Thursday, November 27, 2014


In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful
V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

One wonders if a thousand debates which we witnessed on the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano case and the Muslim women (protection of rights on divorce) Act 1986 passed in Indian Parliament after a very long and thorough arguments were not enough to conclude that Indian Muslims cannot compromise on their fundamental and Constitutional rights such as protecting their ‘more than life’ important Islamic laws which they consider rational, reasonable and divine-inspired.

As there is frequent criticism of the stand taken by Muslims on the above said judgment even after so many years of the passing of the Muslim Women Act 1986, it seems necessary to place the Muslim points of view before the people on this oft-repeated and never-ending controversy.

Unless we discuss and debate things which confront us, we cannot understand and solve them. Hence this humble attempt to make sure that in matters of faith which are of course one’s personal affairs, there should be no interference from any quarter at all. This is a ‘since qua non’ for unity and integrity of our country. Let our ancient country India remain a garden of different flowers and spread its message of unity in diversity and composite cultural heritage without any religious fanaticism so that all people, whatever their religion or faith, may live in peace and harmony. Our aim should be to make our country materially prosperous and spiritually “a shining symbol or model of peace”. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014


The Chief Justice of India, Mr. K. G. Balakrishnan said rightly sometime ago that a uniform civil code is a highly sensitive issue in our country where people belonging to different castes, races and communities live and explained it in detail saying that “it took thirty years for Britishers to implement the Indian penal code after its codification in the beginning of 1830”. It is really welcome and appreciable. I feel that his opinion should have pleased the minorities here particularly Muslims and Christians.

In a plural society like India only plural laws can give a strong feeling of nationality. Ours is a country of people belonging to different faiths and cultures and of course they must have the laws of their respective choice. The different personal laws in vogue now should continue to exist for the purpose of unity and solidarity of the country. If a uniform civil code is imposed on the unwilling minorities, it will not only be of no use, but also weaken our country. The best way is to make the different personal laws uniform as much as possible. There is no attempt in this respect by any quarter just because the uncalled for obiter dicta of the Supreme Court is being exploited by communal parties to their selfish political ends and the Muslim intellectuals who have the interest of the community and country at heart have lost their grounds for reforms of the Muslim personal law in the midst of rampant communal atmosphere.

There is an urgent need for creating a right atmosphere in the country where people can feel free to think and decide their issues. Moreover there is mention of a uniform civil code in the Directive Principles of the Constitution and not of a common civil code. It is well known that the Hindu laws are not the same everywhere in the country. The tribals also enjoy their own laws and they continue to receive support from all politicians. As the first step let the Hindu laws be made uniform.

This writer asked many ulemas about this issue. They say in so many words that they cannot oppose a uniform civil code if it is within the framework of the Islamic laws but there is no possibility of this and hence their opposition. It is wrong to say that Muslims oppose a uniform civil code. They only oppose any imposition of unwanted laws on them because they feel and rightly so that Islam provides better laws which are not only for them but for all human beings of all times. On the contrary the laws found in the Indian personal laws are not perfect.
The Muslims should consider that the Holy Quran has given excellent laws about marriage, divorce, inheritance etc. which are indeed far better than the modern laws and so they should adopt them in spirit and letter.

A majority of Muslims oppose the unilateral and instant triple divorce system and prefer the rational Quranic laws. The Ulema (Islamic scholars) belonging to the Ahle-hadees school of thought simply consider this system un-Islamic and invalid. All other Ulema also consider the instant triple system an act of the days of ignorance (Ayyamul Jahiliyya) but “occured” if it is practised even though it is not an approved system in the light of the holy Quran and Ahadees. All Ulema say that divorce should only be as the last resort and there should not be any hasty decision. There are many books written on this subject. Moreover almost all Muslim intellectuals, including Justice V. Khalid, former judge of the Supreme court, disapprove this system and consider it un-Islamic.

Islam provides laws for all situations and it is our inability to make use of them properly. And it is this inability of ours which often lands us in trouble. If Muslims follow the Islamic laws in spirit and letter, not only they will be benefited, but even people belonging to other faiths will come forward to follow them because of their fairness.

The Muslim Personal Law should continue to be in existence in our country and of course we can and we should make necessary changes in it as time demands in the light of the holy Quran and Ahadees. Islam provides laws meant for all times. We fail to grasp and implement them.          

Friday, November 14, 2014


Today is the Children’s day- 14th November -which is the birth day of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The following write-up is an extract from which we can understand the thinking, humility and approach of this great freedom fighter and builder of India who belongs to all.

