- Discuss the problems of religious minorities in India. 20
- Write a short note on the impact of religious personal laws on Indian women 10
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1. Discuss the problems of religious minorities in India. 20
- Jagnath pathy listed our following criteria for defining minorities in India:
- Subordinate in some way to the majority.
- Distinguishable from the majority of certain physical or cultural features.
- Treated differently and inferior to the majority group collectively.
- Excluded from full participation from the mainstream of the society.
- The pluralist character of the Indian society is reflected in the multitude of religious communities that inhabit the country.
- The numerical strengths of some of these communities are more overwhelming than the others. The basic criterion for a community to be designated as a religious minority is the numerical strength of the said community. Six religious communities have been designated as minorities by the union government. These six communities are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, and Jains.
- A number of problems have surfaced with regard to the religious minorities.
- These problems range from discrimination faced by them to their forced conversions.
- Other constraints faced by these communities also include problems of poverty and the consequent feeling of alienation that has developed among them.
- They increasingly feel alienated from the society at large, due to the deprivation faced by them as a direct result of discrimination.
- This has produced an acute impact on the social and economic life of the members of the minority communities.
- Fear of loss of identity is a major problem faced by religious minorities. They feel threatened by the proposition of losing their own identity to the majority religious community.
- Because of the socio-cultural differences, a difference of practices, backgrounds, and histories minorities have to scuffle with the identity issue which gives rise to the problem of adjustment with majorities.
- Moreover, in recent times, an alarming rise in the hate crimes against the minority communities in India, including the desecration of places of worship.
- Programs like the Ghar Wapsi Movement, have led to the rise of forced conversions in different parts of the country.
- Sachar committee highlighted the backward status and deprivation faced by Muslim communities in India.
- The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) was established to provide constitutional rights to these minorities.
- Various government schemes like Nayi Roshni, Padho Pardesh, Seekho aur kamao, job reservation (Maharashtra) etc. are constituted for their welfare.
- Thus, the development and well being of these minority religious communities rests on the amendments to existing laws and the better implementation of the same. Immediate attention is required to protect the rights of these communities and to improve their conditions of welfare.
2. Write a short note on the impact of religious personal laws on Indian women 10
- Define personal laws - Personal laws are those laws dealing with marriage, divorce and inheritance and have a significant bearing on religion.
- Archana Parashar states that women have fewer rights than men in any personal law
- The Hindu Succession Act 1956 and subsequent 2005 amendment made the daughters equal coparceners. This resulted in improved bargaining power for Hindu women
- The 1869 Divorce Act and subsequent 2001 amendment made one of the grounds of divorce i.e., adultery more gender neutral
- With respect to Islamic personal laws, the recent Triple Talaq Act has made instant triple talaq illegal thereby enhancing security of Muslim women
- Susan Moller says that cultural diversity always comes at the cost of gender equality
- Hence, there are demands for Uniform Civil Code
- In some cases, though the personal laws are amended to bring in gender equality, actual ground reality is different
- For example, though there is a Dowry Prohibition Act, Dowry has reinvented itself as ―gift
- The Mehar amount given for Muslim women during wedding is only followed ―namesake and actual sum of money is very negligible
- Thus, the effect of personal laws on women is a mixed bag of reality