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We must focus on the main target
Week's Agenda: Social Conditions
Rules regarding Safety of Personnel at work to be made clear
Introduction of Social Security Net
Introduction of identity card
Removal of Age discrimination at work
Creating conditions so that reservations will no longer be necessary
Dear Prof. Roy:
Regarding Mr. Chowgule. I have repeatedly insisted that we talk on this
forum as individual citizens and sort out our issues as individuals; not
as representatives of any group. Therefore I welcome the participation of
Ashok Chowgule. I have subscribed him to this list and he is most welcome
to talk to all of us, as is anybody else, but as an individual citizen,
concerned about the key targets we have set for ourselves: being the #1 in
income, sports, and knowledge; and not as the representative of the Sangh
Parivar or anybody else.
Having said that, I see, from Ashok's note (I wonder if everyone has seen
it: I got a special copy earlier), that there might be some few cases when
a person might be negatively affected by another person's marriage
methods. As always, life is not black and white, but a little gray around
He says: It is possible that one's daughter might be thrown out on the
streets by marrying into a Muslim family. Well: to that my reply is: one's
daughter, after the age of 18 is an ADULT, capable of deciding her own
fate. If she choses a particular method of marriage in which a sudden risk
of divorce exists, and is well known to all, then it is her choice
entirely. It is not the society's business to be concerned with such a
choice. In particular, I am a father of a little girl, and I would expect
my daughter, at the age of 18, to take her own decisions about her own
marriage. I am not insensitive when I refuse to get involved with other
people's lives beyond a point.
All I am clearly recognizing the distinction between public and private, a
distinction which Prof. Roy has himself so clearly framed, in relation to
the environment and corruption.
Let us see where a free citizen of a free nation stands on this issue,
based on fundamental principles we have agreed so far:
"I have no obligation to tend for other humans in my nation once I have
paid the dues mutually determined. That does not mean that I become
uncivic. I retain the right, as a free citizen, to contribute in cash or
in kind, over and above the taxes I pay, to help causes which I believe as
being good for the society in which I wish to live."
I am not an insensitive soul. If I find a woman thrown out on the streets,
I will help her - irrespective of the cause. All I am saying is that
marriage is a purely private business, since it involves the relationship
between a man and a woman who alone bear the costs and reap the benefits.
It does not involve me, except as a 'recognizer' of the marriage, and as
an eater of the marriage party goodies.
If there is brutalization within a marriage, then I am responsible,
however, as a citizen. We have laws against ANY form of brutalization. We
are all involved when a fellow citizen is physically injured on any
pretext. Being married is not sufficient pretext to forgive assault. The
Penal code comes into affect at once, then, and rightly so.
But if the issue is how a financial contract is arranged, WITHIN a
marriage, then it is not my business. I always possess the choice NOT to
interact with a marriage system which prevents the adoption of a child, or
does not provide suitable inheritance rights. Therefore, since there is no
obligation on my daughter's part to choose this form of marriage (she
could choose the Special Marriages Act, for example), I am not concerned
with interfering in the different marriage contracts available in society.
These are a private domain, as much as the spiritual part of our selves is
a private domain.
I think it was wrong on the part of the US government to have interefered
in the personal laws of the Mormons, and I do not see any reason for us to
adopt this part of the US system while throwing out the rest of its social
system. These people had slavery too: should we have that? These people
gave suffrage to the blacks in 1970 or thereabouts. Shall we forbid voting
rights to the tribals? (by the way: this para does not relate to Ashok's
arguments, but to, I think, Pratap's)
Let me revert to the key argument:
Please refer to my mail appealing that we classify all issues into
Category A and B, and devote most of our attention on Category A issues.
It appears that we have still not agreed upon that yet: Let us do that at
once before we start spending a lot of time on category B issues.
Believe me, in 2100 AD (when we can return to the uniform marriage law
debate), with the wealth of the society increased 230 times in real terms,
and 1/3rd of the population having attended college, NO woman will choose
a marriage system which does not protect her financial assets. Plus she
will be so powerful educationally that she will always be eonomically
independent. That is the woman we are interested in creating. My wife is a
good example of that: I am very scared to throw her out on the streets
since she is practically the bread earner while I spend these zillions of
hours typing into my computer, earning not a farthing! The entire issue of
women being thrown out on the streets will become irrelevant if everyone
becomes 230 times richer. Only a fool will throw out the hen that lays the
golden egg. Cluck cluck!! (golden cluck!)
Back to very serious debate: I have seen the plight of Muslim women in the
remote interior villages of Assam. I am not slighting their plight, nor
claiming some superior disdain for the problems they face, but I do not
see this thing as a feasible thing, or a desirable thing - of one group of
people trying to impose their way of marriage on others. On adoption I do
think there is some justification: so we might do a prioritization among
the categories, and try to persuade those who do not give inheritance
rights to adopted children: but no imposition, please. Let us be patient.
First law of civil society: talk, persuade; not impose. All other laws
We could say, now, given this debate, that: "people should be encouraged
to work toward a uniform marriage law if they so like, but that does not
mean that any government intervention is needed on this issue, or that
other groups should involve themselves in this matter. We could also work
toward persuading everyone that adopted children be given inheritance
rights, but that would be uiltimately the choice of the individual that
I am sure that with a little nice talk, people will give rights to
children; and even to the women. With education and wealth, these things
will become inevitable. But let us be nice, first. And let us focus on the
#1 task: of beating USA in everything. Let the nation's focus shift to
massive wealth creation and getting everyone out of the slums and drains,
getting street urchins out of brothels and control of gangs, getting
ourselves some Nobel prizes, for a change, in academics.
I think the UCC is a divisive issue. I am not very happy that we had to
discuss it; but I see it as an inevitable thing; so we talked about it.
Can we close this debate now, and adopt the consensus that I have proposed
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