If ever we wanted dear Arnab Goswami to ask this question loudly, it is today! Doesn't the nation want to know what the government proposes to being about in their much touted Uniform Civil Code (UCC)
I searched but could not find any draft proposal by the government on this topic. What changes do they propose to make? Will they do away with caste and religion based reservations? Will all Indians have equal opportunities to access higher education, jobs and promotions in government jobs? I don't think so.
Will they be changing the inheritance laws of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) ? Will they be changing the Anand marriage act of the Sikh community? Will they be doing away with local religious practises and customs of Nagaland, Himachal, Goa and Uttarakhand to name a few?
Customs are actually protected by law, and article 44 of the constitution, a directive principle of state policy, directs the government to reach a consensus on Uniform civil code which will be applicable to the entire nation. Their Nagaland coalition partner has already signed a letter saying they oppose the UCC.
Is it the ruling party's intention to give more respect to girls? We didn't see that being practised when our gold medalist wrestlers were being dragged on the roads of Delhi. While they demanded justice and action to be taken on an alleged serial molester, a 5 time MP of the ruling party, the nation saw them being given the boot by Delhi police.
Does the government seek to provide justice to Muslim women? We didn't see that in the release of Bilkis Bano's rapists last year, who were then garlanded and fed laddoos. The honorable Supreme court has been questioning the Gujarat government as to why have they been released after such a heinous hate crime.
Basically, the ruling party wants to use UCC to keep the Hindu Muslim conversation alive and kicking in the citizens' mind space. They could have inaugurated the Ayodhya temple 2 years back, but it's been pushed to coincide with the 2024 elections. Their headlines haven't worked -launching ₹2000 notes and then withdrawing them; neither of which were able to curb black money.
Unemployment is becoming a serious crisis- it's become commonplace to have a thousand people apply for one government job vacancy. Manipur has been burning for 2 months and there seems no end to the Meitei-Kuki conflict that has taken a 120+ lives. Rising food, LPG and fuel prices have ensured most lower income group families' savings have disappeared. Interest rates have dropped post demonetisation causing hardships to retired people.
The ruling party has one calling card - the Hindu Muslim agenda. They want the majority 94 crore Hindus to live in fear and hate of the 17 crore Muslim minority. But India is a nation of plurality -minorities include Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, tribals. The changes they propose to bring cannot be sprung on the nation in a late night announcement. They have to be clearly enunciated.
"अनेकता में एकता है हिंद की विशिष्टता" Unity in diversity has been our forte. We have managed to live in reasonable peace and harmony for centuries and will continue to do so. Elections come and go, but the fabric of the nation should not be tampered with.
I am delighted to have a law that gives equal rights and opportunities to all citizens regardless of gender, caste and religion. Until the government tells us what they intend to make uniform in their civil code we will wait because - The nation definitely wants to know!!
Dr Sarika Verma
President AAP Haryana Doctors wing