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.


Why Polygamy?

Because for men, it teaches leadership – says Mr. Rizdam. And it helps women control their desires and jealousies and bring them closer to God, says Rizdam’s wife Dr Gina Puspita. Both of them are supporters of Polygamy Club (yes, you read it right) in Indonesia.

Coming to think of controlling the desires (and thus bringing their men closer to God), the women out there should have asked their husbands to stick to monogamy, right? So does this mean that the women don’t care if their polygamist husbands are rot in hell? But it is not just about Indonesia. About an year back, a famous cleric from Kerala had justified polygamy because “Women’s menstrual cycle prevents them from sexual contact for 5-6 days“!

Anyways, not all women in Indonesia think in the same line as Dr Gina Puspita. For example, Nursyahbani Katjasungkana says this:

“When the scripture revealed to the Prophet Muhammad its direction on polygamy, it was during the time of war,” she says.

“I believe it was a direction to the Muslims of that time that all the victims of war or widows and children who lost a father or a husband have to be protected. That’s the message of the scriptures – it wasn’t really a command to men to have a second or third or fourth wife.”

Menses justifies polygamy?

Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker MusaliarIt is very common that religion being used for all the wrong purposes when it could have helped to enhance the lives of weak and the oppressed. Most of the times it would be the priests or clerics from a religion who would be misinterpreting the Holy Books to sustain their own interests and misleading the others within the community. The latest controversy about a comment from the senior Muslim cleric Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliar on polygamy shows that this trend still continues. Kanthapuram reportedly have said this: A second wife is biologically justified. Women’s menstrual cycle prevents them from sexual contact for 5-6 days.

His statement came in the backdrop of a state law reforms commission has come out with a draft bill to check polygamy and divorce by Talaq. The bill seeks that ‘monogamy shall be the rule’ and that ‘marrying again during the lifetime of husband or wife is an offence.’

The proposed bill wants that “if any married Muslim, man or woman, marries again during the subsistence of the first marriage, the party who violates shall be guilty of bigamy under the IPC and punishable as such.

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