Thursday, 10 May 2012

When Legal provisions give blurry picture, Looking towards Religion Helps

Written by Anil Singh

When Legal provisions give blurry picture, Looking towards Religion Helps.

This is the case with Haj Subsidy in India.

The latest SC judgement to systematically end the Haj subsidy in the country in the next ten years, may appear to some, as a big setback for Muslims in India. When the fact of the matter is. It is not.

Islam is quite clear on, "Who is eligible to do a Haj".

Islam says that, "Only such a Muslim is fit for Haj who doesn't have any indebtedness (in Hindi means koi karza nahin hona) and who does Haj with his own money".

Hence subsidy, which  means someone else (the Government) in part paying for your pilgrimage makes a Muslim ineligible for Haj.

Indian Government which is running Haj subsidy since independence, is often criticized by Muslim clerics over Haj subsidy. The critics often pointing out that the Haj subsidy being misused by influential and felxible Muslims for their vested interests.

If you followed the events post-SC judgement, you will know how some top Muslim clerics welcomed the SC verdict.

If clerics are welcoming the judgement, then one should safely assume that the religion and the believer is not in favour of the subsidy.

The religious sensibility about pilgrimage is the same in Hinduism and Islam. In Hinduism as well, pilgrimage is for "Well off people". At least those people who have money of their own.

Here I want to share with you an observation, which puts light on how common people see pilgrimage.

In 1960s-70s and even up to 1990s, when banking had not percolated to the poorest of the poor; many people in Rishikesh, which included abandoned ascetic widows, beggars, used to maintain piggy bank accounts at local merchants.  This 'informal or not legal form of banking' was particularly popular with those people who wanted to save money to go on pilgrimage. It's a common knowledge among  Rishikesh-ites, that many of these old widows (called Mayees in local parlance) often died without claiming their savings; leaving their small savings with the merchant. One can still find many merchants in Rishikesh who are believed to have flourished with such money.

The summary of the above is: People in a religion are so particular about the means of pilgrimage that they start saving rightful money at the earliest.

The people sensibility linked to pilgrimage doesn't allow them to do anything which is not prescribed in the religion.

Hence, When Legal provisions give blurry picture, Looking towards Religion Helps.

4 constructive comments:

  • Anonymous says:
    10 May 2012 at 12:04

    Good, but now both legal provisions ( as SC has ordered to stop subsidy) and religion seem to be on the same side! So I think Govt should not waste a minute to stop subsidies.

  • Admin says:
    10 May 2012 at 12:10

    @Anonymous__________Yes Agree with You.

  • Admin says:
    10 May 2012 at 14:31

    @anonymous__________But is should itself be satisfying that Government policies don't echo well with people all the time.

  • Harb says:
    10 May 2012 at 14:56

    That is as it should be. It equips them to elect a better government next time.