Analysis | Is the Time Ripe For Uniform Civil Code in India?

| Anita Reddy

Introduction

Those who are keeping a pulse on the current affairs of India will know how vested interests are challenging Democratic Institutions of this country in the last few years. Their primary mode of disruption has been through agitations and Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi Ji had aptly identified them in the Parliament as “Aandolan Jeevis.” But, these disruptions are a small part of a bigger plot against the well-being of the Nation. These agitations are organized, funded, supported, and executed by individuals and institutions that have an agenda against India. They are a nexus of external and internal actors who have a common goal and only one objective – ‘Hegemony over Bharat’ both religiously and otherwise.

The struggles of these forces with Indians are visible today because of the resistance put forth against them by the ruling government in Delhi and various nationalist organizations working round the clock to protect and safeguard the nation. The current situation and facts about these forces could be shocking and scary at the same time for a simple citizen. Some individuals may not even comprehend what is going on behind the curtains. Usually, such struggles are not visible to the citizens when there are Liberal Governments at the helm, as they comply and compromise more often to such forces.

For example, recently, in the United States of America, a Muslim Senator Ilhan Omar has introduced a bill against Islamophobia – the “Combating International Islamophobia Act.” The bill was passed as an Act on 14 December 2021. This act enables the USA to monitor and combat “acts of Islamophobia” and “Islamophobic incitement” in foreign countries through sanctions. The bill tries to gather information about:

(1) Acts of physical violence or harassment of Muslim people,

(2) Instances of propaganda in government and nongovernment media that attempt to justify or promote hatred or incite violence against Muslim people, and

(3) Actions taken by a country’s government to respond to such acts

Some international geopolitics experts even believe that the act could target non-Islamic countries like India and other Nationalist-ruled countries. These changes in the USA are intended to put non-Muslim societies across the world in a dangerous position. Knowing how Islamists use such regulations as a tool, one could say that it is nothing but a gag order on the world coming directly from the USA!

To tackle the ever-changing surroundings India needs to be strong internally and most important stronger constitutionally.

Our Constitution and Amendments

The Indian Constitution is the World’s longest for any sovereign nation on this planet! Our Constitution has 470 articles grouped into 25 parts with 12 schedules and 5 appendixes, excluding the Preamble. The Constitution has been amended 104 times since its enactment on 26 January 1950. The Congress Party has modified the Constitution of India many times since India became the Sovereign Republic. For example, words like ‘Secular’ and ‘Socialist’ were forcibly introduced into the Constitution during the Emergency Period by the Congress Party. These changes were neither debated, deliberated, nor discussed in the Parliament. This even though our Nation got partitioned on religious grounds.

These changes, since then, have been only hurting our prospect as a Prosperous, United, and strong nation that is Bharat. These modifications have created technicalities that are open for interpretation. The Indian Judiciary, from time to time has delivered judgments to fill the gaps and address those technicalities that are causing ambiguity, but there is still more that needs to be done. As a reference, some notable judgments around educational institutions are:

(1)  St. Stephen’S College Etc., Etc. vs The University of Delhi Etc., Etc. on 6 December 1991

(2) T.M.A.Pai Foundation & Ors vs State of Karnataka & Ors on 31 October 2002

(3) Islamic Academy Of Education And … vs the State Of Karnataka And Others on 14 August 2003

Nonetheless, these technicalities and loopholes are being used by vested interests to fuel agitations and attack our Democracy and our way of life. The Hijab Controversy that has erupted in a small coastal town of Udupi in Karnataka and spread across India like wildfire is no different. The agitators are against the prescribed ‘Uniforms’ by Schools and Colleges. In simple terms, they are demanding special treatment as compared to the rest of the Indians.

In this case, the college had framed the rules to govern their institution and one of the rules is the “Uniform Dress Code” for students, this was done through powers vested with them by the very same Constitution. Any educational institution in India has a Constitutional right to frame rules to administer their institution. Now, in this case, the agitators are challenging the very articles of our Constitution against one another to further their religious objectives. In a way, the Indian Democratic Institutions have been playing catch-up to address the endless desires of the Islamist’s Lobby.

Hijab Controversy: Why Now?

The politico-religious controversies involving Islam always had a predetermined objective and an outcome. Once triggered, it twists and turns as the events unfold where sympathizers to the cause and those who want to benefit from the event add fuel to the fire. However, always those who started it stand to gain from the controversy they triggered as they know to manipulate the system. This is why one should never forget about the ‘Political nature of Islam’. Dr. B R Ambedkar had identified the complex nature of Political Islam and had written in detail in his book – ‘Pakistan or Partition of India’, and this is what he had to say:

Islam is a system of social self-government and is incompatible with local self-government because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his but on the faith to which he belongs. To an Islamist the thought 'Ubi panis ibi patria' ("Where there is bread, there is (my) country" )is unthinkable. Wherever there is the rule of Islam, there is his own country. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin.

