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Published in the 1-15 Nov 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


Muslim Personal Law Board

I need some basic information about the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. (1) When was this Board formed? (2) Was it formed at the suggestion of the Indian govt. or was sponsored by any govt. agency? (3) Approximately how many people are members of the Board, or its core working group? How many of them are women? How many are Shias? I am looking for approximate information, not super-exact. 
Kaleem Kawaja, Washington

Editor: (1) A decision to form this body was made at a meeting in Mumbai on 27-28 December 1972 and the board was formally established next year in a meeting at Hyderabad. (2) No, it was not formed at a suggestion of the Indian government or any official body. Rather it was a reaction to the continuous interference in the Muslim personal laws by politicians, judiciary and "liberal" Muslims like Chagla and Dalwai who demanded the abolition of the Muslim personal laws altogether. There is a Hindu lobby which keeps demanding the abolition of the Muslim personal laws and their replacement by a single civil code applicable to all Indians. AIMPLB is a private body, working like lobbies in the US, to protect Muslim personal laws, liaise with and influence the government and guide the general public about crucial issues. (3) The board has a working committee of 41 ulama representing various schools of thought. In addition to this, it also has a general body of 201 persons of ulama as well as laymen, including about 25 women. I am not able to say how many Shias but they are a minority like the Barelvis. People of Deobandi school of thought dominate the group.

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