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Arnab Goswami, article 370, triple talaq et al: What the youth has to learn

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We saw the world coming down on its knees in the year gone by, there was mass despair and panic and I am sure each one of us must have felt very small and insignificant to a certain extent at some point in the middle of this pandemic. The beginning of the year was up to scratch but by the end of March the planet became motionless and after a lull of almost 6-7 months, humanity has started to get back on track. Despite this one hell of a roller coaster ride, politics is a subject which was ineluctable, omnipotent and never out of relevance. Along with Covid-19 there were hectic political developments happening in our country throughout 2020.

Politics and current affairs are topics which are often discussed, debated, argued and at times fought upon at home between my mother, father and me on the dinner table while watching news and debates on television. This political enthusiasm and has been transmitted to me by my over enthusiastic parents especially since the 2014 General Elections when I turned into a major. The change in the dispensation since 2014 has definitely brought a paradigm shift in the political history of India.

The 2nd term of the UPA which is 2009-2013 was brimming with scams. I was a schoolgirl back then and my school had a wonderful tradition of reading out the headlines after the morning assembly was done i.e. just before we would disperse for our classes. I remember every morning we would hear something sensational about some or the other scam. The list of scams and the amount involved was copious – the Adarsh scam, the Augusta Westland scam, the CWG scam, the 2G scam, the Wakf Board land scam, and then the mammoth Coal scam. There was never a dearth of debates at home or in school about the headlines of the day.

Almost 7 years down the line I believe there is something very huge that today’s youth has learned from this paradigm shift which is – ‘Challenge the status quo’. A great example for the youth to understand what challenging the status quo means is to observe the good fight that Mr. Arnab Goswami and his team have put up in the past couple of months. Like I mentioned in my initial paragraph that we would watch news debates on TV as a family on the dinner table, it used to be Mr. Arnab Goswami’s show at 9 p.m. I believe he is one firebrand journalist who asks the kind of questions which every common man wants to ask and that’s the reason he enjoys so much of fanfare and hysteria. When he came back to his studio from an illegal arrest he looked even more indomitable and determined to fight the persecution and harassment faced by him individually and his entire team because they had the fortitude to ask uncomfortable and blazing questions to the government of the day in Maharashtra. His deliverance captured the imagination of the nation. It was fiery, full of conviction and confidence.

This speech of his has been etched in the minds of every honest journalist, students of journalism and every high-minded citizen. He roared, “Their problem is with our kind of journalism and I want to tell them that we don’t owe an explanation to these politicians to decide what our journalism will be! Hum kabhi samjhauta nahi karenge! Nation first, no compromise!”. It takes an immense amount to hardihood for anyone to make such a thunderous statement. It is common knowledge that editors, news anchors and owners of nearly all mainstream media channels are mere stooges of various politicians and most particularly that of the ‘grand old party’ of India. Ironically, this party was founded by a Britisher and currently chaired by a European and time and again it claims sole ownership of granting Indians freedom from the British Raj.

Every right thinking and progressive society undergoes transformation with changing times. Hindus used to follow the practice of Sati till 1829 however, Raja Ram Mohan Roy – a social reformer was successful in abolishing it. In the following years India saw a number of legislations aimed at ending social evils such as untouchability, female foeticide, gender inequality and the recent landmark judgment of decriminalization of homosexuality shows that our society is ready to embrace diversity and inclusivity. One such social evil which was never abolish due to lack of temerity and minority appeasement tactics to secure a vote bank was Triple talaq (Talaq-e-biddat or instant triple talaq).

In fact, the nullifying of the Supreme Court judgement by Mr. Rajeev Gandhi’s government in the infamous Shah Bano case by passing the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 was repugnant to say the least. The Modi government passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 on July 30, 2019 making instant talaq a criminal offence. Though, it is considered as a victory by most but I believe it to be a partial victory as only instant triple talaq has been criminalized. Muslim women can be still divorced through the traditional way of “Talaq-e-sunnat” which gives only the husband the right to divorce his wife where a period of three months is given to both the parties to settle their differences and/or reach an compromise. This still pushes the Muslim women to a corner as they have no say after three months if the husband decides to go ahead with the divorce. However, at least there seems to be an intent by the current dispensation to work towards gender equality and empowerment of women.

I believe till a couple of years back the entire nation was convinced that Article 370 can never be repealed because the Abdullah and Mufti dynasts created a perception to this effect. Mr. Farooq Abdullah infamously told a reporter with steely conviction that Mr. Modi will not be able to “touch” Article 370 even if he is elected to the Prime Minister’s post for 10 consecutive terms. Mr. Abdullah is also very hopeful of getting aide from China to restore Article 370.

Well, Mr. Farooq Abdullah is definitely quite an entertainer, there are numerous videos of him on the internet where we can listen to his brassy singing and also of him dancing on his 11 left feet. This statement of his was equally amusing and entertaining. Ms. Mufti is the other side of the same coin. She once infamously proclaimed at a rally that those who will dare to “touch” Article 35A will turn into ashes. Ahem ahem, cut to today, these lotus eaters and discarded scrap of Indian politics have come together to form the Gupkar Alliance whose agenda is to bring back Kashmir to what it was before 5th August 2019. They are flogging a dead horse and even they know it. Well, if we have to explain to them using their phraseology we would say that India is robust and vibrant democracy and no support from Xi Jingping or from the neighboring failed state which exports donkeys to China and terrorism to the world at large can “touch” a law that has been passed by the Indian Parliament.

Not long ago, being inept in the English language was looked down upon. However, according to the much needed New Education Policy, 2020 (the last one was passed in 1992, by Mr. Narsimha Rao’s government) there is an emphasis on learning in our respective mother tongue till the 5th grade and Sanskrit will be available as an optional language at every grade. It has been proven that when a child learns in his/her mother tongue their ability to understand a concept intuitively increases manifold. A lot of European countries have a policy to impart education in their respective mother tongue and the results are for the world to see. Europeans are extremely proud of their respective native language. Regrettably for years we have been fed this notion that the languages of the western hemisphere of the globe are superior and the practice of speaking our vernacular languages is inferior. Interestingly, Sanskrit and Tamil are considered to be amongst the oldest languages of the world and we have scant regard for them. The policy looks very potent on paper but implementation is going to be an arduous task as always for the Modi government.

I neither intend to eulogize the right wing nor berate the left wing. I am for INDIA wing. I believe due to this binary debate of left vs right, pro-Modi vs anti-Modi, Congress vs BJP, the answer to the elementary question of whether a particular policy/law is beneficial for the country or not does not get answered. I simply tried calling a spade a spade. As a 24 year old I am convinced that for our country to grow and prosper, we need to learn from our history, protect, promote our heritage, celebrate and be proud the culture we belong to, believe in the civilization we come from and most importantly keep challenging the status quo which entails questioning wrong practices and have the gumption to change them. Jai Hind!

You can follow me on my personal blog at what-i-think.co.in for more such articles.

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