With this statement beyond any doubt, Dr. Ambedkar states that:

  • Islam does not accept any Constitutional authority over Sharia, despite the claims contrary to this fact by its religious leaders.
  • A true Muslim will not align with a country of his birth unless until such a time that the country has a true rule of Islam. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland!
  • Even if a non-Islamic country gives a true Muslim everything including a safe and prosperous abode he/she cannot call it home as it is unthinkable for them
  • Dr. Ambedkar also debunks the theories of “Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb” or “Jai Bheem-Jai Meem” or “Hindu Muslim Bhai-Bhai”, and says a true Muslim can never accept a non-Muslim as his kith and kin.

Now, that the motivation and their true intent is clarified, the only reason that an Islamist would rely on the Indian Judicial system or the democratic setup is to fulfill their religious demand to create a true Islamic State using the very Constitution that protects and nurtures them and there is no place for a non-Muslim in this ideal state. Therefore, despite what the outcome is in the judicial fight of Hijab Controversy they are progressing towards their goal inch-by-inch, and the Secular State is giving away its control without realizing it.

Hijab row is nothing new, and the Islamic radicals have tried to impose this elsewhere in other democracies of the World, pushing for the complete exclusivity of what the World knows as “the Brotherhood”. For example, they want to enforce exclusivity in food consumed and monetize it (Halal food certification), aim for one language (Urdu) erasing the nativity, personal laws aiming to destroy ecosystems and change demography drastically, education becomes exclusive and different viewpoints are restricted, and finally, dress code that infringes personal freedom of an individual and objectifies women as mere assets.

The question as to why now is actually not correct, as the attacks on the Hindu ethos, people, and culture of this land have never stopped. This attack has been relentless in one way or another, in some part of the country at any given point in time. It is just because the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ has awakened and asked questions about such intrusions it is now visible. Again, thanks to PM Narendra Modi for bringing a truly nationalist government to Delhi. This enabled the people of India to unfreeze and unfurl from the ecosystem’s firm grips to express their thoughts and wishes without fear.

Controversy and its Execution

The instigators of this Hijab Controversy are well-funded through external and internal lobbies, they are connected well with other religious organizations with a questionable background like PFI/CFI and others. Involved parties will always try to take the issue to the next level by whatever means necessary and whether the facts are on their side or not. Once the ground is set to play the victim card, the support structure is established. The work of extended and concealed organization begins without wasting any time.

Now, as time passes the incident is picked up by the community’s Social Media handles. Any associated individuals with considerable influence in the ecosystem along with famous personalities are brought-in to give it further attention so that it comes into prominence in the mainstream media. Soon the issue flashed nationally and internationally, drawing and driving emotions furthermore. Vested interests including some in college campuses of well-known Universities jump in and try to create mass hysteria. The Hijab controversy has the hallmark of all these ingredients.

Their strategy always accounts for resistance, because any resistance creates an opportunity to blow the issue out of proportion and enable them to play a ‘Majority’ vs ‘Minority’ scenario. However, their ideal scenario and expectation is a ‘No Fight’ or ‘No Resistance’ scenario, which serves their ‘Kaum’ best. Once there is no resistance, it enables ‘the Brotherhood’ to push their Religious identity further and deeper into any multi-cultural, secular society, whether the society likes it or not! It is a strategy of pushing the agenda of ‘exclusivity’ inch by inch, and as a result, the opposing or the resisting party will give in to the mounting pressure without their own knowledge, and over time will lose everything.

Another important part of their campaign is individuals who hold sway on public opinion and who pass for their non-Islamic credentials. Traditionally, the Secularist, Leftist, and Bollywood have filled this gap in India. The Left has used this technique regularly to grab power elsewhere, and have a unique name for such individuals; they call them ‘Useful Idiots’ (UI’s). Their job is to create confusion, divide and disperse the ‘Resistance’, and reduce the impact on the instigators.

A Different but Obvious Perspective: Elections!

A politically savvy person will not find the Hijab controversy or its timing surprising. One with a perspective or those who grew up in a village or suburbs of India would know how Hijab is used by students in the classrooms. Nonetheless, the instigating party seems to have timed this incident to perfection, as with all other engineered agitations in India. Be it the JNU’s Tukde-Tukde fiasco, AML Rioting case, Anti-Hindu Riots of Delhi, Anti-CAA and NRC Protests, Shaheen Bagh sit-in, or even the Farmer Protests. Every agitation planned and organized to last detail, like a corporate affair. All these events had stipends for participating individuals, shelter, free food, snacks like pizza shops, entertainment counters, Gyms, and backing of institutions that hate Nationalist and funds that never run out.

