The word Secular comes from the Latin origin saeculum meaning “worldly” or “temporal”. This particular word has been the kernel of quite the political and ideological ‘Manthan’ that is going on in our country. The whirlwind of arguments which seem to be coming from all sides seems to never converge. Yet this cyclone seems to be spewing all kinds of allegations and names on all sides of the debate, pretty much like Donald Trump’s tweets.
In the political context, the word secular stands for the separation of the church and the state. But here in India, we practice our own version of secularism where the state is in a way the custodian of the various religious rights of its diverse population. This also means that those practices which have become archaic or infringe upon the rights of the citizens are not out of the purview of the state as the state holds a vantage point which lies in the middle-ground.
Consider the recent case of Triple Talaq which has sent the All India Muslim personal law board into a tizzy. After the news was broadcasted, several reports of mishaps have been sighted. A 6th standard student from Bihar thought that a man can get Talaq after saying Talaq three times so he thought he can get a kiss from his classmate by saying kiss me three times. He said kiss me 300 times and asked for 100 kisses, thereby. The girl complained to the authorities, who later rebuked the boy, however, his teacher appreciated his mathematics saying, he knew that saying Talaq three times would give one Talaq, that’s why he said kiss me 300 times because he wanted 100 kisses. Later the teacher stated, the boy can divide which in turn, shows his job is done well, and then started asking for a salary hike! This wasn’t the only case. Sunny Leone’s name was enchanted by many desperate single youths across the country thinking that they will get Leone if they call her three times.
On a serious note, the situation of the liberals of our country, in this case, is like that of Mount Mandar. It is continuously churning, this way or that way but not getting anywhere. Same can be said about the opposition parties. If the opposition opposes the Triple Talaq bill it thinks that it is fighting for the minority rights of the Muslims but the flip side is that by doing so the rights and liberties of the Muslim women who are considered to be a minority within the minority, are seriously being violated. The people who have been doing this ideological manthan for the elusive ‘Amrit’ of secularism need to also remember that the first thing that comes out of any such manthan is a highly venomous fluid in the form of the backlash from the prevailing tendencies in the society.
The backlash on the Triple Talaq bill from the Muslim board is an example of one such prevailing tendency i.e. the overly patriarchal nature of Triple Talaq and the practices that follow it such as Halala where the dignity and integrity of the women of our own country are seriously being impeached upon in the name of religious practice. Many people believe that the state should not interfere in the religious matters of minorities but this is not even a religious matter. Triple Talaq has no basis in either the Quran or any other book of Islam which is held in high esteem by majority its followers. None of the Islamic countries follow this practice so why should India being a “secular” country follow it. It is a ridiculous and highly derogatory proposition for the women of our country and anyone wishing for the wellbeing and integrity of our women will support the bill.