Archive for December 2006

Veils & the Muslim women

December 26, 2006

Hijab or Burqa tradition among the Muslim women, which has been accepted by the Islam religion, has again become a subject of controversy, these days. The Burqa controversy that came out from the statement of former foreign minister of Britain, Jack Straw hasn?t yet lost the ground when the government of Netherlands has decided to make a law that bans the Burqa tradition there. Hijab, Naqab or Burqa, all the three are almost the same things, by which a women hides her face from other men. In Islam, this tradition is known to be a direct command received from God. Regarding it, the Muslim religious leaders that advocate for the Burqa tradition say that God has clearly ordered in Quran Shareef, ?Say to your wives, daughters & women to cover their head with the veil so that they are not recognised & are not open to cruelty. As the religion Islam came into existence, on the land of Arabs, so the ?Naqab? prevalent there should be seen as real Hijab. But as a chance, the difference & the paradox regarding this tradition, in Islam is so much that the Muslim world is in a fix that if Burqa tradition is accepted & women of the family are asked to act upon it then what type of veil should it be, as it is in Arab or in Iraq. Should it be Hijab adopted by the British or the American women? Or Burqa as prevalent in India, the Naqab worn in Pakistan or that openness as it has been accepted by Benazir Bhutto, Begam Khalida Zia, Sheikh Hasina Wajid, Shirin Ibadi & Sania Mirza & other Muslim women of world fame.
Undoubtedly, after the terrorist attack of September 11 on America, the Muslim world is passing through a tough test. Now a day if a finger is pointed towards Islam or its beliefs, the whole Muslim world seems to take such effort, very seriously. And if this finger is from such countries as America, Britain, Netherlands or Denmark, then the Muslims of the world start to think it as a direct attack on the Islam. But in reality this is a matter of discussion not only in Britain or Netherlands, but a great part of the Muslim society is also not in favour of keeping its women veiled.
It is a bitter truth that almost all the traditions & beliefs of all the religions are mostly formed under the main role of male society. Obviously this male dominated society, while framing religious rules of the society used its dictatorship & double standard in which they kept themselves free & tied the women in many troublesome ties such as to keep their faces curtained. It is a matter of sorrow, regarding veils of a woman, there has been given a reference of the God?s command in Quran Shareef & accordingly ordered them to remain veiled so that they are not open to cruelty. But there is nothing for the man to stop them from doing cruelty.
It may be that at the time of embodiment of Quran Shareef or the time when the Islam religion came into existence, the Hijab tradition may have been useful. But can this tradition be accepted so meaningful, in this modern age of today, as it was fourteen hundred years ago. Today Benazir Bhutto has the power to handle the political leadership of a Muslim country, Pakistan & has given successful leadership to Pakistan, as a successful Prime Minister. Shirin Ibadi of Iran has proved by winning the Noble Peace Award that a Muslim woman even behind a veil & being a housewife, when comes out of the veil can win the greatest award of the world, that is the Noble Peace Prize.
Sania Mirza, an Indian Tennis Player also gives this type of message. Sania Mirza is far away from wearing the Burqa but even her tight clothes while playing Tennis, became a subject of controversy & many Muslim scholars raised fingers on her. Now the question is that even today the Muslim men have kept the right of deciding it with themselves, if the Muslim women should wear the Naqab or not? Why can the women not decide it themselves whether they should wear Burqa or not? A Muslim woman can feel it better, if to act upon the veil tradition is useful for her or a hurdle in her progress.
I am not against the veil tradition among the Muslim women in Islam. But I am worried that it may prove an obstacle in the race of their life career. Today it is a common talk in the world that the main cause of being conservative & fundamental of the Muslims is lack of literacy in them. It is a universal truth that if the mother is educated, the children have better chances of getting education. But if the mother is uneducated, she can neither understand the importance of education nor encourage her children to get education who can deny the fact that wearing Burqa is a great impediment in getting the education & progress in life.
Undoubtedly, the fresh statements of the leaders of the western countries, regarding the veil of the Muslim women, may revive the thought among the Muslim society that if the Christianity is against the Islam. But in reality, the entire Muslim world is not unanimous regarding the veil tradition. There are different ways prevalent to veil among the Muslim women in different countries, somewhere the head is covered & face is uncovered. At some places a cloth when wrapped solves the purpose. The educated Muslim society, wherever they may be living in the world, today doesn?t consider it necessary to veil the women. This elite class understands it that Burqa is an obstruction in the mental & educational development of women. The Muslims who belong to this class don?t force the women in their families to cover themselves with Burqa. And even the Muslim women of these educated families don?t consider it compulsory to wear Burqa in this modern age.
So now the time demands that every controversial matter should not be viewed from the angle of the Christianity or the Islam. The merits & demerits must be seen & that too without prejudice. If either in the Islam or in any other religion, there is something that is not beneficial for the society & hampers the educational, intellectual & mental growth of the society, then it should be done away with & the religious leaders or the responsible group should not stand in its way.