This time around, the cabal has found a window where everyone’s attention both Nationally and Internationally are set on the ongoing elections in five Indian states, including the biggest and most important state, Uttar Pradesh which has a large Muslim vote bank. The political pundits believe that Uttar Pradesh decides the fate of the next Lok Sabha elections and hence the importance.

Another important point is the state of Karnataka is under the administration of the BJP and is due to go for Assembly elections in 2023. Certain parties are out of power and want to get back in the driver’s seat of this powerhouse. Statistically speaking Karnataka is the only state in the South where the Congress Party has a considerable presence with formidable leaders in its fold. However, the last decade under PM Modi’s impeccable administration in Delhi has changed the way politics is perceived, by the common man and it has redefined the expectations one should have from political parties. This has severely dented the appeasement politics strategy of Congress and other opposition parties. Their survival in politics means safeguarding their vote bank even at the cost of the nation’s integrity and unity.

The Hijab controversy in Karnataka has a twofold effect, one where it will have an impact on Muslim vote banks in states that are going for polls starting 10th February 2022. Two, Karnataka is not far behind with the election cycle, the state will go to polls in 2023 one year ahead of the Lok-sabha elections of 2024. Karnataka also contributes a large share of MP seats for BJP. In the last General Elections out of 28 seats, BJP managed to win 26 seats, which is a tremendous achievement considering BJP’s limited presence in the other South Indian States.

Uniform Civil Code as a Solution

The solution to stop the cleverly deceptive ‘Political Islam’ from continuously challenging our Constitution is to make it ‘null and void’ through Uniform Civil Code (UCC). India already has a Uniform Criminal Code that is the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and applies to every citizen equally irrespective of his or her caste, creed, religious beliefs, political inclinations, or financial status.

However, the challenge India faces today is through existing laws that restrict the easy implementation of UCC. This law is known as, “The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937,” has not been modified since it was implemented. The effectively restrict anyone who is a non-Muslim from making any amendments to align Muslim Personal Laws to the Democratic Values of India.

This concept is not new as many democratic countries have already employed it in various shapes and forms.

France

France being a noteworthy mention of this achievement of dealing with the situation head-on by calling a Spade, ‘Spade’. France banned Hijab in 2011 with heavy fines on those who violated this law, and they even banned a controversial outfit called ‘Burkini’, which is head to toe swimming dress that Islamists introduced. They were able to deal with Political Islam in such a way that it does not affect the French Republic and its culture adversely. They have taken the Muslim Clerics into confidence to ensure their preaching is not in conflict with the core values of the French People.

Netherlands

A country like the Netherlands, which is a strong proponent of Human Values and “Freedom of Expression”, has banned Burqa and Niqab in Public Transportation, Government buildings, educational institutions, and Health Institutions in 2019 and imposed heavy fines against anyone violating. However, an Islamic Political Party took it upon itself to pay the fine of €150 on behalf of those who are in violation of the law. Again, this example proves what Dr. Ambedkar had analyzed and written about the state of an individual, who believes himself/herself to be a true Muslim and who is living in a non-Islamic country.

Switzerland

In 2021, Switzerland banned Burqa as it symbolizes oppression of Women. The majority of Swiss people voted for this ban and the people who backed the ban said it is a basic principle of any individual to present themselves in public without covering their faces and it is essential for a free society.

Sri Lanka

Following the Terrorist Attack during Easter by Radical Islamists, the country’s Cabinet approved a Burqa ban citing National Security Threat.

Belgium

On 31 March 2010, the Belgian Chamber Committee on the Interior unanimously approved legislation instating a nationwide ban on wearing the burqa in public. The law passed unanimously citing security challenges where police were unable to identify people in public, which was causing national security issues. Anyone who breaks or violates the law can be jailed for up to 7 days. Many European and Asian countries have banned face-covering, as it’s used more often than not by criminal elements for illegal activities.

Summary

To summarize, the protests were designed to draw national and international attention, garner support, and receive funds. We might even see a ‘Shaheen Bagh’ like sit-in somewhere in India to push their religious agenda. Analyzing these protests, it appears like a double-edged sword; a swing in any direction will result in a win for the ‘Kaum’ at the cost of Bharat and Hindus, while the so-called Secular and Liberal lobby and the Lutyens Media benefits from the bout.

Nonetheless, the only way to tackle the situation is to address it head-on, with people’s participation in large numbers, and to treat the political nature of the issue on its face value. Thus, disarming this symbolic sword hanging over India altogether is essential. We should be ready to fight for the cause – that is Bharat and her future. This will not be the first or the last controversy that will be thrown at India. We will witness many such polarizing issues before the 2024 general elections.

(The author is an entrepreneur and Secretary, BJP Mahila Morcha, Bengaluru North District. Views and opinions expressed are author’s own)

References

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