This time feminist website buzzfeed.com wanted to cover India’s Men’s Rights Movement during their national conference in Mumbai.
Indian MRAs in the 7th SIF national meet in Mumbai. Image courtesy – event’s FB page
The article introduces Indian MRA groups’ function like traditional political movement. Probably the author draws the conclusion from MRAs lobbying in parliament for their rights. But this article failed to recognize the fact that even feminist groups have been working like this for years. Feminists have even stronger lobbying units including strong legal bodies like Lawyers’ Collective that drafted the Nirbhaya Act. Their lobbyists are holding stronger and more prominent positions in the govt. than any MRA representative. Buzzfeed fails to provide that details to its readers.
The article discusses complex roles of women and state crime data from NCRB and shows how the cases filed under several women-centric laws are increasing. However, any sensible person understands that filed cases and actual occurrence of crime are not same. Over the last few years with a very high percentage of misuse of these laws, only the number of false cases has increased. So the cases reported under any section is not a yardstick of measuring the state of crime, because similar provisions to report a crime is not available for men.
Stating Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of AIPWA the article says that majority of crime against women are not reported. The same analogy is buzzing feminist world for a long time, but no one knows why someone not reporting a crime (if at all) bothers feminists so much. I thought it is individuals’ choice to report or not to report any crime. But for feminists, crime (or perceived crime) everywhere in their perceived manner needs to be the way of everyone’s life.
To a question, on why Indian Men’s Rights Movement only have a handful of women MRAs, Sarkar said: “…if the men are not fighting for their own rights, why the women will fight for them”. Something that needed to be understood with greater care and caution but only a well-read and well-informed person would have understood that. Unfortunately for Sarkar, he mentioned that to an ill-informed Buzzfeed journalist who had no idea that Indian men do not talk about their own personal problems with anyone and that is another major reason behind their increasing suicide rate. This is bothering Indian Men’s Rights Movement for a long time and Sarkar was just mentioning that.
Source – International Men and Gender Equality Survey, (IMAGES) 2011
However, BuzzFeed report portrayed this point negatively for women MRAs. They reported as if these women are wasting their time when men themselves are not bothered. This comes out with the sarcastic mention of Deepika Bhardwaj, one of the woman MRAs as “Beauty with Brain” mention by this site in one of its earlier articles. So BuzzFeed didn’t understand that these are the few enlightened women who are trying to inform men about their rights, and we are not surprised.
The report then mentions Dec ’12 Delhi gang rape that was inflamed by the feminists to project India as the rape capital of the world that the then UPA govt. failed to dissuade. Like their next attempt in India’s Daughter was handled well by the NDA govt. We are still not sure how many criminals like Leslee Udwin were behind this inflamed story of Delhi gang rape. I wish we knew.
On the point of IPC 498a, the article shows the amendment was made due to what they said an increasing number of dowry deaths in India. However, it was in 1983 when bought out media had shown anything they wanted in any manner. If we had internet during those days, many of those myths created by purchased media could have been exposed easily. Unfortunately, we didn’t have such option then.
The report also states a 2012 report of law commission of India that remained inconclusive about the misuse of 498a. It largely blamed the police and legal system for the misuse rather than the wives who actually file such cases. This clearly shows the feminist influence in law commission and we don’t get surprised when we see a feminist body like Lawyers’ Collective headed by known feminist Indira Jaysingh drafting laws for India. But these are truths that Buzzfeed had hidden from its readers through their biased reporting.
The BuzzFeed article also tries to show that the women who are fighting for men’s rights are doing so for their personal reasons. Because they had undergone some cases against them. But anyone fighting for a cause for a personal reason cannot sustain for long. The fact that these women are fighting for a cause for a long time, shows their understanding of the danger for the future generation and this article shows the main reason for these women to sustain their fight even after their cases.
On India’s suicide statistics, Buzzfeed tries to debunk MRAs analogy by citing this statistics from NCRB –
This is not surprising because what they failed to see was Marriage Related Issues also include someone not getting married and committing suicide because of that. It does not always mean suicide due to disputes after marriage. If the author were little more intuitive about this, she would have seen that the same NCRB report also explains what these “Marriage Related Issues” include as stated here –
So we can understand that not all women who died like this were ‘married’ as stated by Buzzfeed. Also, these do not mean these post marriage problems.
