“Women – one half the human race at least –
care fifty times more for a marriage than a ministry.”
Walter Bagehot – 1826 – 77.
“The English Constitution (1867)“
Marriage! Once considered to be a divine bond between two consenting adults, have turned into a multi-million dollars business today. These industry houses are not listed on any stock exchange. But today world over our relationships are sold in an open market where we all take part. Foreign multinationals, foreign nations, international agencies and powerful few make crores of rupees out of this business. The business of ‘Women Empowerment’.
In this worldwide need of women empowerment, there are some women who fight for men’s rights, when the idea of men’s rights itself amazes many, women and even educated young women taking part in this movement raise many eyebrows. Are they brainwashed, victims of male domination? Do they do it to come into the limelight or they have a definite vision for fighting for men’s rights? Let’s hear it from them, as they say, it –
Dr. Indu Subhash – Lucknow
Popularly known as Indu did, she is a Ph.D. in ‘Women Studies’ from Kanpur University. She is principal in a degree college in Kanpur and teaches the subject ‘Women Studies’ there. She also takes English classes for IAS aspirants there. Surprising but true that she is an expert in women studies and knows what is best for them.
Didi is involved in this movement since 2007, after she has seen one of her distant brothers being subjected to extreme cruelty due to these gender biased laws She had not only decided to join this movement but to spearhead the same. Due to her commendable contribution to the men’s rights in the country, many times newspapers have carried articles on her work.
Didi has many achievements to her credit. Some of which are –
a. She is the only chief counselor for elderly abuse for Helpage India.
b. Only chief counselor for men in Nari Seva Samity run by Govt. of UP. This is the meditation center of the govt. before the cases go to the mediation center run by the court.
c. She is adopted as the ONLY person lower than 60 years of age in Varisht Nagarik Samity consisting of 32 families. Her NGO is registered with this Samity.
d. UP State Human Rights Commission has adopted her for mediation of the matters left by State Mahila Ayog.
No doubt why she had been the inspiration for so many men and women. I was curious to know whether she is working against her own rights as a woman simply by supporting men’s rights. She says – “If as a wife I am secured today, I am not secured as a Mother-In-Law (MIL) or a Sister-In-Law (SIL). So these laws are not made for women empowerment but only for wife empowerment. Women are not only a wife, she is a mother and sometimes a sister too. Also, I am fighting for my brother and for him, I am ready to take bullets on me.”
No wonder why all her brothers or other men from all over the nation has deep respect for her. She is not only an example of a great mother but she is the ideal sister that every man would like to have. She is a didi for all of us who don’t have the fortune of having a didi like her.
To a question on her opinion about the present situation of India with ever increasing crimes against women and when women in India are considered as endangered – she says that the govt. has divided women into two parts. The wife and the MIL and empowered only the wife. This is not the correct empowerment.
Didi with a token of love and appreciation from her brothers
Obviously, I was interested to know how other women around her react to her when she starts preaching about rights of husbands. Didi told me with a smile – “Other women around me listen to me twice / thrice but later get convinced and support me”. As a man, I felt we needed more of these didis who could take care of the feminist brigade from false women empowerment prevailing in the country today.
To a question, what she wanted to tell real women victims, didi added – “If anything wrong happened to you, please seek justice only for the wrong that has happened to you. A woman is capable of herself. So understand your capabilities, understand that you can resolve differences through discussion and not through legal cases.always” She also added that in her experience she has seen that in 80% of cases where women filed court cases, later on, admitted in writing that they had done wrong. They take back their cases and save their family.
She says that most of the women don’t know or have sufficient knowledge about domestic violence act. They just file cases to harass their husbands.
Her vision about men’s rights in the country is very clear –
- Need men’s welfare commission
Need shared parenting
Gender neutral society/laws so that people have faith in the laws.
Deepika Narayan Bharadwaj – Delhi
Beauty with the brain. That is how some men describe her. At a first glance, everyone would wonder why is such a young, beautiful and successful woman supporting men’s rights. We don’t really see women like her supporting men’s rights at all.
So when I first saw her and came to know her as a budding filmmaker, I was amazed and wanted to know what made her fight for the men in the country.
She has joined men’s rights in Aug 2012 after she was exposed to the misuse of laws. She was pained to see the fate of men and their family members including women simply on the accusation of unscrupulous women and decided to fight for justice. She says that if we consider marriage as a sacred institution, then adultery law should hold the woman responsible for her misbehavior. That is just another way of extortion of men according to her.
To my question – why instead of being a woman she has joined men’s rights she said – “It’s not only about men’s rights. It is human rights. Just because one is a man, one can’t go through extreme cruelties on false complaints by an unscrupulous woman.” According to her, these acts have criminalized all men. If his behavior is not suited, he can be easily trapped in false dowry cases. So any behavior that is perceived wrong by the wife is also perceived as wrong by the laws of the country.
