Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Press Conference for IMD 2011


Press Conference at Press Club of India, Mumbai on eve of International Men's Day celebrated on 19th November, covered on DD Sahyadri

Saturday, November 19, 2011

They take dowry. Excellent! Fascinating!

The title of this post might seem repulsive for many people. 'They take dowry', this statement would definitely unsettle people who see taking dowry as a heinous act. Many people would cringe at the regressive thought of pursuing a medieval tradition like dowry. The dowry seekers will be looked down upon and instantly sympathy would be, in favour of the victims. 'The victims must be helped. The greedy perpetrators indulging in such uncivil nature of forging relationships - that monetize the sacred bond of marriage in materialistic terms - must be booked and made to pay a price' would be the reaction of the majority of the people.

Imagine if someone reacts in an exact opposite nature. Imagine someone saying, 'They take dowry' and follow it up by the words 'Excellent! Fascinating!'. One would be curious to know if such people could be booked under criminal law. One would hope that they are penalised severely for encouraging it. The disgust that someone would feel on hearing such a statement would be understandable, more so, if the statement is made out by educated, urban, intelligentsia. Naturally taking dowry represents a kind of bullying that the dowry seeker is subjecting the victim upon. Such kind of domination will have its extension into the victim being abused further,after the marriage and many would suggest to not go for bonding such relationships.

All this while, when you have been reading the above two paragraphs, the image in your mind might be of a newly wed bride being harassed for dowry, or family members of the groom demanding hefty sums of money or expensive commodities as dowry for getting their son married to a girl. Without batting an eyelid, in the image, the abuser is the male and his family. The victim is the girl and her family. There are laws which will deal with such acts. The laws can arrest everyone from the husbands family, whoever have been named by the victim (the girl in question). There are also laws that will book people who say, 'They take dowry. Excellent! Fascinating!' for encouraging it...


If there is a role reversal, in the image that has been formed in your mind, the flow of justice stops in its course!. If the dowry seeker is the girls family. The victim is the boy. If the boys family gives dowry to get him married to a girl, which by extension means he is being exposed to being further abused by the girl, then there is no provision in law to handle this situation.

The first reaction, a false one at that, would be such instances don't happen at all.

Let me introduce you to a tweet by a columnist who reacts as 'Excellent!'  to the news that men give hefty dowry to marry a girl. He is only joining the cheers of a noted journalist, who calls this news as, well what else, 'Fascinating!'

The tweet can be accessed here - https://twitter.com/#!/pragmatic_d/status/124116480978726912
The news item can be accessed here - http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/12/us-india-bachelors-idUSTRE79B1UV20111012

Here he is talking about the article which says, "The situation has also led to another reversal in custom, with some women and their parents asking for a lot of money from men to allow men to marry them, an inversion of the usual dowry system in which the woman's family has to pay the man's."

He gives an elated reaction of triumphalism. This reaction wont be restricted to any one person only. Our society has been conditioned to believe that any wrong happening with women is harassment, while a similar trouble for men is their weakness.

So, in short, a male seeking dowry is a criminal act. But if the dowry is being demanded by a female, then its termed as Excellent! (progressive?)

Ideally, the reaction should have been of the similar disgust as anyone would feel if the victim was a female. But since we are far off from the Utopian ability to perceive situations in a balanced manner and consider agony of men, the reactions usually smack of indifference to men's issues. The general misandry in the society stops us from genuinely addressing men's issues.

In this reaction, lies the gist of the movement of the 'Save Indian Family Foundation'. I am a member of the 'Protect Indian Family Foundation' which is an NGO under the umbrella organisation of SIFF. We alongwith Indian Family Foundation and M.A.S.H.A.L had organised a press conference at the Press Club of India, Mumbai on 18th November 2011 on the eve of International Men's Day being celebrated globally on 19th November every year. The press conference dealt with Men's Rights Movement highlighting the abuse of men. The main demand - that will take care of all other needs - being that men need a 'National Commission for Men' and a 'Ministry for Welfare of Men' .

Wishing you a Happy Men's Day!