was first put forward by women activists in the beginning of the twentieth century, with the objective of women’s rights, equality and secularism. The conditions of divorce, marriage and inheritance in all communities had its patriarchal design with more say for the men.

There was a demand for Uniform Civil Code from Prime Minister Nehru and women’s activists at the time of independence itself. But it was met with strong opposition in the constituent assembly. Mr Mohamad Ismail Sahib said, “Now the right to follow the personal law is part of the way of life of those people who are following such laws; it is part of their religion and part of their culture.” and he opposed any restriction on it except by choice of the individuals concerned. Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur even said that the article should be for civil laws except for personal laws and from his speech in the constituent assembly he thought the framing committee made this article only for civil laws except for personal laws.

The article in DPSP was opposed not only by Muslims but also by other religious leaders including the Hindus. Some organisations even questioned the right of constituent assembly to regulate such matters. In the words of B. Pocker Sahib Bahadur, “Sir, just like many of you, I have received ever so many pamphlets which voice forth the feelings of the people in these matters. I am referring to many pamphlets which I have received from organisations other than Mussalmans, from organisations of the Hindus, who characterise such interference as most tyrannous. They even question, Sir, the right and the authority of this body to interfere with their rights from the constitutional point of view. They ask: Who are the members of this ConstituentAssembly who are contemplating to interfere with the religious rights and practices? Were they returned there on the issue as to whether they have got this right or not?Have they been returned by the various legislatures, the elections to which were fought out on these issues?”

But K M Munshi gave a balanced reply to these apprehensions presented in Constituent Assembly, “As regards Article 19(Current Article 25) the House accepted it and made it quite clear that-“Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or preclude the State from making any law (a) regulating or restricting”-I am omitting the unnecessary words-” or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practices; (b) for social welfare and reforms”. Therefore the House has already accepted the principle that if a religious practice followed so far covers a secular activity or falls within the field of social reform or social welfare, it would be open toParliament to make laws about it without infringing thisFundamental Right of a minority.
It must also be remembered that if this clause is not put in, it does not mean that the Parliament in future would have no right to enact a Civil Code. The only restriction to such a right would be article 19 and I have already pointed out that article 19, accepted by the House unanimously, permits legislation covering secular activities. The whole object of this article is that as and when the Parliament thinks proper or rather when the majority in the Parliament thinks proper an attempt may be made to unify the personal law of the country.”

He also said “I know there are many among Hindus who do not like a uniform Civil Code because they take the same view as the honourable Muslim Members who spoke last. They feel that the personal law of inheritance, succession etc. is really a part of their religion. If that were so, you can never give, for instance, equality to women. But you have already passed a Fundamental Right to that effect and you have an article here which lays down that there should be no discrimination against sex. Look at Hindu Law; you get any amount of discrimination against women; and if that is part of Hindu religion or Hindu religious practice, you cannot pass a single law which would elevate the position of Hindu women to that of men. Therefore, there is no reason why there should not be a civil code throughout the territory ofIndia.”

Mr K M Munshi also pointed out the presence of different personal laws in Hindus. “Take for instance the Hindus. We have the law of Mayukha applying in some parts of India; we have Mithakshara in others, and we have the law-Dayabagha inBengal. In this way, even the Hindus themselves have separate laws and most of our Provinces and States have started making separate Hindu law for themselves. Are we going to permit this piecemeal legislation on the ground that it affects the personal law of the country? It is therefore not merely a question of minorities but it also affects the majority.”

Ambedkar categorically rejected all the amendments because the amendments will dilute the essence of the article. He quoted examples to show that there is no uniform religious personal law among Muslims of India as claimed. ” My honourable friends have forgotten, that, apart from the North-West Frontier Province, up till 1937 in the rest of India, in various parts, such as the United Provinces, the Central Provinces and Bombay, the Muslims to a large extent were governed by the Hindu Law in the matter of succession. In order to bring them on the plane of uniformity with regard to the other Muslims who observed theShariat Law, the Legislature had to intervene in 1937 and to pass an enactment applying the Shariat Law to the rest ofIndia.
I am also informed by my friend, Shri Karunakara Menon, that in North Malabar the Marumakkathayam Law applied to all not only to Hindus but also to Muslims. It is to be remembered that the Marumakkathayam Law is a Matriarchalform of law and not a Patriarchal form of law.”

He also stated that the article is read in too much depth than wanted, as it is only a directive principle and not legally binding. The arguments were accepted by the constituent assembly of India.

So what I want to say is that 1)all possibilities were discussed in the constituent assembly, 2) not only Muslims but others including Hindus had oppositions to it, 3) but constituent assembly after due deliberations accepted it and most importantly, 4) there was no uniform personal laws among any of the communities in India be it Hindus or Muslims and the prospect of UCC affected all, minorities and majorities alike.

Also, read Uniform Civil Code – Outside the Constitution – A brief history of attempts to implement Uniform Civil Code and why it is opposed.