Sunday, April 17, 2016

Addressing discriminatory traits of Hindu law

Friday 15 April 2016 Mainstream, VOL LIV No 17 New Delhi April 16, 2016
by Navneet Sharma and Pradeep Nair
The mobilisation of people on communal lines has been the oldest trick in the politics of the world and nations.
Ideal Hindu Woman
The relationship of women to religious politics is mostly paradoxical and complex. Gender in Hindu nationalism is always viewed as a political entity whereby Hindu women are depicted as the repositories of religious beliefs and custodians of purity and integrity of the Hindu community. Hindu nationalism in its core aims to Hinduise politics by constructing a Hindu self—a virile and masculine self which challenges the political assertion of Hindu women on the nationalism agenda. The ideal Hindu woman propagated by Right-wing extremists symbolises the face of the Hindu nation wearing traditional dress (mostly sari) and marching for the nationalistic cause. Ideally women are visualised and symbolised as Sita (the wife of Rama in Ramayana) to be upheld as the national ideal of Indian womanhood. This mostly helps to influence the sentiments of Hindu women in the nationalistic ordeal to serve the ideological purposes. Mother India is consecrated as a goddess modestly dressed in a sari, seated on a lion and holding a saffron flag. The image helps to propagate the message that the Hindu nation is in crisis and it is time for male Hindus to reorganise to defend the Hindu religion and the Motherland. This also helps the religious extremists to legitimise political Hinduism as a vehicle for nation-building— laying the foundation for a Hindu Rashtra.

The Indian national politics till date included women only symbolically into the national body politic and never allowed them the same access to the resources of the nation-state as in the case of men. It only legitimises the dominance of men over women. The images of woman as Mother and nation-as-woman only intensify the male-male arrangements and an all-male history. The Right-wing political organisations support women’s independence only when they find it politically convenient; otherwise they prefer to defend the conservative Hindu conceptions of women’s place. An example of this is the stand of the BJP in the case of the sati of Roop Kanwar in 1987 where they sought justification for sati in Hindu scriptures and idealised women’s role as dutiful wives as Sita and Savitri. The Right-wing political organisations many a time had shown their concern towards the inequalities of Muslim law, but at the same time remained silent about the discriminatory traits of Hindu law. During 1991-92, the Right-wing political organisations claimed women’s electoral support only to affirm their religious commitment and idea of Hindu nation as the organisations found them more devout than men.

The gender ideology of Hindutva and Hindu nationalism reinforces the ‘supremacy of the family over the individual’ with the implication that ‘family considerations should reign supreme’, not only in marriage, but in ‘career’; thus the ability of a woman to assert herself politically is limited by the philosophy it is based on.

Mainstream, April 4, 2016: ‘Danger to Constitutional Values’ - Statement by Retired Civil Servants, Niranjan Pant... …
What is listed above is only illustrative. We feel that all told, there is a clear and present danger to the values of the freedom of speech, thought and expression as also the pluralism and the secularism that are basic to the Indian Constitution. We add our voice to the multitude of dissents already expressed and call upon all right- thinking people to register their protest at the current goings-on.

At the same time, we would like to point out that we do not condone similar transgressions by other groups—particularly on the extreme Left—which try in like manner to silence opposing views by vicious attacks on social media and/or violence.

We urge a return to the civilised and civilisational discourse of the Constitution of India and a renewed public commitment to the freedom of speech, thought and expression. - According to Sri Aurobindo after the physical evolution, evolution of the mind is going on in man and after the mental evolution, evolution of the spirit will take ...