India’s uniform Civil code

The furious furore on Uniform Civil Code in the recent times has grabbed the national attention with mainstream politics and media actively supporting its implementation. As the “Nation wants to know,” it is often better to look beyond the romanticised version of UCC. Going by the definition, which is not so far defined exactly, the term refers to the concept of an invariant law code in India. According to the same set of civil laws will be used to govern all people irrespective of their caste, creed, and religion.

Taking its roots in the article 44 of the Indian constitution where “the state shall endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India” included in the Directive Principles of the State Policy, it provides a provision for the future implementation of an integrated civil code.

Considering the diversity and plurality of Indian culture, it is a herculean task to develop a structural framework which is inclusive of all the major laws of various religions. Chances are there for a majoritarian religion to become the centre of focus and the laws and policies will be based on that religion. By taking into account, the recent attempts of saffronisation since the Bharatiya Janata Party came into power and the attacks on minorities and intellectuals, the claim regarding gender justice and how far it can be achieved is highly questionable.

The Uniform Civil Code by the aura appears to be the most elegant and civilised way of imposing a uniform code supposedly to bring equality and justice for all people. It’s aged from Ambedkar and Nehruvian era, discussing the possibilities of its implication. But in a secular country like India where the freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution, with 1.32 billion people following diverse customs and beliefs, how far the committee can be neutral is a debatable aspect.

The recent clamour on UCC begins with Shayara Bano (vs the Union of India), a Muslim woman who got divorced through a letter, challenging Triple Talaq on the grounds of violation of fundamental rights in the Supreme Court. Though regulations are required to ban Triple Talaq, the crucial question on why the debate on UCC centres only on the Triple Talaq and Nikah Halala while discrimination can also be seen in Hindu laws regarding the entry of women into certain temples exposes the hidden Hindu nationalist agenda repercussions of which, seen in beef ban and the intolerant remarks of “nationalist” leaders.

When the country is ruled by a political party with a religious inclination, it is obvious that the religious minorities might fear the imposition of Hindutva agenda that has been propagated so far through whatever medium available. It is quite impossible to prepare a framework that stands alone and the idea of inclusiveness; how far can it be taken into consideration puts forth the difficulty in bringing out a uniform code.

The idea of a Common Civil Code instead of a mandatory Uniform Civil code is an alternative, that can be pondered upon considering the present scenario. The common code should be a blanket term addressing all the major issues like marriage, divorce and inheritance rights and this code should be made an important provision in the constitution allowing all the citizens to have access to it if personal laws fail to address their problem. The common code should be made as last resort which people can adhere to, whenever basic human rights are denied.

The proposal for a uniform code appears to be a utopian dream in the ongoing situation with widespread opposition by All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Congress party. Though it can effectively resolve the issues of gender inequality and discrimination up to certain extend if adopted with pragmatic measures, the vehement objection by different groups compels for a fresh look into the issue.

As Uniform Civil Code cannot be enforced as a compulsory law, another possible way is to suggest recommendations whereby regulations can be made within the religious communities by amending their personal laws, which will become a reality only with a bit of stir within the community.

So, the best way is to begin within the communities first instead of going for a Universal Civil Code. It is the need of the hour for the younger generation of various communities to look beyond the horizons set by the rigorous religious practices and to question the “unquestionable” aspects.

Published in

http://news.theeditingstartup.in/india

http://acjnewsline.org

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Infinite woes of eternal vigilantes

By Anjana Girish, Musarrat Ullah Jan  and Riya Mathews

Pichumani, a photographer for The Hindu has been coming to the Apollo hospital for the past four days. He is given a slot between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to take the photographs, while seven others were also allotted in shifts.

Throughout 24 hours, a vigilant photographer keeps awake to tell what happens, whether it is the frequent visits of government authorities or the commotion caused by the frantic crowd.

It has been more than 12 days since the Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo hospital and the national and local media are covering the issue with undue gusto.

Standing outside the hospital entrance in the stipulated area, Pichumani spoke about the ‘tough time’ covering the assignment as there was no shelter allocated for the media, forcing them to run off,  when there was a shower, to protect their equipment  besides, facing mosquito bites at night.

