Two very different instances of religious/caste patriarchs intervening in civil society have come to the fore in the last couple of days. Both are Anti Constitutional. And, its about time the Government and the System said religious oppression in the name of Religious freedom be damned – the Constitution comes first.
The first instance was the Khap Panchayats that has been flexing its muscles for quite some time – excommunicating and killing without consequences. They have got Navin Jindal to tow the line now.
Mr. Jindal has said -
“I and my whole family respect the years old traditions and rituals of khap panchayats. My house is their own home and they can come there any time. I am just like their own child and I can never go against them; rather I always need their blessings.”
Navin Jindal, if you remember, is the man who went all the way to the Supreme Court for the right of Indian Citizens to fly the Indian Flag, and won .
Mr.Jindal has forgotten that the Indian flag represents the Indian Republic. And, the Indian Republic is enshrined by the Indian Constitution . The Indian Constitution states:
14. The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
15. (1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
If the Khap Panchayat had its way – it is not just same gotra marriages that will be nullified, but there will be penalties to anyone who breaks caste rules . And, as all of us know, these rules – if applied to their logical conclusion – will lead to the Hindus getting their equivalent of the Taliban.
I wonder if a Member of Parliament who is so ready to violate the Constitution has the right to be in Parliament !
The second instance of the Constitution being violated, is the Deobandi’s – who have declared that it is haram for women to work
“It is unlawful (under the Sharia law) for Muslim women to work in the government or private sector where men and women work together and women have to talk with men frankly and without a veil,”
If the fatwa is followed through to its logical conclusion, it would mean that Indian citizens who are Muslim women cannot be the President, Prime Minister, Member of Parliament. They can’t work in a Hospital, a Call Centre, a Hotel. They can’t teach in a co-educational school, they cannot work for a NGO, they can’t work as engineers…. This essentially means that women are barred from most professions except sweat shops where they can sit with other women and sew stuff at cut price rate.
In both cases a bunch of patriarchs want the world to bend to their interpretation of religion, and honour …. I hope that in both cases this is the straw that breaks the back of an communities that have kept quiet — and rise up to delegitimise both the Khap Panchayats and the Deobandi’s. The best way to destroy them is to stop listening to them !!
And finally – i hope everyone remembers that the reason Krishna wasn’t invited to Rukmini’s swayamwar was because he was a Yadav and she was a Kshyatriya princess.
Let us also remember that the Prophet Muhammad’s first wife was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid – a merchant who employed him.
Those who have proclaimed themselves as guardians of religion and tradition seem to have forgotten their own religion and tradition -