#German philosopher & socialist #KarlMarx famously said that religion is the #Opium of the people. What he meant that is that religion was but an escape, a temporary relief from the daily troubles of life. It offers no real solutions to any kind of crisis that one might be going through but a mere hope that the crisis will tide over. For years debates have raged about the very existence of a Supreme Being or God and these debates will perhaps go on till eternity. What makes all this more complicated is that over the last many centuries religion & mythology has been interwoven indelibly with the culture and history of most of the world as we know it. So these legendary stories that one grows up listening to become a part of who the person is, an integral part of their identity. No wonder that many at the summit of power have at various times in history used religion to manipulate the believers, the gullible masses. They only know too well. About the hold that a religion has on it’s followers.
A recent move by the present government in the largest democracy, India to try and discontinue the regressive practice of oral divorce (read #TripleTalaq) among the Muslim community has sparked off a huge controversy. Though one cannot fathom why. Any practice that gives a man the right to end his marriage with a woman by simply uttering some inanity orally cannot have a place in the modern world. Triple Talaq is something that has been followed over hundreds of years and whatever might have been the compulsions behind starting this practice back then, it clearly smacks of gender bias as well as violation of human rights. Over the years many oppressed women from the community have raised their voice asking for this regressive practice to be abolished but successive governments have not had the stomach to take the bull by the horns, mostly fearful of losing support of the community.
But what is wrong is wrong. Lest we forget it was in India itself that the horrible custom of #Sati was practiced by many from the majority community of Hindus. Where a widow immolated herself on the pyre of her deceased husband. And it was only by the #1920s that a law was put in place deeming the custom of Sati as illegal and a punishable offence. The point being that no religious text talks about oppressing others, they all advocate equal rights. And no religion espouses violence, they all talk of peace. It is some of the practitioners of various religions who have decided to interpret what is written according to their whims and fancies. Not surprisingly the #AIMPLB a powerful non government body that looks after Muslim personal laws in the country has cried foul. The line that they are taking is also a predictable one – Triple Talaq has been a matter of faith for Muslims over thousands of years.
Then there are those who say that there are enough regressive customs in the Hindu religion itself that need reforming. Like casteism that discriminates between Hindus based on their respective castes. In fact the killing of a low caste Hindu (read #Dalit) in the hinterlands last year by the powerful upper caste folks had made headlines. Yet the ruling party will not try and change the status quo because they fear they might fall out of favor with the people. And since the minority community do not really vote for them they are meddling with the faith of the community. Now that is as weak an argument as one has ever heard. Simply because two wrongs do not make one right. And Triple Talaq is wrong. Period.