Though the Chief Minister is in ventilator, no authentic information regarding her health has been revealed to the public. He further says “some people know what is happening but they do not want to talk”, as the intelligence Squad thoroughly keeps an eye on the defaulters.

Unlike other Indian states, Tamil Nadu government does not want the public to know what is happening, thinks Savitri, a correspondent at Asianet News.  Being worked in Delhi bureau, she has seen party spokespersons, Secretary of concerning departments providing solid information regarding various matters.

“If there is no Jayalalithaa, the spokespersons do not know what to tell”, she says detailing the ‘one man show’ happening in the Tamil Nadu politics. Quoting C.R. Saraswathi, party spokesperson who said, “Amma is like a commander, and we are a part of her army”, Savitri further reinstates the identity politics that grips the state.

The tension surrounding Jayalalithaa’s health amounts to the fewer number of press releases. For the first ten days, only three press releases which carry just two lines were given to the media. Only after facing huge criticism, a detailed report was made available. The absence of medical bulletin also intensifies scaremongering.

Savitri has been staying in Chennai right from the day Chief Minister was admitted to the hospital. As many of the happenings occur during late nights, her schedule extends from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. with preparation for packages. Though it is a part of job, she feels ‘tragic’ in ‘disseminating’ information from inside the hospital.

She thinks that it is not ethical to release the videos and photographs of Jayalalithaa as it may be an intrusion into her privacy but the concerned authorities are required to provide a general outline regarding her health.

M. Prakash who works for News 18 Kerala spoke about the importance of authenticity in covering the issue. “There is need for accuracy while reporting”, he says. He thinks that it is the responsibility of media to give authentic information.

He is a part of 20 member team that report on the hospitalization of Jayalalithaa. For the past two days, he has been covering the matter which caught the attention of national media with the absence of proper updates from the concerned officials.

“Our schedule starts at six by coordinating among everyone, to discuss the important event for the day”, says Ashish who works for India Today. Obtaining information has been difficult in Chennai but despite knowing that Jayalalithaa’s health is recovering from the previous medical bulletin, he says that there is always scope for new updates.

“There is no time frame on how we’re working outside the hospital but we must keep a watch on everyone coming inside and out from the hospital like how the chief secretary, political adviser of the chief minister, few other senior bureaucrats and ministers came to visit today which is a significant development. The chief secretary visiting a sick Chief Minister, it means there is some kind of improvement in her health” says Dhananjay from E TV.

Kishore who works at Eenadu, a telugu newspaper says that they are in touch with the Public Relations Officer of Apollo hospital, doctors, government officials, few secretaries and political leaders for obtaining more information regarding Jayalalithaa’s health condition. They have to verify, crosscheck, develop multiple sources and only then utilise it to know how authentic the given information is. Further, he thinks that one must be a jack of all trades and master of none to excel in the field of journalism.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital on 22nd September, since then no detailed information regarding her health was provided by the officials. This grabbed the heed of national media and over 60 news media has reached the hospital to report it.

 

Cauvery; Certain facts and figures

With growing protest over the Cauvery water, the decades- long dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu takes a drastic turn following the Supreme Court ruling of September 6. Amid the concerns regarding low water level at reservoirs, Karnataka was asked to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu for 10 days. This worsened the scenario with vehicles being burned, Kannadigas and Tamils being attacked in the respective states. Though a number of rulings were followed, the state of unrest concerning the matter hasn’t changed.

Here’s what has happened over the years.

Some facts about Cauvery

The river, 802 km long, originated in Talakaveri in Kodagu district flows through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and reaches the Bay of Bengal through Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery river basin covers an area of 81155 square kilometres with 43856 sq. Km in Tamil Nadu, 34273 sq.km in Karnataka, 2866 sq. km in Kerala and 160 sq. km in Puducherry.

It happened way back…

The Cauvery issue took its genesis in the two agreements made in 1892 and 1924 by Madras Presidency and Mysore during the British rule. The matter was taken in the court after independence as both states were dissatisfied with the agreement which was valid for 50 years. Following years, petitions were filed and a number of judgements were made much to the discontent of states.