The report stated that most men committed suicide on “Other Family Problems” but also adds that these are not related to marriage. However, the NCRB report does not elaborate on this and it is only Buzzfeed’s imagination that these are not related to family issues. Men do not have any govt. forum to talk about their family issues and that is a major reason of these going unreported. Women, on the other hand, have the habit of exaggerating every problem they have and hence their issues always look big.
So the Buzzfeed premise that MRAs fight on false statistics is wrong and needed deeper investigation and responsible journalism. This report also tried to prove that MRAs have no idea about the statistics when it quoted activists in rather negative tones.
The article then tries to show reported rape cases in India and in Pakistan to prove that India is a worse place in terms of rape, without understanding other legal dynamics prevailing in these countries – like legal frameworks, ease of reporting or punishment for false reporting.
In India, a higher reporting of rape cases for personal vendetta and for no fear of punishment is making it worse for men every year. Also, such numbers can’t be discussed without understanding the total population and the size of each country. So rape cases are better reported with per capita rape figures and with the understanding of gender neutrality of each law that helps even men to file rape cases against women and expect justice. Unless the laws are made gender neutral and women rapists are punished equally this statistics can’t be discussed.
The fact that feminists like Karuna Nundy and Kavitha Krishnan do not advocate for gender-neutral laws, that will punish criminals irrespective of their gender is alarming because they are trying to save women criminals and promoting a crime. Very often such crime sympathizers create more problems for a society rather than real criminals. What is clear from their statements is that they want to promote only men as criminals and that is really worrisome for all Indians.
Buzzfeed also wanted to prove all men’s activists are fighting because they had personal cases against them. This is a popular mindset prevailing in India that fails to explain the fact why such people become lifelong activists for men’s rights in their own limited capacity. This is more difficult when all such groups are self-funded and are not supported by any deep pockets. This becomes worse when men themselves do not want to talk about their sufferings and the mainstream media also does not report the same.
Kavitha Krishnan’s claim in the article that feminists are not invited in debates like the MRAs do, is hilarious. People who see those debates will know. Normally, there are hardly any MRAs in those debates as mainstream media never feels comfortable with propagating men’s rights. Also, her demand that only a handful of cases are picked up by the media to get justice is another statement that shows that media needs to pick up cases for justice and there is no criminal justice system in India. This is clearly a statement to undermine our judicial system.
The mention that MRAs have successfully run campaigns on social media despite having fewer followers, implies (i) feminists have fake followers, and (ii) most of their followers follow them but do not support them. So they actually don’t have supporters and one reason may be because people understand their lies.
A mention about #DontManCriminate campaign that was not designed by any MRA group is also significant here. It shows that it was an eyesore of feminists, because of common people started talking about justice. However, I am not sure if Buzzfeed has a problem with the photoshopped images or the actual messages? The campaign was brought down because these carried celebrities who didn’t give consent for the campaign but that should not bother BuzzFeed. So, it looks like those messages were too bitter for the feminists to sustain. We know the truth is always bitter and too much of sweetness is dangerous.
Even Krishnan lamenting that hashtags supporting Asaram Bapuji trending are not surprised. Even though these are not created by any MRA group ever, her fear is diverted towards MRAs because today due to frivolous cases like Asaram Bapuji case, many understand the danger of feminism that has only one agenda in India, to destroy this society and show us in a bad light.
In the end, the report mentions Amit Lakhani a prominent Men’s Rights Activist from Delhi. He was made to sound like MRAs are using women as bait to the society to hear their cause. This is how cheap feminists can become and that is why they are feminists.
Even though it is true that mainstream media wants women to talk about everything as if men don’t exist and that is a social bias the MRAs are fighting against too, but if BuzzFeed wanted to understand how well the male MRAs accept the women MRAs in them, the answer is loud and clear, – “Feminists, your days are over. we are here to expose you and yes there are many young women who don’t support you either. Don’t try to create a divide among the MRAs as male or female by asking dubious questions, they are hard nuts to crack.”
The way Buzzfeed has behaved shows they are just bothered about one-sided agenda and want to create a false sense of emergency in India. The way Indian media had worked in ‘1980s to pass IPC 498a. But thanks to the internet the voice of MRAs can also be heard loud and clear.