India That Is Bharat
The holy Quran permits a Muslim to have maximum four wives. But should there be a maximum limit to religious piety? Apparently not. At least a certain devout Arab does not seem to think so. His name is Daad Mohammad al Balushi, and he is a national of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Balushi has married 17 times, has 90 children and 50 grandchildren. It was reported on a day in the last week of May 2011 that yet another marriage was going to take place in two days’ time, with a Pakistani woman—but at the same time he was also scouting for his next wife, preferably from India. Satiricus is arithmetically impressed. He realises that for a plurally pious person like Balushi, the Quranic injunction was not an impious inhibition. Not that he wants to set aside the Sharia. In fact, Sharia is no problem for him, for he solved the problem by a devout device—limiting him to four wives “at a time”—that is, he kept marrying and divorcing with religious regularity all the time, all the way from the Philippines to Morocco.
But why an Indian addition to this international association of Balushi-Better-Halves? Because, he explained, “India … commands the respect of the world today; there are many women around who want to marry me, but I want to marry an Indian girl, as Indian women are … well-raised with solid values.” Ah, that is sweet music to Satiricus’s secular ears. But again, what about the Sharia law that he can have only four wives? No problem, said Balushi, dismissively; “Now I have three wives; I will have my fourth wife next week when I get married to Rukhsana Arif from Pakistan. … I will divorce … one of them”. Simple as that! Bottom line: There are people who are particular about obeying the letter of the law; Balushi is still more particular; he observes the number of the law.
Satiricus has read somewhere that if you really, really feel there should be a law against something, there generally is. It seems to work the other way too, at least in the US of A, where people go to a court of law at the drop of a hat. There, apparently, if you really, really feel there should be a law in favour of something, you can just ask your elected legislator to make a law in favour of it, however weird that something may look to a non-American nitwit like yours truly. Take Texas. News comes that Texan Americans who want to catch fish with their bare hands, instead of with a fishing rod, will now be able to do so legally under a law newly made by the government of that state. Hand-fishing is called “noodling” in Texas, and to date it was so illegal that committing this crime was punishable with a fine of 500 dollars. Not any more. Now there is a handy law to help Texan hands.
But of course, where there is a law, there are clauses to it. So this law would require the ‘noodlers’ to have a fishing licence for it, and also a freshwater stamp for it. Does all this sound like a fishy story? At least for Satiricus it is an admirable index of how the law-abiding Americans tackle even a fishing problem without a fishing tackle for the sake of the citizen, whether a noodle-eater or a noodler. For the legislator who sponsored this bill said he had never “noodled”, but a law was needed to be made for the “noodlers of Texas.”
It is a deplorable fact of modern times that we humans are making laws and rules and regulations not only against the interests of the poor fish of America but also of the poor birds of Australia. Satiricus is talking about the owls and bats who were so far happily (if illegally) nesting in the botanical garden in the city of Sydney. An Australian court has issued an eviction notice on 22,000 of them, empowering the city’s municipal corporation to chase them out of the botanical garden on the ground that their colony has grown too big and threatened the rare trees in the garden.
As if this was not enough, there was this case of a bird that was sought to be prosecuted. It happened in Taiwan the other day—a man tried to sue his neighbour for training his pet mynah to insult him. He tried to file a suit on the ground that the bird was trained to curse him and call him a “big-mouthed idiot” every time it saw him, and thus subjecting him to mental stress. Well, well, well. Whether the bird’s action was actionable was a moot legal point. Anyway the judge refused to entertain the plaint—perhaps on the ground that the bird was too bird-brained to distinguish between a big-mouthed idiot and a small-mouthed idiot.