[In a book written by a journalist to expose India’s Left-liberal-secular ecosystem to explain India’s current political scenario the author has unknowingly explained many pain points that Men’s Rights Movement faces. This series of articles explains how. This is Part 2 of the series]
The Toxic Manusmriti (/Masculinity)
Ask a liberal Hindu, and he will tell you how toxic Manusmriti is. I have never read Manusmriti to comment on them, but according to self-hating liberal Hindus this ancient Hindu text is the reason Hindus are toxic and have toxic caste culture in place. It is unlikely that any of these self-declared (by birth) Hindus have ever read the scriptures and understood the way they needed to be understood, but still they give expert opinion about these.
The book – Sanghi Who Never Went To A Shakha while destroying this left-leaning Nehruvian narrative, proved that the so-called toxicity is often invented by this left-liberal ecosystem.
It is similar to the concept of toxic masculinity that we are often reminded of. The toxic masculinity that saved the civilization for generations, is often marred as violent, sexist and harmful. Feminists also tried similar narratives and we MRAs have pushed them back, but there are men who believe in these narratives.
Even though feminists have all nice sounding theories that very good to read, all their theories are utopian theories that can never be true. For instance, recently in an incident in India where a woman ordered food online and then misbehaved with the delivery guy to get free food, was defended by the feminists saying it’s the privileges that had forced her to do that and that is a result of toxic patriarchy.
They farther added that feminism don’t support women by default but rather the intersectional feminism talks about understanding the privileges of one individual. Problem is, when the family laws were made considering that men are the privileged lot (because they went out and earned money), why didn’t they refrain from making such blanket assumptions? What if we say that women were the privileged lot instead as they had more authority in a home. So, domestic violence laws should have favoured men instead (because feminists talk about equity). But then men’s masculine power came into picture and that superseded women’s privileges. Problem is, when women are protected by laws and they are free to use their legal power, but men are prohibited to use their perceived masculine power.
Masculinity that saved the society from all kinds of evils from the beginning of the human race, was suddenly deemed as toxic everywhere, and women starting verbal abuse or sexual abuse (even withdrawing sex is an abuse or demanding too much of it) or even economic abuse (women think – ‘my money is my money, his money is my money too’). When men are forced to think by this left leaning ecosystem that everything they do is toxic, they often fail to defend their masculinity. It is like the liberal and secular Hindus are the bigger threats to Hinduism than Islamists. It is these Hindus that taught their daughters to be free and do whatever they wanted, but also blamed Muslims for love jihad when these women exerted their choice.
Rahul Roushan explained how Hinndutva organizations were termed as violent but not the Islamist groups. He said, no one is taught to commit violence but often violence is done without any critical thinking. Similarly, we can see that when a society is blamed as a whole for rape and it is said that toxic masculinity and ‘rape culture’ is responsible for rapes, there is no one that teaches the boys to commit rape. Even Indian culture prohibits such attacks with strong punishment. However, still the leftist-feminist-liberal media would like to prove that Indian society has ‘rape culture’ and toxic masculinity.
Fighting Negative Perception
There is an important lesson we learn from the Hindutva groups’ (mainly RSS) behaviour in fighting the negative perception created by the leftist media. They never bothered to fight the same and negate all such negative perception created and as a result the leftists went unchecked to create such bias. Feminism, which is also a creation of the leftists, flourished in different ways until the NDA government checked the flourishing feminist NGOs.
Question is, how should Men’s Rights fight these negative perceptions created everyday by the left ecosystem that consists of academicians, journalists, legal professionals, govt officials and normal citizens. Mainly even women and most men become voluntarily part of it without knowing what they are doing. Saving women becomes natural mindset and at the back of our mind we know women are physically weaker. So even those who constantly promotes that women are ‘shakti’ (power), women are equally capable etc. they still say, ‘women need to break the glass-ceiling’, ‘women are still oppressed’ etc to justify the gender-biased laws.
So, a weaker sex is given alliance to the heavily powerful state, to fight against the masculine power and men are not even supposed to use their masculine power. Also, the constant negative perception created around toxicity takes men in the backfoot and in order to remain acceptable to the society men often start believing in this toxicity and feel sorry. What the Australian school did in 2021 (they made all boys apologize to the girls for increasing crime against women), is only a confirmation of this culture.
Question is, why men are not fighting against this negative perception why even in this highly man hating world, MRA articles are not widely read? It is also observed that many MR forums are being shut due to lack of viewership. TMF is perhaps the only exception because it runs not because of its wide readership but because of its pure commitment to men’s rights work without any expectation to become popular. So, even if there is no reader, only if my health permits, I will continue to write for men’s rights.
The author of the book ‘Sanghi Who Never Went to A Shakha’, Rahul Roushan explained this problem for Hindu organizations and explained that his book was only an attempt towards creating a positive vibe for Hinduism and to create positive material for them.
‘Sabka Viswash’ (Everyone’s Trust) Philosophy
In 2019, the BJP and Narendra Modi led NDA came to power with a powerful slogan, “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas, Sabka Viswas” (“With Everyone, Prosperity for everyone, and Trust of everyone”). Even though he still says the same thing in different rallies, his govt was also biased against men and created many freebies, policies, reservations only for women as women continue to be a major vote bank for all.
Question is, to be acceptable to all, should we MRAs try to gain trust of everyone, the way a Hindutva PM Modi is doing? Even though I believe and already said many times, that MRM needs women to support Men’s Rights simply because they are 50% of the population; and we can’t just survive without their support, forget about flourishing. However, in practice I am very critical of women including women MRAs and that is not hypocrisy. Women joining the men’s rights should not remodel the needs of men’s rights according to their wish but just follow and uphold the same the way men want. My clash with women MRAs is at that point. It is like very often Hindus try to reform their own religion as they don’t like the way their religion functions. However, it needs to be understood that if we identify ourselves as Hindus, we need to follow Hinduism the way it is and without modifying the same. The same way, FEMRAs can’t define MRM for men; they can, however, be leaders by following MR principles set by other male leaders.