A.A. Ravoof 

No other leader in the wide world had so much real love for the masses as Nehru. It was inborn in him. Often he wondered how the people of India, the common people of India, men, women and children, gathered in their thousands at his meetings, though most of them did not know the language he spoke in and much less understood what he said. Still they came, not so much to hear his oration as for the darshan, to get inspired by the sight of the leader. He always loved to meet people to look into their eyes and fathom what lay behind them, to understand their urges, their needs and sufferings. 

            How was he able to achieve this? No one was conscious of it in a greater degree than Nehru himself. He said: “Perhaps more than any other person in India at present, I have come in contact with vast masses of human beings…I come in contact with them and I am receptive to their feelings. And because I am receptive to their feelings I can make them receptive to what I say. It has to be mutual. If I went about like a school master or a boss ordering them about, their receptiveness would close up. I go as a colleague and comrade and I credit them with intelligence to understand the most intricate problems”. 

On several occasions when as a security measure, the public were kept at a distance from him, Nehru got excited and shouted:“I do not want to see policemen and policemen everywhere. Where are the people? Who are you to stand between me and my people?” Only when he heard the people greeting him from somewhere did he relax or smile. This love for the masses and the reciprocal regard and esteem and affection that he got in abundant measure were unique, probably he was the one and only leader who enjoyed this love to the point of deification.

In fact he exercised a hypnotic spell over the Indian masses as no other leader did before. Dr. Matthai, a former Indian Finance Minister, has said that it would be difficult to find in the history of this country, since the days of the Mauryan Empire a single leader whose utterances and messages were received with such enthusiasm and interest by the people from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin. So much so that he had got used to this here-worship. Very often he debated this issue within himself. At times he detested hero-worship, yet he had got accustomed to it.  

His love for the masses was absolutely genuine. Some years ago Nehru told the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry that the Second Five Year Plan was by no means over-ambitious. He added, people who talked about the Second Plan being over-ambitious ignored the nature of the problem and asked, was it ambitious for the Indian people to presume to think that they could ever be prosperous, wealthy and strong? He continued: “When we said that we could be independent and would not be ruled by any other country, some people in our own country thought, “are these people, disunited, fighting each other on religious grounds, caste grounds and language grounds, poverty-stricken people, backward people, superstitious people who go and bathe by the millions in the Ganges or the Jamuna or some other river if there is an eclipse of the Sun or Moon, worthy of freedom?” Many people said so and that argument might well have been justified logically on paper. But we dared, the people of India dared, the ordinary peasant, the poverty-stricken peasant of India dared and we succeeded. Therefore do not let it be said that we are ambitious. The moment we cease to be ambitious, we go downhill.” Evidently Nehru agreed with Browning who said:

     Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for? 

Nehru had an uncanny way of winning the love, affection and esteem of his countrymen. To quote one instance: on April 15, 1959, Nehru was on a visit to the city of Madras. A little earlier, he had displeased a section of the South Indians by his remarks on Rajaji, his strong attack on those who opposed the policy of his Government with regard to Hindi and his criticism of critics in general. The South as a whole felt offended: still, when he came to the State capital, the citizens of Madras did attend his meetings in their thousands as usual but with heavy hearts.

Nehru mounted the rostrum and greeted the audience with folded hands and with a mesmeric smile. Those who were very near him, those who caught the glint in his eyes and the curve of his lips were completely charmed and immediately forgot all about his offending remarks made on an earlier occasion. He began: “I am a very fortunate person. I have come to Madras on a very auspicious day – the Tamil New Year day. I congratulate you and give you my good wishes for the New Year that is beginning today”. This impressed the sensitive Tamilians and they were happy. 

Then he added: “Arriving here today I had the best of New Year gifts given to me. That was a party of children of Madras gathered together for the inauguration of the Children’s Park at Guindy. Is that not a piece of very good fortune for me?” Immediately after, a still larger section came under his spell –the whole world loves the man who loves children.

Now he turned to the critics. He knew there was a good number of them in the audience and that the best way to deal with them was to recognize them. So he said: “It is good to have critics…..because the best of us are apt to look at things in a limited way if there are no critics………..Therefore I am not complaining of criticisms but I welcome them.” The critics were naturally elated at this delightful reference to them and soon became his friends.