During 1970s, Cauvery Fact finding Committee found that over the years, Tamil Nadu’s irrigated land was grown from 1,440,000 acres to 2,580,000 acres whereas Karnataka’s irrigated land area 680,000 acres remained same. This raised an upper claim for Tamil Nadu. In the study conducted by Central government in 1972, Tamil Nadu has utilised 489 one thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of Cauvery water while Karnataka has used only 177 tmc ft.

In 1990, Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was constituted by centre to conduct a detailed study on the issue and the Tribunal made the final award in 2007. According to that, Tamil Nadu would be given 419 tmc ft, Karnataka with 270 tmc ft, Kerala with 30 tmc ft and Puducherry with 7 tmc ft of Cauvery water. Both governments challenged the decision in Supreme Court. But no adequate recommendations were made that would be acceptable by the governments.

Since then disputes happen whenever Karnataka fails to provide required quantity of water to Tamil Nadu. Many a times, severe drought coupled with the failure of monsoon adversely affected Karnataka causing them to reduce water supply. In the year 1991, 2001 and 2012 owing to lesser rainfall, there was  water shortage in Karnataka particularly in Mandya.

Present Scenario

This year both the states received less rainfall during the monsoon. Tamil Nadu government filed a petition in the Supreme Court as there was a deficit of 50.0052 tmc ft of water received from Karnataka. The verdict on September created an uproar with Cauvery Horata Samiti activists and farmers blocking roads in Mandya protesting SC ruling. The judgement was further modified to a reduced amount of 12000 cusecs per day till September 20th.

The protest continued and the Cauvery supervisory committee on 19th Sept. asked Karnataka to release 3000 cusecs of water per day from 21 to 30 Sept. But the apex court on considering Tamil Nadu’s plea to save its Samba paddy fields doubled the quantity of water, making it 6000 cusecs of water per day to be issued from 21st to 27th of Sept.

But the Karnataka legislature in the special session passed a resolution on 23rd Sept. to release water only for meeting the basic concerns of Bengaluru and Cauvery basin.

Key problem

The less rainfall owing to bad monsoon has reduced the water storage of four reservoirs as low as 27.6 tmc ft. The primary reservoir in the Cauvery basin, Krishna Raja Sagara and the other reservoirs like Hemavathy, Harangi and Kabini were half empty adversely affecting agricultural practices of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The absence of Cauvery Management Board and a regulatory authority intensified the dispute happening between the neighbouring states.

What’s next?

A sustainable agricultural solution should be made for the Cauvery basin. There should be more non-political initiatives like ‘Cauvery Family’ to resolve the issues related to it. A committee should be formed with members from both the states to diplomatically handle the turmoil.

(With inputs from The Hindu, The Financial Express)

Published in http://theeditingstartup.in/news/lets-talk-about-cauvery/

A soliloquy

I wish

I was half as fair as you were being

Not just to you

At least to me

To my soul.

 

I was too naïve

as I couldn’t figure out

What you meant

When you spoke me,

Of relationship.

To define is to constrain

But that wasn’t the reason ever.

Maybe a rookie

That I felt myself to be.

 

I’ve failed in many ways

Absolutely,

Utterly,

For the choices I made

But you shattered me rather

With the verses I never read

And the untold glance that peeped through

my psyche

which still strips my soul…

ഒരു പരേതന്‍റെ വിലാപങ്ങള്‍

ഹൃദയമില്ലാത്തവന്‍ കേട്ടു മടുത്ത പല്ലവിയില്‍ ചിന്തയുറപ്പിച്ചു പോയി ഞാന്‍ എന്നോ.   പച്ചമാംസത്തിനായി വിറളി പൂണ്ട തിരെക്കുകള്‍ക്കിടയില്‍, അഭിമാനപുരസരം അരുംകൊല ചെയ്യുന്ന കാട്ടാളന്‍മാര്‍ക്കിടയില്‍, മുപ്പതു വെള്ളികാശിനായി ഒറ്റിയ യുദാസുകള്‍ക്കിടയില്‍, പോയ്മുഖമണിഞ്ഞ നരിക്കൂട്ടങ്ങള്‍ക്കിടയില്‍, ഇന്നലെകളോ നാളെയോ നാളെയോ ഇല്ലാതെ അടക്കിവെച്ച ഗദ്ഗദവുമായി ഒരു … Continue reading ഒരു പരേതന്‍റെ വിലാപങ്ങള്‍

സ്പന്ദനം

എഴുതി തുടങ്ങുകയാണ്.  പാതി വഴിയില്‍ നിലച്ച അദ്ധ്യാക്ഷരങ്ങള്‍ തേടി, പാടാന്‍ മറന്ന കിളിയായി, ഒരു പഥികന്‍റെ യാത്ര. എവിടേക്ക് എന്നറിയാതെ ….