So, while we MRAs should strive to get ‘sabka viswas’ (everyone’s trust) we can’t stoop to support feminism or be equalist activist to do that. The MRAs who become ‘equalist’ activists actually lack resolve for Men’s Rights, they lack knowledge.
In one interview with a global radio station, one Mumbai based MRA and I was asked the same question. ‘How Women Should Treat Men’? While he said, women should treat men equally and respect men equally etc, I said, even today it is a man who is responsible for everything in a family. A woman has no responsibilities and only rights. So, women should respect men more and be submissive to the man.
While the above statement of mine may seem oppressive, it is not. It is like children are taken care by their parents and that is why they are loved. Parents scold, punish their children all because of their future but when the same children suffers, it is the parents who are hurt the most. It is the parents who feel maximum pain. Children are loved because they are submissive, because they keep their parents ahead and above. The day children become ‘equal’ to their parents, they will lose the love and care they enjoy today. The same was true for wives in my previous generations as well before feminism taught them to be equal. The equal individuals are not ‘loved’, they are contested like today we MRAs fight the feminists.
So, while obtaining everyone’s trust is important, it can not be at the cost of the main Men’s Rights cause. It also can’t be redefined and remodeled by women leaders of MRM. Hiding behind ‘equality’ is definitely not an option. Feminists very often talk about ‘equity’. So, if ‘equity’ needs to be ensured, then a man who contributes more in a family needs to be more respected. For more food for thought around whose contribution in a family is more, I wrote this –
Creating the narrative
One important factor in any activism is creating the narrative in support. When I started my journey in Men’s Rights, I have observed that MRAs often said the right thing but their problems were many –
- They lacked variety in arguments, basically spoken the same thing everywhere (law misuse and suicide of men) even when these were irrelevant;
- They could not sustain their argument in front of nice sounding feminist arguments;
- They were more qualified but often were unexposed to socialist theories and lingo;
- They only had some sketchy idea about the data they spoke (like 98% 498a dowry cases in India were false, but when they were shown the NCRB data to show that it was 85% instead, they could not prove why it was 98% and NOT 85%);
- MRAs often lacked and continue to lack depth in their knowledge, as no one was doing research on any gender politics related subjects;
- MRAs are complete failures in creating their side of the story.
The author in this book, Sanghi Who Never Went To A Shakha, has clearly showed that it is the story that matters the most and not data and statistics. Because people in general are more averse to data and statistics. So, to connect with people the best idea is always to tell them stories.
Now you may be clear why the Men’s Rights could never become mainstream because men’s rights movement has always lacked the storytellers. Men’s affinity to data and numbers have proved detrimental to their own movement.
I have realized that in 2010 but was still unsure whether I should start writing but then another MRA leader almost forced me into writing. I have always tried to keep a balance between data and stories (may be even I am biased towards data) but the problem is that, not many men are willing to share their stories. You might have seen that women very easily cry and tell their fake stories everywhere but men can’t even tell their real stories anywhere. If the male ego and the provider and protector image of males is the reason, then I have tried writing those stories anonymously as well. But most men I approached didn’t want their stories to be published in any form, even without names/or with changed names.
In many cases, I have gotten their rough stories, spent weeks to develop their stories and in the last moment they backed off. If men’s handicap to writing stories was a reason for the failure of Men’s Rights movement, even when I have offered my services to compensate for the lack of the storytelling quality in MRM, I was let down heavily by many men. Many MRAs have approached me to write for TMF but they ran away without submitting anything. I have always felt that MRAs and men are not only lazy, but they are often busy in too many unnecessary activities if they can’t manage time for writing for men’s rights. I am working in a senior position in corporate as well, and besides doing all household work myself, reading a lot of books, spending plenty of time for myself, going out on vacation at regular intervals and also after taking care of my other family members when needed, I am able to manage TMF single-handedly.
The only reason I said this is to make men realize why their movement is not successful. The MRAs, even those well-known ones, are often very bad in writing their stories. Women who can write better, on the other hand get the leadership roles even in MRM.
In India, one documentary filmmaker is more popular as an MRA to an average person, than any of us, men who are working for men’s rights for decades. Women have become writers for men’s rights too. But men often fail in that.
But what is the main quality in feminists that is very important to even attract readership? This is explained by Rahul Roushan in his book. By giving example of leftists in JNU, the modern hub of all anti-national activism in India in the name of opposing the government, Rahul Roushan has showed how they won people’s attention through eye-catchy posters and heart touching slogans. The nationalist student union ABVP, however, failed in attracting any attention with their plain simple looking boring posters.
The leftist-feminist ecosystem works on the same principles. It is not only their storytelling ability that wins, but their presentation, visual appeal etc matters too.
It’s not only feminists’ storytelling ability that wins, but their presentation and visual appeal makes the difference as well.
The men’s rights groups that can break this stereotype, create attractive memes, attractive and visually appealing storytelling videos – will win too. As is seen in the case of one men’s rights page called MenSpeak.
Where the average men’s blog or prodcast or YouTube channels fails compared to feminist ones is in their presentation. If TMF can create powerful content, TMF can’t create powerful videos or memes. If one can write powerful stories, one needs people to tell their stories too. Men often are not ready to share their stories in the fear that they will be legally crucified for spreading false information. In this scenario Men’s Rights is sure to fail without the narrative being created.
–End of Part 2–
-to be continued