Hype around UCC reeks of a political design

Regarding the Uniform Civil Code, there ought to exist an atmosphere where the Muslims  feel safe and secure and not wary of the  ‘right-wing agenda’ moves to strip them of their very  identity.

Muslims in the country are shocked to hear the right-wing rulers of the country talking so enthusiastically of implementing the Uniform Civil Code!

It seems a well planned strategy. Before the 2017 elections in Uttar Pradesh, television  channels had started holding elaborate discussions on Triple Talaq, building  up the hype for  the Uniform Civil Code.

Regarding the Uniform Civil Code, there ought to exist an atmosphere where the Muslims  feel safe and secure and not wary of the  right-wing agenda that moves to strip them of their very  identity.

Today, Indian Muslims are wary of the right-wing, with adequate reasons for this aversion. Facts and figures go to show that Muslims are positioned in the most disadvantaged position, right from government jobs to educational facilities. Not to overlook the biases cum myths cum misconceptions against them. The basic conditions have only worsened for the community in these recent years. Discriminations and disparities and insecurities are increasing.

Today, as steady deterioration spreads out on several fronts, affecting the masses, when I’m asked  what’s the difference between a  Muslim poor and a Hindu poor, my answer is this:  no difference except that the  Muslim is surviving amidst  insecurity. Yes, the Indian Muslim is apprehensive, living in fear. Mind you, not from his fellow countrymen but from terror unleashed in the form and shape of goon brigades, political mafia, and the blatant biases spreading around.

Muslims cannot openly voice their disgust or dissent for fear of the aftermath. They could be branded militants or anti-nationals. Apprehensive is the Muslim community, as dents mount on the very identity of the Muslims.

Gone are the days of living-on-par. The anti-Muslim propaganda is not just on, but gaining momentum, getting well seeped into psyches. The Muslim is viewed with suspicion. And this hatred and distrust for the Muslim is on the rise. And if one were to read the disparities that the Muslim faces on any given front – housing, education, jobs, healthcare – you would realize the biases and discriminations. The Muslim sits disadvantaged; like a second class citizen. Elements of insecurity are bound to creep in, paving way for the connected aftermath. And the double or triple whammy is that since the Muslim is near-shunned and with that forced to survive in a ghetto. So where is the chance of  intermingling and getting to know the community! Also, shrinking are the forums and platforms from where he or she could be heard. This in itself is a worrying sign.

With this in the background or foreground, BJP–RSS’s ‘concern’ for the Muslim women seems unbelievable! Those who seem obsessed with the so-called ‘triple talaq’ ought to shed layers of hypocrisy! Instead, travel to the homes of the lynch victims and see for themselves the plight of their widows and children. Also, BJP rulers have done little to arrest rapists and tormentors of Muslim women during the 2002 Gujarat pogrom and also during the  Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 and  in the other riotous conditions where goon brigades targeted the Muslim community!

I would also point out the two very basics: If the right-wing had been even one percent  genuine in their  concern for the Muslim women, there’d be no rioting. To be nearer precision, riots wouldn’t get manufactured! Each time a riot is ‘made’ to occur, the worst affected is the minority community, definitely the women and children. Reports on riots show this hard-hitting reality. The aftermath of riots is so severe in certain locales that the affected are too petrified to even speak out!

The ‘Triple Talaq’ issue was played up to such an extent that it reeked of a political agenda. Foremost, Triple Talaq is un-Quranic and with that un-Islamic, so it isn’t a religious issue but more along the social strains. Not to be overlooked is this basic factor – Muslim community in today’s political scenario is going through very harsh times. Compounding the mess, the Hindutva forces seem to be making sure that more Muslim men sit jobless if not arrested along the range of alibis. Hundreds of Muslim men are languishing in jails and prisons in the country … These deteriorating conditions have a trickle-down effect.

It gets relevant to mention that the notion of  Triple Talaq is played up although such incidents, of  men divorcing  their wives in this bizarre fashion, are rare and against the very  essence of Islam. Needless to  say that if and when such  incidents take place, they are  blown  out  of  proportion and the  impression that’s relayed  is that  the Muslim men are  a barbaric lot and their women a herd of cattle!  Needless to add that today’s political rulers miss no opportunity to paint ‘Islam’ in all  possible negative shades. Why has this propaganda been allowed to flourish?  This could be  because the Indian Muslims  are lagging on the socio-economic front, and together with that there’s a  lack of confidence  to  counter  the communal elements in the  very  governance. Also, actual issues get lost in an atmosphere where only non-issues are allowed to flourish, so much so it’s become highly fashionable to bash Islam! A national pastime!


