Kerala : The left Govt, led by Chief Minister and CPM supremo Pinarayi Vijayan has once again proved that it is bound to crawl before Islamic fundamentalists when they ask it to kneel. The state witnessed this when the CPM Govt withdrew the oath Kudumbasree volunteers were supposed to take during Gender Resources Meeting between November 25 to December 23, 2022.
The reason for this shameful climb down is simple: Nasar Faizy Koodathayi, a leader of Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyathul Qutba Committee, an influential Islamic religious body, objected. Because the oath says, “We will provide equal rights for both male and female over the property,” Koodathai says it violates religious freedom and goes against the principles of the Quran. He says it is against Shari’a Law. He says the pledge was against the fundamental rights of religious freedom granted by the Constitution. The state government has been organizing various praise-worthy projects through Kudumbashree as part of the gender campaign conducted by the Union Rural Development Ministry. But, equal right for males and females over ancestral property is not acceptable to Islamic principles.
Koodathai maintains, as per Quran, a man is entitled to have a share of property equal to that of two women, and the female member is allowed half of what a male member gets from the father’s property. However, he claims it is not discrimination since the man takes total responsibility for looking after the family. Given the expenses a male has to bear to look after a family, this Quran Law cannot be considered discrimination. Negation of this religious right will lead to protests.
Koodathai was recently in the news for his statement against the football craze gripping the young generation. He thinks the kudumbashree oath will serve as a helping hand to the drive for a Common Civil Code. This new controversy unleashed by Koodathai has hit the headlines of even the national media.
The GoK’s withdrawal of the oath has invited the wrath of the nationalist forces and the Cyber World. Netizens wonder if GoK, by succumbing to the fundamentalist pressure, admits that women do not deserve equal rights as men enjoy. They blast CM Pinarayi Vijayan for scrawling before the organized vote bank. They ask him to show willpower like PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah do. Both were willing to ban Muthalaq and raise the marriage age for women. They ask if GoK will refuse to implement the Common Civil Code when the union government implements it.
Kudumbashree, a community organization of Neighborhood Groups (NHGs) of women in Kerala, has been recognized as an effective strategy for the empowerment of women in rural as well as urban sectors. It intends to bring women together from all spheres to fight for their rights and empowerment. GoK runs it. It was launched in May 1998 by Prime Minister Sri Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Now, it is reported that a new oath will be drafted and communicated to the programme officers of Kudumbashree.
In August 2022, Muslim fundamentalist organizations and even self-styled ‘secular’ Indian Union Muslim League joined hands to oppose the draft proposals for the gender-neutral uniform for Kerala schools. It was part of the school curriculum framework prepared by the State Council for Educational, Research and Training (SCERT).
Nationalist movements have come forward to protest against the shameful surrender of GoK before the fundamentalist forces. BJP state president said that the latest episode proves that the details of organized religious fundamentalists rule the state. GoK withdraws from every reform when the fundamentalists dictate their terms. The state witnessed this when the government started, from the proposals for gender-neutral school uniforms and PSC appointments to Waqf Board jobs.
Withdrawal of the Kudumbashree oath is blatantly anti-women and reactionary. Is it not going to implement the Sharia rule here? They only spent Rs 50 crores for the Women’s Renaissance Wall for taking controversial women to Sabarimala and breaking age-long traditions in the shrine. Surendran added that now the government is compromising fundamental Constitutional rights for equality.
One thing is true: Every step of Pinarayi is based on the diktats of fundamentalist forces. He is least bothered about the people he rules, not posterity.