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Is Deputy Prime Minister?s Office in India justified?

December 26, 2006

Despite the fact that there is no special place for the office of deputy prime minister in Indian constitution, by now seven persons have enjoyed this office in India. After independence, first deputy prime minister was Vallabh Bhai Patel, who got a chance to work with the first Prime Minister of free India, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. Sardar Patel had also been a successful Home Minister of India. After that from 1967-1969, Morarji Desai remained Deputy Prime Minister with the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1979, Choudhary Charan Singh & Jagjeevan Ram took this office jointly with the Prime Minister Morarji Desai. This was the first time in India when two Deputy Prime Minister were jointly holding this office. After that from 1979 to 1980, Y.B. Chavan was in charge of this office. Then in 1989-1990, Choudhary Devi Lal held this office with the Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh. Choudhary Devi Lal again got the chance in 1990-1991 with the Prime Minister Chandrasekhar. Similarly on June 19, 2002, Lal Krishan Advani was given this office as seventh & last Deputy Prime Minister of India.
It is worth knowing that there is no role assigned to the Deputy Prime Minister in the constitution of India & the makers of the Indian constitution didn?t feel this need to run the government of the country for the office of Deputy Prime Minister, in spite of it, the country has to bear the burden of Deputy Prime Ministers. As the Indian constitution doesn?t have any room for the office of Deputy Prime Minister, so there is neither separate oath taking ceremony for the Deputy Prime Minister nor there is any separate arrangement for seat of the Deputy Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha. In India, the status of the Deputy Prime Minister is equal to other Cabinet Ministers. But it is seen that the persons who hold this office are usually high ranking politicians. Generally the ministers who hold the portfolios of Home or Finance are given this office. Whereas the powers of Deputy Prime Ministers are concerned the Deputy Prime Minister doesn?t have any special powers. But if the Prime Minister is not keeping good health or in his absence or during his foreign tour or in case of the death of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Minister takes charge of the office of the Prime Minister. Generally the function of the Deputy Prime Minister is to preside over the meetings of councils of ministers in the absence of Prime Minister.
The office of the Deputy Prime Minister may be a production of Indian political set up. There is a provision of Deputy Prime Minister in the countries as Australia, Canada, Israel, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, North Ireland, Scotland & Wales. There is also a provision for the office of Deputy Prime Minister in the new political structure of Iraq. In Britain, Deputy Prime Minister is also called the Shadow Prime Minister whereas in Germany the associate minister of Chancellor is called the Deputy Chancellor. But besides India, in all the countries, the Deputy Prime Minister has got some additional rights. Then what is the compulsion of appointing Deputy Prime Minister in India? Is it proper to appoint a powerful leader on this unconstitutional office just to have political stability? He may be Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, who is remembered as the ?Iron Man of India? or Lal Krishan Advani, a leader of the Hinduism or other five Indian Deputy Prime Ministers appointed in between them. Undoubtedly all these had their influential role in the politics of the country. But we can?t deny the fact that by accepting this unconstitutional office of Deputy Prime Minister, all these expressed their greed for power. Among the Deputy Prime Ministers of India, the two Deputy Prime Ministers Morarji Desai & Choudhary Charan Singh were fortunate enough to hold the office of Prime Minister of India. But for the last few days there is a controversy in India on the name of Lal Krishna advani in which he has shown his desire to be the Prime Minister.
Lal Krishan Advani has a claim to show his desire for being a Prime Minister that as in British Political System, in India too the claimant of this office should be the leader of the opposition party. But in reality the reason for his desire of Prime Minister?s office is that he remained the Information Minister of India from 1977-1979 & after that he was Home Minister in 2002 & afterwards the Deputy Prime Minister of the country. But it may be said the political misfortunate of Advani that the way to Prime Minister?s office was never clear for it. As a result of it, Advani?s political journey couldn?t go far from the Deputy Prime Minister?s office & couldn?t reach the Prime Minister?s office. In the last days, in an interview to a T.V. Channel Advani said that he was desirous of being a Prime Minister but he had no hope of being his name proposed through Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
