A Public Appeal has been issued by the Law Commission of India, Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India on 19th March 2018 which reads: “Any Individual/Organization (Government or Non-Government) may send their submissions in the form of consultation/discussion/working papers, on any of the issues pertaining to Uniform Civil Code (except the issue relating to triple Talaq, which is pending before the parliament) to the Member Secretary, Law Commission of India….”
I am of the opinion that a common set of laws for one and all citizens of the Republic of India will not suit. This move will not bring the sufferings of the Indian Citizens to an end; rather it may cause widespread sufferings and chaos, problems and confusions in a large and multicultural country like India. I, therefore, totally oppose the idea of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
The beauty of the Republic of India lies in diversity and multiplicity not in uniformity, as each Indian adopts, speaks and follows a particular culture, language and religion utilizing the rights provided in the Indian Constitution, in accordance with his/her own desire and wish, in different states of India. Unity in diversity is India’s identity. If the UCC is introduced, the country will lose its identity and beauty. Generally, it’s observed in India, every morning and evening, Sankh is blown in Hindus’ Temples, Azaan is called in Muslims’ Mosques and Bells are rung in Christians’ Churches. Similarly, other activities take place in worshiping places of Sikhs, Buddhists etc. Likewise, among different sections of the people in India, we witness the marriage, distribution of inheritance and many dealings taking place consistent with their cultures and religious guides. The people of different Indian states with different colours and cultures, as we observe on Republic Day and Independence Day present before the Red Fort and demonstrate their cultural activities proudly and the spectators enjoy it. To me, it enhances the identity and the beauty of India.
India is not a home of few individuals where Common Law could be introduced so easily. A logical question arises here, what we are going to include and what we are going to exclude in this set of laws known as the UCC? As it’s impossible to respectfully include all the cultural and religious rites followed in India, in the UCC, it’s also an uphill task to adopt the laws of a particular religion and impose it on all Indian citizens forcefully. Indians, be they Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or Budhists, are very sensitive and strong regarding their faith and beliefs, culture and rites. None of them will ever compromise in regard to their religious and ritual affairs. Moreover, India does not comprise only the aforesaid religious followers; but it has several tribal communities too, in various regions of the country, which also cannot compromise regarding their traditions and customs as they perform it from centuries back. I opine that if we move even an inch for the UCC, it means we are inviting a calamity and tragedy that will befall upon us and it will not end any problem.
It’s established fact that practicing multi cultures, multi languages and multi religions by different people is not disturbing for us Indians at all. The most disturbing thing for us, as responsible citizens of India, is growing number of illiteracy and unemployment. It is well-known that unemployment is a major cause of poverty. Our poverty and illiteracy are black spots, in this modern age, on the face of our country and its leaders. The first priority of the Indian Government must be reducing illiteracy and poverty rate among the citizens. It’s also the need of hour for the government to address scores of major issues, because of which the common people are suffering, like the issues of “Law & Order”, “Safety of Women”, “Unemployment”, Lacking of Educational Institutions”, and “Suicide by Farmers” so that every Indian can live a peaceful life without any hurdle and obstacle.
Very frequently we face communal violence as these days we see it in West Bengal and Bihar, because of a fistful people with vested their interests, and the government fails to control it, as we have poor “Law and Order” management. Almost each day we read some news or watch on television about some women being insulted, molested and raped by anti-social elements on roads, in market places and even in moving public transports, like buses, trains etc., but the government is unable to provide adequate security to control such occurrence.
The youths are struggling to find bread and butter for themselves as most of them are jobless and unemployed. They are performing the duty of “Cow Vigilantes” as they don’t have jobs and employments, isn’t it an irony? To me, unemployment is major cause of poverty. Regrettably, poverty has become an issue of great worry and anxiety for any sensible citizen, as our country ranks 97th in the list of poverty stricken countries. It’s shocking that our country goes below the level of Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in terms of providing food to its citizens. In regard to the Indian Population, the existing educational institutes are in unsatisfactory number; whereas it is the responsibility of the government to deliver basic and higher education to one and all citizens, even living in remote areas to elevate the living standard of the citizens and to provide food to the poor, as it is recommended under article 45 of the constitution. We have observed that several farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka, Maharashtra and other stats of the country, but the government has not yet taken any major step to resolve their problems. Isn’t it grave situation, as we witness? Our brave retired army officers are demanding for the OROP, but the government has failed to meet their demand. How the youths would be encouraged joining the army? Isn’t it a pity?
Actually, it’s an old habit of the Indian government, either of any political party or alliance, to avoid the real issues making non-issue a major issue to rule over without accountability on its services and performance for the nation and its honourable citizens. Its living example is thinking about the UCC, which will not benefit us economically or educationally, rather it will cause an endless chaos in a multi-cultural, multi-language and multi-religious country like India, then what is the need to move for the UCC? Shocking!
As a responsible citizen, I respect and back the existing Secular Constitution of India. I don’t feel the UCC in the favour of our beloved nation as a whole; therefore, I totally oppose the move of the UCC in our beautiful country India.
(The author is head of Islamic Studies Department, MRTS, Zambia, Africa)