To my question – whether as a woman working for men’s rights in the country, she is actually working against women’s and her own rights she said – “Absolutely NOT. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. If I can’t take any responsibility I can’t ask for any right. If a man can be cruel to a woman, a woman can be equally cruel to a man as well. Basically, we need to see that the innocents are not punished and only culprits are punished. Its human to make mistakes. So if you are in a bad marriage, there are many ways to end the same peacefully without ruining other person’s life.”
On women being endangered in India – she says – “India is not one India today. If there are some women who are having issues, there are men too who are facing challenges. Men always rise for women causes. So when men are not getting justice in certain situations, I would stand for their justice. My father and brother have provided me maximum protection and if they are subjected to injustice, I need to work for them as well. Not every man is criminal, not every woman is innocent. Not every woman is endangered, not every man is the culprit. A man from his childhood is taught to bear all pain in silence and allowed to talk about the same. So we (women) need to stand up for them.”
I was interested in understanding how she handles other women around her as a men’s rights activist. She said that “negative vibes are normal as media constantly reports in a way as if women are always at the receiving end. We are conditioned to believe the same. So women do not believe or accept the other side of the story. Even though one doesn’t see violence at home, one is conditioned to believe that women are subjected to huge violence. This kind of media propaganda leads every woman to believe that she is a victim and need to be dependent on men. Feminists never look at the stories of successful women but always project women as victims thus making every woman a victim.”
According to her handling, such women is never easy, because the society is conditioned to believe this way. Hence she doesn’t argue much or pushes them to believe her. She can’t accept if anyone is denied one’s right simply because one belongs to a certain gender.
She has also informed that she is making a documentary on such men who are suffering due to these biased laws. The name of the documentary is Martyrs of Marriage that can be viewed from her website.
To other women victims, she wants to say that if someone has done any wrong to them, then they should make sure that the wrongdoers are punished. Victims should not want money in lieu of their pain because then they will be victimized all the time and compensated with money. She says – “Life is too long to hold grudges and to have vengeance. The person might have done wrong to you, analyze it and see if punishing the person is the only way out.”
On the present situation of men’s rights in India, she thinks that men’s rights are still in its infancy. She is only exposed to abuses of men’s rights in matrimonial contexts but she feels that men’s rights need to go a long way and it is still not there to fight all forms of bias that men face in the society.
Her visions about men’s rights in the country are two-pronged.
a. Gender Neutral Matrimonial Laws and
b. Sensitization of judiciary and police to analyze who is right/wrong before treating anyone as criminal.
Jyoti Tiwari – Noida
She joined the movement in February 2012 after her brother died in a road accident following marital problems and subsequent cruelty by his in-laws. Along with his brother died three other friends of him. She remembers him every moment with moist eyes as she believes that her brother was actually killed by legal terrorists for their narrow motives.
These legal terrorists are moving freely in the society and they have no fear of getting punished. So she says – govt. does not consider mother and sister of a man as women. So all of the mothers and sisters have become ‘Forgotten Women of India. She runs a national level organization with the same name.
She says a man today cannot expect any justice in our society today. When her sister-in-law (SIL) left her brother, all his best friends asked him humiliating questions like “why did your wife leave you?” Even friends become foes in your bad times. As she narrates the tale of her brother her eyes gets moistened. – “He wanted to commit suicide as he was subjected to extreme cruelty. We did not realize that earlier but his wife, his friends the whole society was so cruel that he was slowly driven to commit suicide”.
“My father and husband were treated like criminals when my SIL filed false 498a against us. Police and the society behaved very rudely with them for no reason. They were treated like criminals on a false and frivolous complaint”.
Today many sisters are crying like her. Most of them don’t know about the existence of men’s rights community in India. They do not know that even they have rights but they are not considered as women by the national Mahila commission or the larger society or our law ministry. They wonder why, while they get ill-treated from all sections of the society.
She considers that her rights are related to the rights of the men around her. So by fighting for men’s rights, she is not working against her own rights rather in favor of it. Since men protect women and children around them, they need to be protected first and we can ensure strong women rights by protecting men’s rights – she feels.
She says all laws/policies are in favor of women. So women are no longer victims. Feminists present fudged data in the name of women empowerment to earn more money. If women are endangered they have laws to protect them.
In reply to my question how she handles her women friends as a men’s rights activist, she said – “many of my friends who changed their profile pictures after the Delhi rape knew my brother very well. They were very close but still even after the hurtful death of my brother none of them changed their profile pictures. When I asked them why they didn’t change their pictures for someone they knew, they simply unfriended me”. She has gradually become indifferent to all this social bias.
It is not easy to fight this consistent bias. Still, she holds a vision for the men’s rights in India that India will have gender-neutral laws and crime will be punished irrespective of gender.
There are many other women who are working for men’s rights today. But I could not bring all of their stories together. As a man in this country, I am indebted to these women who are tirelessly fighting for the rights of their brothers. Other men in the country. As they clearly stated that their fight is not against women but against the criminals who go scot-free and are not even recognized as criminals today, I understand the demanding gender-neutral laws is the order of the day today. Not only for the survival of the men but also for the survival of the society.