Dilip D'Souza, among very many other things, is the recent winner of the fourth Outlook/Picador India Non-Fiction Competition.
This article was first published in 2003, but it would be obvious that it remains
as, if not more, relevant today. For more articles on the UCC from our archives,
please click on this
link and follow the links under Also See on the RHS (Right Hand Side) bar.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Religions may lay down principles of equality, fairness and rationality on which laws may be based, but the laws themselves must be contemporaneous and be formulated by legal scholars and elected legislators.
Uniform Civil Code do not need looking into individual religious laws -- any such code must uphold human rights of the individual as supreme and overriding "interests of the community" -- this has been done in countries like the USA, and has worked very well. The first amendment of the constitution must also be rolled back at the same time to allow individual human rights to override the "hurt sentiments" of religious bigots of all stripes. The question we should ask ourselves is why the likes of Dilip D'Souza want to put roadblocks in the creation and implementation of the UCC that is only based on human rights and not any religious dogma. Why are the Dilip D'souza and cockroaches like him pretending that UCC means implementing a hindu civil code? Where has this been announced that UCC is the same as a hindu civil code?
Dilip D'Souza is a two-faced anti-national lowlife (whose father was top bureaucrat in Maha govt.) who once openly appealed to the US govt. against the Indian government, as a barometer for the extent of patriotism of this fool. As other people have pointed out this guy has eaten many crows but he has won many world championships in being a shameless, gutless liar, so it does not bother him much anymore.
Dear D'Souza: All that is needed for a UCC is to follow human rights guidelines and a code regardless of religious laws and dictating that they override all other civil codes. End of Story. The question is why a duplicitous tool like you, that appealed to the US government against the Indian govt. is making it more complicated than it needs to be. What is your agenda, pal?
I could not agree more. Creating a UCC is not about taking the best of the existing practices or striking a compromise between them. It is to create a new set of rules based on equality and justice of all human beings, applicable to all citizens of India - no exceptions. BTW, we are not re-inventing the wheel here; there is a lot of accumulated knowledge and experience in other societies around the world on the best practices to follow.
While we are dreaming about it, let me dream about fixing another deadly flaw in the Indian constitution: religion. The Indian constitution recognizes certain religions and accords different treatments for them. This is a basic flaw. A secular constitution can not recognize “religion” as a legal term - it is meaningless (What does it even mean to follow a religion – in legal terms? Also, my friend and I will get together and start a new “religion” with its own holy book , deities and rules. How do we go about getting our own personal law enshrined in the constitution and getting a special treatment for us written into the law? After all, our religion is as good as any other out there! Why should only the religions in existence before 1950 be listed in the constitution, but not the ones that would come later?).
The constitution and law can not concern themselves about the private beliefs and conduct of citizens as long as they are not violating other people’s constitutional rights. If people want to organize themselves based on certain beliefs in public life (eg. build places of worship, organize processions, raise funds for a political candidate, etc), they can do so by registering themselves with the law as “non-profit” organizations and by following the laws that govern such groups. There is no need to utter the word religion in the constitution or the law.
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