Wednesday, August 17th, 2022 18:15:04

Licence To Wife-Beating?

Updated: November 27, 2010 11:10 am

Being a Hindu simpleton, Satiricus finds that the complexities of being a Muslim are beyond him. Especially the sacred secrets of Sharia. Take, for instance, what happened the other day in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).A husband was dragged into court because he had beaten his wife. Sorry, Sorry! Satiricus is wrong. The husband was not dragged into court because he had beaten his wife, the husband was dragged into court because it could be seen that he had beaten his wife. There’s a difference, a big difference, you know? So wife-beating is fine, but don’t leave marks, ruled the court.

                The learned judge observed that the Sharia Islamic law allows a husband the legal right to “discipline” his wife provided he does not leave physical marks on her. In other words, the beating is legal, the marks are illegal.

                The question of questions here is, do all pious, law-abiding Muslim husbands have the anatomical expertise required for beating their wives skillfully enough not to reveal any tell-tale marks on the body? Furthermore, are all such husbands legally knowledgeable enough to know that ignorance of law is no excuse, nor ignorance of the technology of wife-beating? It does appear that there is scope for some legal reform in the Sharia system. For starters, every wife-beater should be required to produce in a sharia court a certificate of having done a course in wife-beating within the bounds of law. Of course, such a certificate can be issued only by a madrasa headed by an expert and experienced wife-beater.

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The Brits have a wonderful sense of humour, Satiricus must say. Look, for instance, at this terrible, world-wide problem of Islamic terror. How to solve it? The answers range from the righteous to the ridiculous. The righteous American answer is the war on terror which, believe it or not, is not above using the hilarious tactic of bribing bad terrorists to become good terrorists by switching sides from Osama to Obama. We Indians believe in what is called masterly inaction, we are truly masters at it. We firmly believe that if we don’t do anything (except talk) about terrorism, it will get tired of us and go away.

                But the Brits are brainy. They came up with the brilliant idea of putting advertisements on Pakistan Television telling terrorists“Don’t attack us, please”, at least in so many words. The ad campaign, that recently went on for three months, cost the British Government the equivalent of about three crore rupees. Described by the media (with tongue in cheek?) as a public relations “offensive”, it “starred” prominent British Muslims and was titled “I am the West”.

                Well, well, well. Satiricus has seen advertisements on tooth-pastes, toys and television sets. But had he even dreamt that there would be advertisements on terrorism? Oh well, there are obviously more things in heaven, earth and Islamic terror than are dreamt of in Satiricus’s oh-so-secular philosophy.

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The way to a man’s heart lies through his stomach. At least that is what Satiricus had been told, and he can well believe it after a hearty break-fast. But a corporate heart is a different matter, especially when that corporation is in the food business. Then a change of heart can become a challenge for law.

                Satiricus recalls that some years ago it so happened in America (where else can it happen?) that one pizza-making company filed a suit in the court against another pizza-making company because the second company’s pizza was exactly the same size as the first company’s which amounted to an unauthorised copy. The verdict? In its wisdom, the court ruled that the two pizzas must have a legally-acceptable difference in size.

                Something of the same sort seems to have happened again. Not long back the papers reported that some restaurant came up with a new dish called “McCurry” and what happened? McDonald’s filed a suit against the McCurrywalas for stealing the letters “Mc”. See? Satiricus had heard of something called the alphabet soup, but he had no idea the alphabet would be in the soup like this. After all, he thought, what’s in a name? If the proof of the pudding lies in the eating, why shouldn’t it be the same with the curry and not in its name?

                But then, names are apparently important even for things you eat. Satiricus recalls that some years ago, when, for some reason, international relations between America and France got strained, American senators carried on a campaign in their canteen for removing the adjective “French” from their favourite French Fries. The moral of the morsel: The world needs delicious diplomacy, at least some edible epithets.

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