Decades may pass but if anything (be it any notion or bill), introduced once, continues to affect a particular community incessantly, neither its source nor factors responsible for its enactment can be written off ever. Hindu Code Bill, passed in mid 1950s in
Witnessing hapless situation of Hindus these days, some schools of thought nowadays comprehend the reality and also the myth of Hindu Unity through Hindu Code Bill nurtured smartly by Indian state structure. It is worthwhile to mention that four Hindu Code Bills were passed and these are Hindu Marriage Act (1955), Hindu Succession Act (1956), Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (1956) and Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956).
Here is a synopsis of Hindu Code Bill.
Hindu Code Bill, as per historians and legal experts, was aimed to render a civil code instead of a Hindu personal law. Well, such an idea did come up in
Hindu Marriage Bill, in short, illegalized ancient Hindu tradition of polygamy and also contained provisions managing inter caste marriages and divorce procedures. Hindu Succession Bill, with regard to inheritance of family property, placed daughters similar to widows and sons. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Bill concentrated on the saga of adoption of girls. Many Hindus considered these as blazing torches of liberalism. But even after 50 years of enactment of these bills, problems remain same. To be exact, they have become murkier than before and in this case, application of Hindu Code Bill, hurried and wrongly assessed, can’t be ruled out.
Hindu Code Bill faced sharp criticisms of Hindu nationalists including Dr. S.P. Mokerjee and N.C. Chatterjee as they considered such an act was not only an assault on Hindus but also a threat to stability and veracity of traditional forms of marriage and the family in Hindu society. Swami Karpatriji, highly revered sanyasi belonging to the Dandis, launched a mass struggle to call this move a halt.
Ram Rajya Parishad, his own political party, organized copious demonstrations against the Hindu Code Bill. 15,000 people did attend a week-long conference in
What did infuriate the said two Hindu nationalist leaders from
What did prevent Nehru from introducing a Muslim Code Bill? He, modern scholars suggest, was eager to turn himself as custodian of minority Muslims, including those who preferred to remain in
Even Rajendra Prasad, elected as President of the Republic in 1950, was hurt by this notion for having 'new concepts and new ideas…. are not only foreign to Hindu Law but may cause disruption in every family'.
But Nehru was unstoppable and Hindu Code Bill continues to rule Hindus.
Is it a stigma? Has not the time come to reassess Hindu Code Bill once more and build up strong movements for its eradication, if necessary?