Nehru remembered that he was harsh on Rajaji on a previous visit and felt that he owed the Madras audience an explanation if not an apology. He was quite ready for the job. He said: “A very eminent leader of India whom we have honoured and respected for generations, Rajaji, has been writing and sometimes showing displeasure at our policy. Anything that Rajaji says has always merited consideration and respectful attention……………Now I may perhaps venture to say one word for him with great respect and that is ………a little charity sometimes in his thinking may not be out of place. We are not as wise as he is. We may have other faults, but let us not be charged with lack of good faith.” The job was so excellently and superbly done that Rajai-fans who were harbouring a grouse in their minds forgave him and all their animosity and antipathy towards Nehru turned into sympathy.

Having thus secured the sympathy of the audience, Nehru began to have his say. He argued: “Let it be understood. It is not enough to criticize us, it is not enough to say that we are going in the wrong way. It is not enough to say that we are going too fast or that  ‘you must have brakes and checks; otherwise you break your necks.’ Let us analyse the problem. Let us try to find out what it is.”

He paused and cast a thoughtful look at the audience. He pondered for a while and resumed his speech: “I am quite honest with you. I make no claim to any brilliance of understanding in economic matters and the like……….I want you to consider whether all these wonderful Plans came out of my head like Minerva coming out of the head of Jupiter. Rajaji knows that I am not such a brilliant person. I am rather an ordinary person with certain well-defined capacity, energy and fortunately with a good deal of health about me so that I can throw myself about” 

Seeing the audience veering round to him, he developed the theme: “Of course always there is the driving force in our head, that we have got to go ahead. If it is not there, I do not know what exactly we are for. I hope none of us takes hold of these Ministerships just to earn a living. I suppose many of us can earn much bigger amounts in other ways. After all, we may not be quite so bad, not that bad.   

Now Nehru’s hand was on the pulse of the public. He said in all humility: “No single man, however able he is, can shoulder the burden alone and if at any time those of us who are connected with the Government, either at the Centre or in the States, imagine that they are supermen and that they need not consult others, then they have failed in their work. It is with this spirit that I wish to approach questions. Of course, I have failed often enough. I make mistakes but I hope everything will be forgiven if I mean the right thing, if I try to do right and if I endeavour to do so.” Nothing appeals to the common man more than great men’s modesty and admission of mistakes. And more members of the audience were being swept off their feet without their knowing it. 

The people were under his hypnotic spell. He said: “Well my time is up. I am happy to have been able to come to Madras on this New Year Day and to tell you something that I have in my mind. Life is exciting in India, dealing with problems. I have had my share of this excitement and though there are big problems, the faith, the idea that I have the affection and goodwill of large numbers of people of India has helped me and will help me.”

Then he pondered for a while and seriously added: “ And if any day, the people of India do not have that faith in me, they are perfectly capable of asking me to retire and go away somewhere else and I should gladly do it without a trace of, shall I say, resentment. I shall be very happy indeed. But so long as I am in the job, I am in it. I have some energy still and I propose to strive hard so long as there is strength in me to realize the dreams we have had and the promises we have made. If I do not do so, I shall be unworthy of your confidence, of the position we occupy…..I believe that this huge social transformation cannot be brought about by government decree. Millions of people have to work for it. Therefore I beg of you, consider these matters, think of these problems, come to conclusions and then act upon them. Jai Hind.” 

Nehru did not like flattery or high-sounding encomiums. He referred to it at a Coimbatore function when an address was presented to him cataloguing the many virtues that he possessed and many more that he did not. He shunned praise. Too much praise is like too much sugar in the tea; only a few can swallow it.

India-U.S. deal paves the way for global trade pact

Puja Mehra
 Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman
 Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman 

Food security deadlock resolved ahead of WTO meet

Decks have been cleared for a possible global trade deal after India and the U.S agreed on the way forward to break the logjam in global trade negotiations. With the agreement in place, India is all set to move its proposal on food security before the WTO’s General Council at its next meeting scheduled for early December. 

This proposal will seek to make open-ended the interim protection of a ‘peace clause’ that was agreed to at the Bali Ministerial last December. 

The clause safeguards support prices for farmers against the WTO’s limits on agricultural subsidies. India was in danger of breaching these subsidy caps. 

India wants to make sure that this protection would be available in perpetuity, should a permanent solution to the problem of the WTO agriculture subsidy caps not be found. Whether the Bali Declaration provides that the ‘peace clause’ could be available beyond 2017 was open to interpretation. 

 India’s right

Announcing that an agreement had been reached with the U.S, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday that the U.S had agreed that India’s right to protect its right to food security cannot be denied by the WTO, paving the way for removing the imperfections in the Bali Ministerial package. 

