dailyO
Politics

3 things Javed Akhtar could have said about Owaisi

Kumar Shakti Shekhar
Kumar Shakti ShekharMar 16, 2016 | 17:45

3 things Javed Akhtar could have said about Owaisi

Poet and writer Javed Akhtar, while delivering his farewell speech in Rajya Sabha on March 15, mocked AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi over chanting of "Bharat mata ki jai". Without naming Owaisi, Akhtar said: "He (Owaisi) said he will not say 'Bharat mata ki jai' as the Constitution does not require him to say so. But, the same Constitution does not ask him to wear sherwani and topi either... I don't care to know whether saying 'Bharat mata ki jai' is my duty or not, it is my right," and chanted the slogan three times.

The nominated Rajya Sabha MP made a powerful speech during his 15-odd-minute address. While taking on Owaisi, he also condemned the fringe elements of the Right and a slogan like "Mussalman ke do sthan, kabristan aur Pakistan" raised by some of them. But Akhtar stopped just at the "sherwani" and "topi" jibe. These are the three other points which Akhtar could have mentioned to call Owaisi's bluff and to prove the inherent contradictions in his stand.

1. Reciting Vande Mataram

Owaisi takes refuge under the Constitution when it comes to not chanting "Bharat mata ki jai" or to demand ban on liquor. But he ignores the Constitution on other issues.

In a speech made in Latur, Maharashtra, on March 13, Owaisi said, "I don't chant that slogan. What are you going to do, Bhagwat sahab [RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat]... I won't utter that [slogan] even if you put a knife to my throat... Nowhere in the Constitution it says that one should say: Bharat Mata ki jai."

While making this alibi and taking refuge under the Constitution, Owaisi was clearly playing to the galleries when he said this. Why does he not recite, or why is he against the national song "Vande Mataram", even though it was passed by the Constituent Assembly of India?

Just two days before India became a republic, President Dr Rajendra Prasad said in Constituent Assembly meeting, "The composition consisting of the words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations in the words as the Government may authorise as occasion arises; and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it. [Applause]. I hope this will satisfy the members."

However, while Owaisi recites the national anthem, he refuses to sing the national song even though constitutionally both are at the same pedestal. But here too he has his own logic to oppose Vande Mataram and the reason is not very hard to fathom.

2. Implementing Uniform Civil Code

When it comes to supporting prohibition, the AIMIM chief quotes the Constitution. However, he conveniently ignores the Constitution wherever it suits him.

Part IV of the Constitution deals with Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) and is discussed from Articles 36 to 51. Article 37 says: "The provisions contained in this Part shall not be enforceable by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws."

Article 44 states that "the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India". On October 12, Supreme Court had observed that there was "total confusion" due to personal laws governing different religious practices. It asked the Centre whether it was willing to implement Uniform Civil Code in the country.

So far, Uniform Civil Code, aimed at applying the same yardsticks for all religions in matters of law pertaining to marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance, has evaded the country. While BJP and fringe Hindu organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad support it, the minorities, particularly Muslims, and the Left-liberals have vehemently opposed its implementation. Owaisi is also against the code saying the "architect" of Constitution BR Ambedkar was against it being made mandatory. Here Owaisi, instead of following the written words in the Constitution, makes fun of the code.

3. Banning cow slaughter

The AIMIM, which reposes its faith in the Directive Principles for demanding prohibition, opposes them when it comes to the sensitive issue of banning cow slaughter. Article 48 advises the nation to take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle. This provision is influenced even by Gandhian principles, which Owaisi and his party believe in.

While they invoke Gandhi on non-violence and secularism, the Father of the Nation is forgotten in case of ban on cow slaughter. "Freedom to eat beef" takes precedence over Gandhian teachings and even law.

Owaisi is clearly indulging in cheap political gimmicks to advance his narrow agenda. Next time when Javed Akhtar stands up to slam Owaisi, he hopefully will also mention the aforesaid points to nail the AIMIM leader.

Last updated: March 16, 2016 | 17:45
IN THIS STORY
Please log in
I agree with DailyO's privacy policy