By Sushil Kutty
Himachal Pradesh votes to elect a new government in a couple of days and the debate over Uniform Civil Code is all over the hills, and in the apple orchards. Only the BJP feels the need to come out with the promise of a Uniform Civil Code every time there’s an election. Other political parties are happy keeping the minority ‘male’ Muslim in good humour.
That said, Indian Muslims are unlike the Muslims of other worlds. When in the GCC, the Indian Muslim feels liberated, he feels at home. Talking about Pakistani Muslims makes Indian Muslims feel indulgent. A warm glow envelopes them when in the company of Pakistani Muslims.
It does not strike Indian Muslims at all that minorities of Pakistan are not pampered like they are in India. And it is a rare Indian Muslim who gets drawn to the plight of the minority Hindu, Sikh or Christian of Pakistan.
There is no outpouring of grief if a Hindu/Sikh/Christian girl is kidnapped, forcibly converted and married off to a Pakistani Muslim.
The news just flies off the forehead of the Indian Muslim. But an atrocity happens to a Pakistan Muslim anywhere in the world and the Indian Muslims comment in droves. The power of the Ummah brotherhood is like a strong gale coming off the ocean like its tail was on fire.
But you cannot blame them anymore than you can blame yourself for wanting a feeling of fraternity. The uniform civil code in Pakistan in the form of the Sharia keeps Pakistan a single unified block.
In fact, compare India to Pakistan, and Pakistan is more unified than India will ever be. Fact is, it is not geography which keeps a country intact and whole, it are the people who keep a nation a single whole, all the diverse people bound to each other by a single set of laws.
It is like the ‘omerta’ that keeps the mafia under a single threat of silence or face death. It’s like the ‘black dot’ which kept the pirates of Robert Louis Stevenson in ‘Treasure Island’ unified and together till the seagulls went to bed, which was never.
Pakistan’s Sharia for all Pakistanis irrespective of minority or majority keeps Pakistan unified and all Pakistanis living together. India’s diversities including personal laws keep Indians divided, and the government India forever brokering peace treaties between India’s divided people.
India is a soft state in more ways than one. And the so-called Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party is the weakest link in the quest to unify India and bring a sense of unity among Indians. The BJP lies through its teeth and keeping to its nature which is peculiarly “north Indian”, the lies are predominantly white lies.
The BJP, which has so far not succeeded in breaking its north India mould, how can it absorb and unify north Indian and south Indian forget Hindu and Muslim? And the ruling BJP in Himachal Pradesh is the latest BJP state unit to promise to bring in a Uniform Civil Code if the Hindus vote the BJP to power once more, twice in a row, which the ‘Himachali’ is not always prone to do.
The BJP thinks the promise of UCC will unify the Hindus behind its duplicitous back! Of course, the opposition calls it a gimmick, which it is. Hindus are notoriously fickle and least trusted to remain together. Religion never unified Hindus and nowadays Hinduism itself is being questioned as an existing entity!
Also, the Hindus are convinced the BJP is fooling because uniform civil code is for the centre to decide. The electorate of Himachal Pradesh isn’t bothered about who comes to power? It sees no difference between the BJP and the Congress. And everybody knows the Uniform Civil Code is a BJP bogey, just like the “hijab is essential religious practice” is a bogey floated by the now banned Popular Front of India.
Going into the last leg of the poll campaign, the BJP is a nervous bunch in Himachal Pradesh. Quite a few BJP functionaries have rebelled and left the party and Narendra Modi has to fight Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the absence of Rahul Gandhi whose Bharat Jodo Yatra is another headache for Modi. The BJP cannot and shouldn’t be trusted on the matter of Uniform Civil Code. Period. (IPA Service)