Comments and questions on secularism and UCC in India (a repeat post)

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Comments and questions on secularism and UCC in India (a repeat post)

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:48 am

As explained in Ref. (a), if the conditions for secularism, e.g. the Uniform Civil Code or UCC, are not accepted and implemented then there is no sense in using the words secular and secularism. Without the UCC, calling a nation secular is like calling someone poor, living below the poverty line, a millionaire. A poor man does not become rich and well-off even if the Govt. insists and passes a law to call him a millionaire and if his neighbors and others do the same (call him a millionaire). Thus there is no sense in calling or characterizing a poor man as a millionaire. Similarly, there is no sense or justification in the case of a nation which, without having a UCC and even while using multiple religion based laws and legal systems, calls and considers itself secular, especially according to its Constitution.

Listed below, Ref. (b), are a number of important comments / questions and responses related to this topic (secularism and the need for a UCC in India).

(1)  Comment / question:  India is a country of migrants from Middle East, Central Asia and Europe, so UCC is not possible. 

Response:   That is not true considering India is as old as, perhaps even older than, the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe in terms of civilization. In any case it has nothing to do with India becoming secular in the real sense (by having a non-religious UCC).

(2)
Comment / question:  The original natives are Tribes and tribes who came to plains. Thus we see vast divergence in our culture despite that we are similar in several aspects.

Response:   India's situation is not unique in this regard. All the countries, including Britain etc., started as a collection of different tribes and groups. The entire Middle East used to be a collection of nomads and bedouins etc.

(3) 
Comment / question:  In fact even supreme court of India acknowledged that Tribes are the original natives of Indian land and suggested to respect the tribes.

Response:  Yes, people should all respect each other no matter what their tribal origin or religious background or even no religion at all. Moreover, they should all be equal in front of the law no matter what their religion, caste, gender and race (tribal origin). That is why it is very important to have UCC (Uniform Civil Code) -- one law for everyone no matter what the religion, caste, gender, race or tribal origin.

(4) 
Comment / question:  With such divergent populations it is unviable to have uniform civil code when it comes to religious or cultural practices.

Response:   What the Govt. law (UCC) has to do with people being a divergent population with different religious and cultural practices? Should it matter whether people pray in church, mosque, temple, gurudwara (Sikh temple), or not at all, as far as country's law is concerned? No.

Similarly, should it matter, in terms of law or legal terms, if people eat rice or wheat, wear pants or lungi  (loose trousers), have beards or are clean-shaven, are men or women, etc. etc.? No, not at all as far as country's law is concerned. It should be same law for everyone -- UCC.

(5) 
Comment / question:  Secularism means respecting all religions.

Response:    No -- secularism means there is no relation or influence of religion in Govt. and its affairs (like laws etc.). In other words, secularism ignores and avoids religions completely instead of respecting them. Secularism is the ethical doctrine which advocates a moral code independent of all religious considerations or practices (including religious laws) … Ref. (c). Secular thus pertains to anything not religious.

(6) 
Comment / question:  UCC will fall apart in the light of recent genetic studies on Indian populations, implying racial diversities.

Response:   UCC has nothing to do with genetic study of populations, no matter what the results of these studies indicating racial diversities. UCC means one law for everyone irrespective of racial group or genetic make up.

(7)  Comment / question:   Tribe A follow a tradition of primogeniture, the eldest born inherits everything, others get nothing. 
Tribe B divide up any inheritance equally amongst all children irrespective of gender. 
Tribe C divide up any inheritance equally amongst the male heirs only - the daughters get nothing because the father would have gifted them dowry at their weddings.

If we have UCC, which tribe's custom should prevail? And how is it uniform if the traditional practice of the other two tribes are now arbitrarily discarded and they are forced to adopt the prevailing tribe's custom?


Response:   UCC has the same law for everyone, irrespective of religion, caste, gender and tribal origin (including race and genetic make-up etc.).

Moreover, people already these days are not living according to the traditional practices and rules of ape-man, their ancestors long ago living in Africa. So, why should it matter to them now if they have to switch to the UCC and start living under one law for everyone? And, until that happens (UCC), they should at least stop calling themselves and their Govt. secular.

(8.)    Comment / question:  So in the specific example (Tribes A, B and C, in comment 7), whose law will prevail? 

Response
:   It is not a question of whose law?  UCC means uniform (same) law for everyone, irrespective of gender, religion, caste and tribal roots (race). 

(9)   Comment / question:  What will be the new standard law of inheritance?

Response:   The UCC is gender-blind (non-gender-specific), meaning all kids (male and female) split the inheritance equally (unless indicated otherwise in the parents' will). 

10)  Comment / question:  How else does the lack of UCC affect people and nation?

Response:    The lack of UCC (vis-à-vis having religious legal systems) often leaves women at a disadvantage. They lag behind their male counterparts educationally and economically and that makes them more dependent on men in their lives. Women may even be looked at and made to feel as if second class citizens. Being economically vulnerable also leaves them prone to physical and emotional dependence and abuse in their own families and outside. Moreover, when Govt. intervenes and tries to protect women against abuse and violence from others by implementing separate laws (including women empowerment and protection bills) or raise their standard by having quotas etc. in education and jobs, these are simply temporary and ineffective solutions without the UCC.

Similarly, when there are religion based laws instead of the UCC, there is little incentive and motivation for people and Govt. to take steps to control population by limiting the size of individual families. This unchecked growth in the number of people because of various religious considerations can have serious consequences to flora and fauna and quickly degrade the environment. Moreover, as the numbers of people rise rapidly while the resources (e.g. family incomes and space etc.) remain the same, people, especially in larger families, are worse off and lag behind others economically and educationally. There is a trend now on the part of Govt. to help such people through quotas in education and jobs, but that again seems like a superficial and patchwork type solution without the UCC.

In addition, having officially the religion based legal systems encourages parents to have their children spend more time in getting religious type education and mastering the religious texts. This limits and cuts down on the time and effort spent in getting other types of latest and more relevant education including in sciences, arts and languages etc. As a result, because of the poor choices in education, these young people have limited career opportunities when they grow up and they often end up in low paying jobs. Thus they remain economically impoverished and usually at the bottom of society. Again if the Govt. comes to their assistance through quotas etc. in education and jobs to improve their condition, that is not really a long-term and effective solution without the UCC. 

References

(a)    Subhash C. Sharma, “Misunderstanding about secularism in India,”  Jan. 27, 2011, http://hubpages.com/hub/unsecularism

(b)  Lamberdar,  Sulekha discussion on secularism, April, 2011, http://forums.sulekha.com/forums/coffeehouse/if-the-shoe-doesn-t-fit-don-t-wear-it-comments-and-responses-on-secularism-1114216.htm

(c)    Webster’s Dictionary (for English), PSI & Associates, Inc., Miami – Florida, 1987 edition, p. 336.

by: Dr. Subhash C. Sharma
(May 12, 2011:  Hubpages & http://lamberdar.sulekha.com/blog/post/2011/05/comments-and-questions-on-secularism-and-ucc-in-india.htm)

 

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Re: Comments and questions on secularism and UCC in India (a repeat post)

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:29 am

Do Indians still insist on calling India a secular country in spite of all the religious / communal laws officially in use?

Seva Lamberdar

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