U.S Trade Representative Michael Froman also released a statement which said the agreement with India reflected shared understandings regarding the WTO’s work on food security. 

Sources on the Indian side indicated that the resolution was possible after an understanding was reached with the U.S that India’s subsidies are not trade-distorting and aimed at achieving food security. India, on the other hand, was able to reassure the U.S that it was not opposed to trade facilitation and in fact was on course to implement it. 

 Clears way for TFAs

“The agreement announced today between the United States and India paves the way for full implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the first multilateral trade agreement to be concluded in the history of the WTO,” the U.S statement on the India-U.S. agreement on food subsidies said on Thursday. 

At the WTO’s Ministerial Conference held in Bali last December, all its members, including the U.S and India, had agreed to a package of measures including a TFA and a commitment to find a permanent solution to the problematic agricultural subsidy caps. India’s position is that the WTO’s farm subsidies need to be updated as they are benchmarked to food prices of the 1980s. 

Efforts to put the TFA in place were dealt a setback in July, when India refused to ratify, it raising concerns over the unsatisfactory progress on the WTO’s work on food security issues. The U.S statement said that delay has now been overcome with the agreement with India in place for moving forward with the full implementation of the Bali package. 

“We supported the Bali Package but when subsequent developments belied that hope, India had no option but to seek a course correction,” the India statement said. It also said that the impasse at the WTO was now likely to end, opening the way for implementation of the TFA. 

“We are extremely happy that India and the U.S have successfully resolved their differences relating to the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes in the WTO in a manner that addresses our concerns,” the India statement said. The agreement will facilitate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bilateral meetings at the ongoing G-20 summit in Brisbane. 

(Courtesy: The Hindu dated 14th November 2014)  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Investment climate not right: Japanese Minister

Suhasini Haidar

 Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japanese Minister of State for Finance. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Fund flow will depend on economic reforms, says Yasutoshi Nishimura

Striking a note of caution about India’s “environment for investment,” a Minister in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office said the government must roll out economic reforms, build up infrastructure and cut red tape if the $35 billion promised during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan were to be actualised. “So long as there is a step-by-step forward movement, I think the expectations can be reached,” said State Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura in an exclusive interview to The Hindu.

“Japanese companies will move forward with investment, but only if there is a visibility with regard to these reforms.”

He clarified that the $35 billion or 3.5 trillion yen committed was a combination of government outlay for Indian transport infrastructure and the projected expectation from private companies. Much of the public investment will be in the $100 billion Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, metro transport, and bullet train technology.


Speaking at the India Global Forum organised by IISS and ORF, Mr. Nishimura had also hit out at the lack of infrastructure, including transport and power, saying Maruti Suzuki’s Indian plants had to depend on private generators.

“Despite the quite large investment to date, infrastructure development is not catching up with rapid economic growth. This is a major bottleneck for growth,” he added.

Government’s initiatives forward-looking: Nishimura

At the India Global Forum on Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had conceded that building investor confidence was the government’s big worry, saying, “One of the principal challenges is to restore confidence in the Indian economy, to expand economic activity and increase the growth rate.”

Japan was the first country to commit major investment to Mr. Modi’s economic outreach, but is by no means the biggest investor in India. According to industry reports, India accounts only for 1.2% of Japan’s FDI, as opposed to 8.8% for China. Also, India-Japan trade accounts for just 2% of India’s total trade and 1% of Japan’s.

Conceding that the government’s initiatives including the setting up of a special “Japan-plus” desk at the Commerce Ministry’s Department of Investment Promotion were “forward-looking,” Mr. Nishimura told The Hindu, “We very clearly see the government’s desire for promoting and encouraging investment. In fact many companies are thinking once again of investing in India. What they have been asking for is an improvement in administrative procedures in India.”
(Click here to read the full transcript of the interview)

(Courtesy: The Hindu dated 11th November 2014)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Prophet Mohammed (Sal-am) said: God will say, ‘Son of Adam, I fell ill but you did not visit Me.’ He will say, ‘O Lord, and how could I have visited You! You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say, ‘Did you not know that My so and so servant had fallen ill and you did not visit him? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?’‘Son of Adam, I asked you for food but you did not feed Me’. He will say, ‘O Lord, how could I have fed You! You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say, ‘My so and so servant asked you for food and you did not feed him? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that with Me?’‘Son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink but you did not give Me.’ He will say, ‘O Lord, how could I have given you to drink! You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say, ‘My so and so servant asked you to give him to drink and you did not give him. Had you given him to drink you would surely have found that with Me’. (Muslim: Abu Hurayrah)