Another fall-out of the political climate of the day is that ghettoization is on the rise. Though this trend has been on for years, it has picked up, in keeping with the communal virus spreading out.

Muslim families are living under that constant fear of right-wing goon brigades attacking their women and children. And with that, men folk also put restrictions on the woman and  children moving away from homes without a male escort. Patriarchal holds have furthered in these recent years. Also, a considerable rise in the school drop put figures, more so in localities where schools are not too close to the ghettos.


 The  reality is that  Islam has actually  provided  enough  guidelines and  precautions and codes  of conduct  but most sit unaware. As Zeenat Shaukat Ali, who was teaching Islamic Studies  at Mumbai’s St  Xaviers, had  put  across: “Wrong interpretations and then wrong perceptions are  given.”

And as Danial Latifi had detailed  the  crucial ‘why’ he  had  decided  to  take up  the controversial Shah Bano case. I quote from the interview he gave  me, “I found  Shah Bano  to be an over smart woman who took  full mileage out of the  case. Why did I take up her case? It  was not as though I opted to  fight for her…I was watching  the  proceedings  of this case  with a  whole  galaxy  of  lawyers, including  the then Chief  Justice of India, Justice  Chandrachud . It was then,  whilst  her  case was  being  argued by a  junior lawyer, that the chief  justice  intervened  and asked  me,  why don’t  I, as a senior  lawyer, fight  for  her. So I had no choice but to fight  for her.”

 Latifi had made  it very clear that  Shah Bano  had got her due  maintenance on the basis and  “strength of Quran’s provisions.”  

As he’d detailed to me, “First of all, despite the contrary  belief, marriage is a very serious business  in  Islam. Coming to the chapter on talaq, it is this chapter that lays down all the  details including the procedure for talaq and the  importance given to the arbitration aspect and, of course, the  maintenance aspect.  The fact is that triple talaq is un-quranic. In fact,  one  particular line from the  Quran  – wa  lil  mutha  laqati  mataun bil  maroof  haqqam alal  mutaqqin (unto the divorced  woman, a  provision  that  is  reasonable  in the  eyes  of  God,  is  obligatory, an  obligation for the   righteous ) – is enough to   provide  her  status and a decent  maintenance. And  whilst  fighting  for the  Shah Bano case, I quoted this  line and   the  minute I showed this  line to the chief  justice, he said that line was enough to get her due, her maintenance. So Shah Bano got her due maintenance on the strength of Quran’s provisions.”

Latifi was  against the Common or the Uniform  Civil  Code and  blamed the BJP for  making  it  into some sort of  a political  issue – “I  repeat that I’m not in favour of a Common Civil  Code. It is not needed . Also, because  it  has  become a political  issue and the  BJP and  its  allies  are  looking for an  issue and want to  rake  it  up. I personally feel the Muslims do not need it.”



The  New Delhi sociologist of  international repute,  who passed away  last month, Professor Imtiaz Ahmad, was absolutely firm and constant in his stand against the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code. He’d spoken out that it’s another of right-wing ploys to cause upheavals and disruptions. Also, his  basic argument  against the  Uniform Civil  Code was this: There  is  no   uniform definition  of marriage in the communities, so why and  how will the Uniform Civil Code be implemented! Not to be overlooked is the basic fact that for the Muslim community, marriage is a contract.


Whilst on the Uniform Civil Code I have been speaking to a cross section. And all the Muslims I’d spoken to, are totally against the Uniform Civil Code. They told me the Quran carries ample provisions to safeguard the rights of the women in situations of divorce and maintenance and connected factors.

They do not want any changes or interference in their Personal Laws. Also, they do not trust this ‘sarkar’, as blows and dents are inflicted on the Muslim community on a daily basis and their very identity and survival is at stake. The young Muslims sounded very upset as the blatant targeting and communal assaults on them by the right-wing brigades are increasing and yet there is no protection or remedy from the government.