A girl divorce her husband by triple talaq

Under Islamic law as it is practiced in India, a woman cannot divorce a husband like men do by just saying talaq thrice unless the husband has given her the right to do it.  This glaring gender discrimination in the religious laws was put into spotlight when this 16 year old girl from Bengal uttered triple talaq to divorce her husband who refused to allow her to study further.

Mampi, a resident of Mullickpur Mandirbazar, around 55km from Kolkata along the Lakshikantapur train line, was thrust into marriage by her parents in 2015. With three daughters to marry off and two sons to rear, Sarjul Gharami — a tea stall owner — was glad when he received the proposal from a family in Tekpanja village in Mandirbazar, about 6km away. Though Mampi, then in Class IX, wanted to study further, she was unable to wriggle out. She, however, got her in-laws and husband to agree to her continuing studies.
But Mampi’s in-laws soon reneged on the promise and began objecting to her attending school. They ridiculed her desire to study and thrust domestic work on her. Undeterred, Mampi persisted and passed her Madhyamik exam this year. But when she told her husband she wished to get admitted to Class XI at an HS school, he refused. Her repeated pleas failed to move him and her in-laws. When she visited her parents’ home some days later, she told them she wanted to study and would not return to the husband’s house.

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India – The good, bad and the ugly

Three news stories coming out from India this week highlight how unequal the country is in regard to scientific temper and use of science and technology.

First the good news.

India’s space agency debuted a massive rocket on Monday, launching it from the southeastern barrier island of Sriharikota. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk III) will function mainly as a delivery system for heavier satellites, but the Indian Space Research Organization hopes that it can one day carry a manned mission — the country’s first — beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Image courtesy PTI

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Designer babies – Hindutva style

The RSS, the parent organisation of Hindutva based political and cultural movement in India, was always obsessed with racial purity and a staunch believer in greatness of traditional Indian health care system, Ayurveda. Combining the two, its affiliate organisation Arogya Bharati is conducting seminars and counselling sessions in different cities for Indian couples to get the baby they desire.

The two-day workshop and counselling “Garbha Sanskar” in Kolkata – for future parents to give birth to the “Best” Child, as announced and organised by Arogya Bharti, the health and family welfare wing of RSS in the South Kolkata office of the RSS. The announcement and advertisements (which clearly state that the organisation is part of the RSS) clearly described that the two-day workshop will be on reforms of child bearing and counselling of couples on “how to have a good child”. As D-day grew closer, the language of the ads changed to “best child” and examples of geniuses and celebrities symbolising this “best”-ness surfaced. Unsurprisingly, these were mostly men who had become the “best” through the traditional Indian practice of Ayurveda.

One of the ads in social media reads, “Weeds may grow in garden without attention, but to have a beautiful flower one needs proper planning and regular attention….The traditional Indian practice to have a good child is gradually becoming extinct and society is suffering from the subsequent poisonous result”. It was not clear what was meant by “weeds”.

  • Image credit: Narinder Nanu/AFP

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Cholera epidemic overwhelms Yemen

Three hundred and twenty-nine Cholera deaths among 32000 confirmed cases !

No this is not a statistic from 19th century Europe but from 2017.

It was 163 years ago that John Snow established the fact that killer disease Cholera was transmitted through ingestion of food and water contaminated by feces of infected patients. Though it was much before discovery of pathogenic bacteria and antibiotics to combat them, just the discovery of method of transmission helped to contain devastating Cholera epidemics in Western Europe.

In this 21st century armed with all the high-tech drugs and gadgets, and with immense scientific knowledge one does not expect such epidemics to happen again. But sadly it is happening now in war-torn Yemen, where US backed Saudi’s fight Iran backed Houthis.

Children getting treatment – via BBC

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Land for harvesting votes

Ever since Modi became Prime Minister of India, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s business has expanded by manifold. Not only his spiritual Yoga business but also his “chemical free” consumer goods  business.