അക്ഷരങ്ങളെ പ്രണയിച്ചു ഒരു ബാല്യം എനിക്കുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ഒരു തുണ്ട് കടലാസില്‍  വാക്കുകള്‍ കോറിയിട്ട്, ഉറൂബിനെയും ബഷീര്‍നെയും മനസ്സിലേറ്റിയ കാലം.

പാഠപുസ്തകങ്ങള്‍ മാര്‍ക്കു സഞ്ചികള്‍ മാത്രമായപ്പോള്‍  വായന മരവിച്ചതറിയാതെ ഞാനും നടന്നു നീങ്ങി. മുന്‍പേ നടന്നവര്‍ക്ക് പിന്നാലെ അന്ധമായ കണ്ണുമായി, കാലത്തിന്‍റെ ചിതയില്‍ വെന്തെരിയാന്‍ ഒരുപ്പിടി സ്വപ്‌നങ്ങള്‍ മാത്രം ബാക്കിവെച്ചു, പാതി നിദ്രയിലാണ്ട മനസുമായി ഞാന്‍ അലഞ്ഞു തിരിഞ്ഞു. പറഞ്ഞു പഠിപ്പിച്ച സിദ്ധാന്തങ്ങളും കേട്ട് മടുത്ത വിജയ രഹസ്യങ്ങളും എന്നെ നിര്‍ജ്ജീവമാക്കിയിരിക്കുന്നു.

ഇനിയും നിലക്കാത്ത  ചില സ്പന്ദങ്ങള്‍  എന്‍റെ ഉള്ളിലുണ്ട്. കാലം മായിക്കാത്ത മുറിപ്പാടുകളും.

ഈ  യാത്ര ഇവിടെ തുടരുകയാണ്.ബോധിവൃക്ഷം തേടിയുള്ള അടിയന്‍റെ  പ്രയാണം..

 

Do you have a dream?

A simple question often reciprocated with a common cliche of course, Yes. But on delving beyond the surface, it could be easily understood that in a long way of balancing life between passion and possession, we give up what it was close to our heart for the sake of living a life others dreamt of, not ours. In this hectic schedule, we conveniently forget what we dreamed when we were young and thus the audacious ‘Schumacher’ in the early childhood becomes unenthused office employ. A typical story of most of the people or the reiterated tale of the generations to come.

Once we all had that beautiful vision where everything turns possible. but slowly as we grew up, we lost that thread which carries us to the realm of fancy and imagination as we get caught in more “practical” matters that will take us into that comfortable zone where we no longer needs to be extraordinary but an ordinary  man who follows a bandwagon. Thus burning down our dreams that once formulated the basis of our life. Often, we don’t even recognise the fact that we had a dream once as the world around as started ‘guiding’ in the only way possible.

Is it possible to live a life of our dreams? A query that most of us have, when started our journey on the earth. but quite a few only could realise the true life they were destined to and for others, it is a matter of living for the sake of living. It is not at all easy to follow your heart. The numerous obstacles right from the moment you desire to be different  puts you down in every way possible unless and until you are courageous enough to let go off your  past and furnish a new world of your dreams.

To live the life of one’s dream is the hardest path one ever need to travel. As against the  comfortable path, it’s the most challenging way one had to encounter. Sometimes things got worse and you may get the feeling that nothing is going well and this is the time you need to have immense belief in yourself. Even if, the entire world laughs at you for your fruitless endeavours, no matter what happens, you need to trust yourself ; even when you don’t find anything as remarkable with you. This is the test that destiny has put on everyone who follows their dreams and as you truly believe in your ability, a day will come when the entire world listens to you simply because you are no longer a mere dreamer but a CHAMPION of your dreams.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” ― Paulo Coelho