I don?t see any leader of first line or second line in the Indian politics who is not ambitious of sitting on the chair of the Prime Minister of India. Specially in the Indian politics where there has come a new tradition of coalition governments, where Chandrasekhar, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, H.D. Devegoda & I.K. Gujral, the person who had comparatively low political position, became Prime Ministers there, to think of sitting on the chair of Prime Minister by Advani can neither be said wrong nor impossible. It can?t be put off by saying Advani?s mere imagination or personal ambition because his political life remained full of hard struggle & political achievements. His handling of many a time president ship of national political parties as Bhartiya Janta Party & Jansangh, his appointment as at many important ministerial ranks & an honour to be a Deputy Prime Minister & at present to be the leader of opposition in the Indian parliament are his important political achievements. After that in his political career, there only remains the chair of Prime Minister. Vajpayee by giving Advani the status of Home Minister & Deputy Prime Minister in his cabinet has tried to give this message in the Indian politics that after Vajpayee, Advani is the leader of highest rank. But in reality, if Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted it himself to propose the name of Advani as Prime Minister of India, even then it was difficult task for Vajpayee to get for him the chair of Prime Minister. Its main reason is that impression of Advani has become as a fundamental Hindutvavadi leader. Even too last year, during his visit to Pakistan, Advani called Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, a secular leader. Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh openly opposed this statement of Advani. Despite all these efforts, Advani & Sangh couldn?t succeed to mitigate the impression of Advani as communal & Anti-Muslim leader.
79 years old Lal Krishan Advani who was born in 1927 in Karachi (Pakistan) may not be able to realise his dream of being a Prime Minister as all the Prime Ministers of India had an impression of a secular leader. Vajpayee is known as a secular mask of the party even though Bhartiya Janta Party is known to be a representative of Hindutvavadi thought. But Vajpayee, by giving a status of Deputy Prime Minister to Advani has proved that Advani?s political status is not below any other leader. Usually, more or less, the office of Deputy Prime Minister is given to those leaders who have a claim for the chair of Prime Minister or just for the political bargaining for coalition government. That?s why; this unconstitutional office is filled up. All the governments of state of India are now following the footsteps of central government. In many states, Deputy Chief Minister is nominated & powerful political leaders are installed on this unconstitutional status. In India, there is a strong need to abolish such useless & unconstitutional ranks so that the public money spent on the political satisfaction of the leaders may be used for the development of the country.

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This weeks News Articles at merinews contributed by Citizen Journalist

December 8, 2006

Iron ore exports: Long-term implications
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The government has hastily decided to export iron ore, perhaps to offset the depletion of forex reserves in view of the spiraling oil costs. But is it prudent?
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A Hard Fact by World Institute for Development Economic Research (WIDER)
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Facts are stranger than fiction. And, it’s an established fact now that 1 per cent of the world adults account for $125 trillion or 45 per cent of the total world’s wealth. These gains could not have been made without globalization.
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Indian judiciary redeems itself
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Recent decisions taken by the Indian courts have helped in reaffirming the lost faith of the common citizens in the judiciary. These decisions reinforce that all citizens are equal before law.
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