Baba who had claimed his “genuine” Ayurvedic medical products and yoga can cure AIDS and Homosexuality has now become the leading player in whole range of products for home use. It seems the tremendous support Modi got from Baba Ramdev for catching votes is being reciprocated by giving huge chunks of land at big discounts as per this Reuters report.

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Determined to lose heart and minds of Kashmiris

The ruling Hindutva party in India, the BJP, is it seems determined to antagonise the local population in Kashmir valley. They act as if they only consider the land of Kashmir as part of India , not the people living there.  This is reflected in the award given to an army officer who became infamous by using a civilian tied to a jeep as a human shield against stone pelting by Kashmiris.

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Beliefs that creates murderers

The gruesome mob killing of Mashal Khan is sending shock waves across the liberal minority in Pakistan. It will be good if they realise that religion & religion based politics  is the root of the problem. This article in the Dawn it seems shows such realisation.

Because while the videos will have caused many to recoil, the visuals and the audio will have made others rejoice.

Turn up the volume and hear the howls and screams. This wasn’t ignorance or the lack of knowledge; it was total belief and piety.

They weren’t screaming for blood; they were chanting the name of God.

The videos are an advertisement and an admonition: this is what we will do, this is what you need to do and this is what must be done.

Like snuff films for the masses, it took minutes and hours for the videos to spread; it’s taken days for the state to respond — a gap that may as well have been an eternity because of the effectiveness of the former and the flaccidness of the latter.

And in the state’s claim that no crime was committed by the victim lies a denial of reality — it doesn’t matter to the murderous that an innocent life was taken.

An innocent life is a price worth paying to defend the higher cause — that no one in no way and at no time may ever even think of doing what the dead man was accused of doing.

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Alienation in Kashmir at an all time high ?

Tbe recent by polls in Kashmir saw only around 7% of people exercising their franchise. Fear of violence, boycott call by militants and more importantly resentment against state and central governments played a part.

For last one year or so the local population is becoming increasingly alienated from Indian mainstream.

One shocking image underlined this change. It showed a Kashmiri man tied down to the front of a vehicle of security forces. He was supposed to have been used as a human shield to escape attack by locals with stones.

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Ambedkar on Islam, Partition and Hindu Raj

Dr B R Ambedkar, Dalit icon and architect of Indian Constitution was a personality whose writings are used by all kinds of people to highlight their points. The  Marxist Left in India use them to fight Hindutva Right, the non Marxist Left and the centrist Congress use them to fight the Hindutva and the Communists, the Hindutva Right use it to attack Islam and the Dalits try to use them for their own survival.

So what did Ambedkar write about Islam ?

In his book Pakistan Or The Partition Of India, a collection of his writings and speeches,  published in 1940 Ambedkar wrote :

Hinduism is said to divide people and in contrast Islam is said to bind people together. This is only a half truth. For Islam divides as inexorably as it binds. Islam is a close corporation and the distinction that it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is a very real, very positive and very alienating distinction. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity, but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The second defect of Islam is that it is a system of social self-government and is incompatible with local self-government, because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his but on the faith to which he belongs. To the Muslim ibi bene ibi patria is unthinkable. Wherever there is the rule of Islam, there is his own country. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin.

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Ambedkar on Hinduism

Today we remember the architect of Indian Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar on his birth anniversary.

Here is an excerpt from his 1936 book “Annihilation of Caste”, actually a speech that was never delivered.

[9:] Caste may be bad. Caste may lead to conduct so gross as to be called man’s inhumanity to man. All the same, it must be recognized that the Hindus observe Caste not because they are inhuman or wrong-headed. They observe Caste because they are deeply religious. People are not wrong in observing Caste. In my view, what is wrong is their religion, which has inculcated this notion of Caste. If this is correct, then obviously the enemy you must grapple with is not the people who observe Caste, but the Shastras which teach them this religion of Caste. Criticising and ridiculing people for not inter- dining or inter-marrying, or occasionally holding inter-caste dinners and celebrating inter-caste marriages, is a futile method of achieving the desired end. The real remedy is to destroy the belief in the sanctity of the Shastras.

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