Da Vincing Code

The socio-political spectrum of Kerala always has something to entertain the average Malayalee. Be it V S Achuthanandan on one hand or P C George on the other. But who wouldn’t get bored of the same circus you see everyday? So now it is the turn of V R Krishna Iyer and his committee of people who have drafted the Women’s Code Bill 2011 which is pending approval of the state government.

The proposed bill suggests provisions to imprison those who fathers more than two children. So if this bill is passed, you will be slapped with a Rs. 10,000 fine or three months of imprisonment when you expect a third child in the family. Not only that, those who have three children would be considered as legally disqualified and they cannot enjoy the state benefits.

Needless to say that these suggestions are draconian. To have two or more children should be left to the parents and to intervene in those basic human rights and to add penalty to it is fascist. We are not living in China, after all. What the government should do instead of passing this bill to raise awareness of the advantages of population control. Kerala anyway has the lowest rate of population growth in India.

The protests have begun and as expected from the minority communities. The Christian and Muslim communities entertain having more children among their flock. The Church had announced ‘benefits’ for it’s community members who have more than four children. What these religious communities are aiming with this is an increased community power and thus the socio-political bargaining power in the future. But the proposed bill puts a stop to this as one of the recommendations of the bill is that religious and political outfits cannot discourage family planning and I think that is a welcome suggestion.

Population control is a need of the hour for a dense country like India though the decision of having more or less children should rest with the parents. To discourage it in the name of religion or community is going against the country’s well being and future. And to offer benefits only to those who have four or more children is as draconian as lifting the benefits off people who have more than two children. So it doesn’t really make sense to see the opposition from the Church and Muslim community heads.

Another sensible proposition in the bill is to offer free and healthy abortions in government hospitals. Abortion is another area that the religious organizations, who usually cite moral reasons to oppose it, should back off. Legalizing and providing expert help for abortions would help save some lives that usually gets lost by consulting with illegal clinics and doctors. Those who want to do abortions would go ahead and do it regardless of the law or their religion allows them to do it, so why not let them have it safely with expert help?

So there are some pros and cons in this bill and I wish the pro points stayed and cons removed. But with the protest from religious/community heads it is likely that the Chandy government would scrap it altogether.


These are our times

Another bomb blast, another terrorist attack rocked India in the last week. As usual, the Government promises to keep terrorism off it’s shore (well, it does so, because it is not the politicians, but people who lose their lives), opposition asks for bringing POTA (the infamous anti-terror law) back, people complaining and blogging and can’t keep their mouse off hands and everything returns to normal. Then happens another blast and the life cycle rolls on.

Any latest terror attack is also the time for society to ask “will the moderate Muslim please stand up?”. The moderate Muslims have stood up and keep standing up, but we don’t get to hear their voices. And that has made many of them angry because they are all labelled as terrorist-sympathizers. They speak up, but we choose to ignore.

On the other hand, another breed of terrorists keep burning Christian churches and institutions in the states of Orissa and now in Karnataka. This could very well be a warning of how things would be in the states ruled by the BJP. During the Gujarat tests of Sangh Parivar, the message given was that Muslims should be sent out to Pakistan and Christians to Italy. The agenda against Christians is now effectively being carried out in the states of Orissa and Karnataka.

Those who benefit from this Hindu-Christian conflict are two parties – The Sangh Parivar and the Evangelist groups. Both of them need manpower to sustain their political/religious motives. And they keep harvesting numbers. But in the course, the communal harmony is a thing of past and the ordinary citiznes have to pay with their lives for this.

Whenever a Muslim man with a thick beard, white religious cap, long Kurta gets into the train, he is seen with suspicion that he might be going to plant a bomb. A clean shaved man with a white shirt, black trouser, and a black handybag is seen with great anger, thinking he came to preach the message of a desert God which is going to destroy the other religion and culture. A thick bearded Sadhu in saffron robe with a tilak on the forehead is seen with much fear that he might be the one who will incite people to stab you in the next riots.

They are the same set of people whom we had welcomed with a smile years back or ignored just like another sight. They are the same people who were living in our neighborhood until we made our own community cocoons. Then we drew borders. First between them and us. Then among ourselves. We stand separated. We like love it that way and religion is just another excuse.

These are our times.