A year after Modi expressed the wish on India’s independence day, the country’s Union Cabinet passed a bill which would move the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21.
This change would bring the following “benefits,” as per NDTV:
The recommendations on the proposal were submitted in December as the task force stressed a woman must be at least 21 years old at the time of first pregnancy. The delay in marriages has a positive financial, social, and health impact on families, society, and children, it said.
This sounds like dogmatism: None of the advocates of this change have actually measured how this will bring “positive” impact especially when what is or is not positive is hotly debated. Furthermore, much empirical research points to many negative outcomes.
Yet, Jaya Jaitly, the feminist “brain” behind the proposal, considers this move to be “progressive” so it certainly will be progress!
But Muslims think otherwise. This is yet another attack on religious identity and Muslim family.
Let’s first note that “child marriage” in Hindu discourse has always been a way to attack Muslims, as if Muslims have a monopoly on early marriage.
Yet, Swami Vivekananda, who died at the beginning of the last century and who’s unanimously considered the most influential Hindu guru in modern times, wrote in an epistle dated to 1895:
A girl of eight is married to a man of thirty, and the parents are jubilant over it…. And if anyone protests against it, the plea is put forward, “Our religion is being overturned.” What sort of religion have they who want to see their girls becoming mothers before they attain puberty even and offer scientific explanations for it? Many, again, lay the blame at the door of the Mohammedans. They are to blame, indeed! Just read the Grihya-Sutras through and see what is given as the marriageable age of a girl. … There it is expressly stated that a girl must be married before attaining puberty. The entire Grihya-Sutras enjoin this. And in the Vedic Ashvamedha sacrifice worse things would be done…. All the Brâhmanas mention them, and all the commentators admit them to be true. How can you deny them?
So, “child marriage” is a Hindu “problem” as well.
But, behind this fake concern for the so-called problem of “child marriage,” Muslims have correctly identified this as yet another offensive against their religion, an operation which, as always, is disguised as a secular trick of justified as “development.”
Many groups centered around the Samastha Kerala Jamiat-ul-Ulema, a traditional-Sunni organization in Kerala, in the southern coast of India, say it’s a direct attack on Muslim personal law, pertaining to marriage, divorce, and property rights.
This will enact the process of imposing an uniform civil code, a long dream of the Hindu nationalists who basically think that Muslims by such “legal dispensation” are a sort of “favored minority” in the “Congress and secular-ruled India,” as the Muslim personal law allows marriage at puberty (presumably 15), something Hindus can’t do, at least in theory. In practice, however, there are millions of Hindu child brides every year.
Articles 370 and 35A, which gave a special status to the only Muslim-majority State of India, Jammu & Kashmir, and which were abolished in 2019, were also seen from this perspective, that of giving “special privileges” to Muslims, thus the Hindu nationalist rage against them.
Other Muslims who oppose this move, on an organizational or more individual level, include Asaduddin Owaisi, often considered the single most influential Indian Muslim leader alive, who said:
This is typical paternalism that we have come to expect from the government. 18-year-old men & women can sign contracts, start businesses, choose Prime Ministers & elect MPs & MLAs but not marry? Supreme Court recognised right to privacy as a fundamental right for adults. The autonomy to take decisions concerning oneself are critical to this fundamental right. In contrast, Modi government decides what we eat, whom or when we marry, what God we worship, etc.
Anyway, it seems that the idol-worshipers of India, who have their own demographic concerns considering the now low Hindu fertility rate, just can’t stop targeting Muslims and the Muslim family. Their whole religion as of now is not so much Hinduism as it’s “anti-Islam.”