A shelter home for men battered and abused by their wives and legal system is the new reality in India. In a unique and first attempt Bharat S Fulare of Aurangabad, Maharastra has created a home for men who were thrown out of their own houses by their wives. This home named पत्नी पीड़ित पुरुष आश्रम (Shelter home for men abused by their wives) is situated 12 kilometers on Aurangabad-Shirdi Highway in Maharastra.
In this exclusive interview with The Male Factor Bharat explains his mission, the issues Indian men face and the urgent need for these battered men.
Q. Bharat, thanks for agreeing to this interview. First I would like to understand what inspired you to start this home?
I faced extreme family problems because of my wife and somehow managed to escape with a lot of efforts. I met many men with similar family issues in courts. They all used to be very frightened with the changing social situation. This inspired me to be the voice for such people.
Q. How big is the problem of men being homeless in India? What is your understanding?
Men being homeless because of problems created by wife and gender biased laws is very big in India. I can say this is a chronic issue without an iota of support from family members. This is because if they try to support the man their names appears in next FIR of wife.
Police and the legal system also tries to show sympathy to the woman and try to extort the man’s family by taking undue advantage this situation. There is hardly any platform where these people can open up and share their pains. Today Indian men commit suicide in large numbers because they don’t even have their basic human rights protected. One of the members of our group who is music teacher at a very reputed school, was badly beaten by a Police Inspector for no reason. We had to take up the issue to the divisional commissioner and made the same inspector beg for mercy.
Q. Can you please tell us some stories to show how men are suffering?
In our shelter home we have got many cases to show how Indian men are suffering. Here are some stories –
- An Engineer boy got married to a known girl and lost everything. He lost his job, daughter and right now he is in jail. His wife, father-in-law and the lady lawyer harassed him a lot and almost driven him to commit suicide.
- An art teacher of a very reputed school was beaten up very badly by a PI as soon as his wife (who is having extremely bad character) filed a case against him.
- A very aged person (85 years) has lost his home and family and is thrown out of his own home as the home constructed by him was registered in his wife’s name.
- A well settled man working with a reputed organization in Aurangabad got remarried to a helpless woman after his first wife died of cancer. This woman’s first husband died in an unfortunate incident. He spent a lot of money for this marriage Now he is our and is fighting the false cases filed by that woman.
I maintain separate files for every case and the size of the files are increasing every day.
Q. What do you think is the reason of creating gender biased laws? How do you think these laws can be made fair and just?
Se there might be a need to protect women’s rights but the law makers should have considered the men’s rights, too. Men are the only culprits in the eyes of law and are punished by the judiciary.
I think such issues can be settled by forming a common forum where men and women will be equally represented. At our forum we also settle disputes by bilateral discussion.
Q. I can see a crow in your sign boards. What is its significance?
We not only have a crow in our sign board but we use it as a symbol of our status in society. We have a big statue of crow in our office and we worship that every day.
Crow symbolizes the status of men in the society today. Today men lose respect in every possible way. Men are made villains in the eyes of their own kids while they continue to take care of their kids most often without getting custody or even visitation rights. You know, a female crow leaves their kids after giving birth, it is the male crow that takes care of children. Condition of human males is even worse, they don’t get to see their kids but still end up paying maintenance.
Q. Currently how many men are staying in your shelter home? Tell us about a normal day at your home and the help / assistance provided there?
Currently there are seven men in our Ashram and 500+ members have reported and registered with us. On reporting, we check their eligibility and offer them accommodation / moral support and advice on how to survive in these difficult days.
A typical day for us starts early in the morning at 5 o’clock. After basic refreshments, we all do yoga and meditation. This keeps us healthy. We take breakfast in-house. Then the inmates are free to go out for different tasks either personal or official. After coming back to shelter home we prepare our dinner and review that day’s activities.
Unfortunately we don’t have much in-house entertainment or skill development program. All our brothers are already disturbed due to their personal issues, but we have an option open for them in any of our activities i.e. labour contracts, engineering workshops and unique food processing activities.
Q. Can you please explain the conditions to be met to seek shelter in your home? How long can one stay there?
Basically we are there to offer him a moral / legal support and only if there is a possibility of him coming to roads, we accommodate him in our shelter home. One can stay till the time one can make alternate accommodation, or gets alternative employment per his eligibility. Generally it is observed that people lose employment due to such disturbances in life.
Q. How do you meet your expenses? What about establishment cost and how did you manage to raise that amount?
Most of the time I have to manage it and some of the members and some good friends are there to support. The land is owned by my mother and she has generously given it to me for my own use. I have managed the rest of the expenses on my own.
Q. Did any organization or govt. entity come for help? If yes, would you like to share?
Lot of people are there who supported me and supporting unofficially as the work which I am doing is not yet officially recognized by our system.
People are coming forward spontaneously as and when required. I remember one of the mega activity where people supported for tent, food and for other expenses without any expectation from us.
Almost every print and electronic media is supporting us in every activity. ABP Majha and Lokmat has given special support for my mission.
Q. What are your future plans?
I want to make this a global mission. Today, men need a strong support system and protection from this gross human rights violation all over the globe. If you see, even in US you will hardly find any shelter home for men while statistics say that women and men suffer from domestic violence to same extent.
Q. What are the difficulties / challenges you have faced so far and how did you overcome them?
Difficulties come in everything but I face them with a brave heart. This is the urgent need of the society and we can’t compromise on this issue. I achieve what I want to achieve.
Many tried to oppose / ridicule as well. In a media debate, a well-known feminist activist tried to dilute our efforts by diverting media attention saying this is a trivial problem. When I produced the authentic data of male suicide they had to shut up.
Q. If anyone wants to start this kind of home, what advice would you like to give them?
You may encounter opposition from others, feminists may try to trivialize your efforts. But this is the need of the hour and you should come forward and act upon it without caring for what other might think of you.
Q. If anyone is interested in helping you by donating money. How can they help?
They can transfer any such donation to our bank account, details of which is furnished below –
Name of the account holder – Bharat Asaram Fulare
A/c. No. – 010292000007442
IFS code. YESB0000102
Name and Address of the Bank – YES BANK LTD.
MIDC, WALUJ BR.
Thanks a lot Bharat for your time. We wish you all the luck.