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Proposed changes in Muslim Personal Law

These two features of Muslim Personal Law were some of the sticking points to the enactment of Uniform Civil Code as contemplated by Article 44 of the Directive Principles of our Constitution.

Proposed changes in Muslim Personal Law

The practice of triple talaq for divorcing a Muslim woman and the freedom extended to Muslim males to practise polygamy were in some quarters regarded as violation of the dignity of Muslim women and also discriminatory. These two features of Muslim Personal Law were some of the sticking points to the enactment of Uniform Civil Code as contemplated by Article 44 of the Directive Principles of our Constitution. According to press reports,a group of Muslim scholars and activists have made a valiant attempt towards codification of Muslim Personal Law. The national consultation on codification has prepared a progressive draft which among other things bans triple talaq and restricts polygamy. According to the reformist scholar Asghar Ali Engineer,the group is not bringing any new law but only reiterating the provisions which the Quran makes for Muslim men and women. Qutub Jehan Kidwai of the Mumbai based Institute of Islamic Studies was emphatic that there is no place for triple talaq in one seating and that it must be abolished. The Quranic verses which are relied upon in justification of the liberty given to Muslim males to take up to four wives,on a proper interpretation clearly says that males cannot do adequate justice to all four wives and,therefore,should marry just one woman. The draft document also makes registration of all Muslim marriages with the state governments mandatory and further provides that consent of the bride be made mandatory and the minimum age of the bride should be 18 and that of the groom 21. Some of these provisions will no doubt generate controversies but they clearly reflect a progressive trend. It is hoped that forces of sanity will ultimately prevail which will better the lot of Muslim women and ensure them a life of dignity.

Morality in Communist China

Religion is the opium of the people. That is the invincible dogma of the Chinese Communist State. Nevertheless Chinese people are guided by moral considerations in their daily life and do not condone moral lapses of their fellow citizens. There is the example of a restaurant owner in central China who has refused to entertain customers who bring mistresses along or those who have failed to take care of their ageing parents. The owner is a People’s Liberation Army veteran. He has put a board in front of his hotel stating that it does not serve people who do not show filial piety,those who have mistresses and those who spend public money for private purposes. Quite a long list. The aim is laudable. But there will be problems in enforcing the Moral Code. What are the criteria for determining whether women brought to the eatery are mistresses or close friends? There is a thin dividing line between mistresses and close lady friends. And in practice,the line would often get blurred. The owner of the eatery is aware of these problems. He also knows that there will be a drop in his income. But he regards his move as an insistence that people abide by the principles of being a righteous man.

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Jazz at the White House

Jazz is undoubtedly a part of American culture,indeed its heritage. Of late,jazz musicians are officially admired and honoured by requests to play in the White House. Erroll Garner gave a brilliant piano recital a couple of decades ago. Other veteran jazz musicians have also performed. President Bill Clinton is a jazz aficionado and also plays the tenor sax. Going through President Jimmy Carter’s ‘White House Diary’,I found this interesting bit. “We had Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan give an excellent jazz concert. Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines went up to play two pieces and almost stole the show”. The big event was held on the South lawn. Carter records that he went on the stage with Dizzy Gillespie and joined him in a rendition of ‘Salt Peanuts’. He confesses that “it was a high point in my life when The New York Times complimented my singing!” Quite right Mr President. You have the right priorities.

First published on: 26-02-2012 at 02:24:24 am
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