Tedx: Need for Men’s Rights

Men’s Rights a concept which sounds alien in this modern era. We hear so much about rights for various groups, that we have ended up trampling on the most basic fundamental rights for men. Still on the backdrop of patriarchy we keep giving them the short end of the stick and ask them to ‘man up’.

Recently in an address in Tedx, the discussion was on Need for Men’s Rights.

The speaker very articulately explains the distinction between economic power and decision making power. He explains this concept with the story of Shantanu. Certain parameters can be used as a barometer to measure the health and quality of living of men in the society.

There is something very wrong with the society with majority of child labour being boys, victims of violent crimes being men and violent crimes committed by women on the rise. The discussion then went to if we are really living in a patriarchal society and the rape laws of India.

The presentation used at the address is given below:

Need for Mens Rights_TEDxJuhu

Let’s all Stand Up for a Cause…

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Amit Deshpande – The Warrior Within

I recently came upon an opportunity to interview Amit Deshpande, a social worker, working towards equal human rights for both the genders. This selfless gentleman worked for a social cause without expecting anything in return. Certain excerpts from my interview with him are given below:   Tell us briefly about yourself?

Amit-Deshpande

Amit Deshpande

Amit: I am 34 years old and an engineer by profession, born and brought up in Mumbai, in a simple middle class family. I have two sisters and my parents, though from a humble background, always made sure we have real equality within the household, both in terms of rights and responsibilities among all three of us siblings. I was always socially aware and was perturbed with the facts that the men’s rights activist groups had put across. I had briefly stayed in Bangalore and had used RTI (Right to Information) to get a chemist booked by the Sales Tax Department in Bangalore who was selling psycho-active drugs without prescription which is illegal. He was doing this with impunity without even holding a licence to sell (News report can be found here). Further, the Anna-andolan inspired me to be more active socially. One of my articles had even made it to the print edition of the newspaper ‘dna’.   Generally it is seen that people join the MRA movement after some experience. Can you share the same with us? Amit: I got married in 2008 and had visited the MRA meeting in Mulund, Mumbai out of curiosity for a personal issue. After visiting the MRA meetings, I learnt about the suicide stats of men which is that every 8 minutes a married man commits suicide in India and about the rampant misuse of Sec 498A of IPC, where more than 90% of the cases are found to be frivolous. I decided to work against the human rights violation that is happening to innocent people and joined the men’s rights movement. Suicides by Married Men and Women As can be seen above about 2 times more married men commit suicide as compared to married women which shows the social pressure that they are facing. 498A Incidents   Could you please elaborate on the said misuse of 498A? Amit: 498A is the provision under IPC which deals with husband and his family subjecting wife to cruelty for dowry. It is a cognizable, non-bailable and a non-compoundable offense. We have got cases where the entire family of the husband such as his mother, sisters, bhabhis, other female relatives, ailing parents were booked under this section and were arrested. Even people who came to help the victim were booked. There have been cases where a dog’s name has been put in the complaint and even a 2 month old baby got an anticipatory bail under this section. In the past the Supreme Court had raised concerns on the misuse of this section and had told the government to amend it. A short 5 minute documentary on the said misuse on 498A is given below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFZyCCfoes8   What do you think are the problems faced by the Indian men these days and why is it difficult to come out of these toxic relationships? Amit: Men have the biggest problem of proving their ‘manhood’ for acceptance. On the other hand, the concept of ‘real men’ in our society has put a huge pressure on all men. There is a lack of positive spaces for men where they can come out and share their issues. More men are dying by committing suicides. More men are dying due to stress related diseases. Men face a lot of misandry in all spheres of life. Men can be framed in a false case of rape or molestation or domestic violence or dowry harassment. Men have to face toxic relationships and they cannot even complain or come out of it unscathed and the society doesn’t allow them freedom from such toxic relationships.   You say society is forcing them into these toxic relations. How is that so. Are we not living in a patriarchal society which benefits men? Amit: The problem is the social setup we have termed as patriarchy; which doesn’t respect a vulnerable man, so we have men always trying to cloak themselves as macho and strong when actually they might be facing a complete breakdown from inside. It is patriarchy which puts all responsibilities and liabilities on men and bestows rights on the fairer sex. Such a social construct keeps men in a bondage in these toxic relations. When the despair and indignation becomes unbearable some men are driven to suicide.   You mean to say women get more benefit than men in Patriarchy. Could you please elaborate? Amit: Patriarchy has traditionally given the role of protectors/ providers to men. So men are judged by how well they play these roles. Patriarchy gives economic power to men, but gives emotional power to women. Men in a patriarchal set up are pitted against each other. The society progresses by the competition amongst men. Men lay down their lives for all others especially women and children. While women have to be the caretakers, their only issue is to find a good protector/provider. Let’s do a reality check; against whom are the most violent crimes taking place in the society or who dies the most due to diseases or which gender has the most casualties during war. Burt: We did check out these details, and Men had the most incidents of violent crimes against them, maximum number of deaths due to diseases were for men and also most troop casualties during war were male. A detailed article on the same can be found here.   If men cannot discuss their pain in a social construct that patriarchy has created for them. What options do they have for support? Amit: We are trying to address this issue in our own small way by holding weekly meetings. We have a network of over 40 NGOs all over India which conduct weekly meetings in over 20 cities. We try to create a positive space for men where they can be heard without being judged. Save Indian Family, the umbrella foundation, has started an all India helpline for men in distress. Its numbers are given below. SIF Numbers You mentioned that you have also started an NGO for specifically helping men in trouble. Could you please discuss a little bit on it? Vaastav LogoAmit: We have founded an NGO in Mumbai, Vaastav Foundation which will work exclusively to highlight the issues of men. The foundation regularly conducts meetings at Veer Saavarkar Udyan, Borivali-W from 11 am to 2 pm and at Chintamani Deshmukh Garden, Mulund-E between 5pm to 7 pm every Sunday to help men in distress. Any one can attend these meetings. A person may also call us on the helpline numbers given above.   How do you get funding for conducting these activities? Amit: We have been running the NGO and the movement completely out of our pockets. We have registered the NGO and are looking for donations.   How do you see the men’s issues movement shaping up in the future? Amit: Mens movement will grow further as more and more men will get aware that they are being discriminated against. We have started seeing young men being aware of their rights and the sensing the discrimination. It is about time when people will start opting for the red pill (with a reference to the red pill of matrix). Burt: Thanks Amit it was great talking with you and all the best for your NGO Vaastav and hope it shows us the reality.   You can listen to Amit talk about the Marriage Law Amendment Bill on a news debate, the link of which is given below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAzVwu1oBXM   As we can see Amit is a person fighting for true gender equality and human rights with a selfless and altruistic motive. No wonder he is a role model for me and many other people providing them with the much required ‘red pill’. I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with BlogAdda.com. Let us all support Amit in his endeavour and Stand up for a Cause… ——– Date Sources for Graphs: NCRB Software for analysis Crime Info and ADSI Info.

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Decision making by Women – India

Decision making by women is considered as a yardstick for women empowerment and it is stated that in a patriarchal society women generally donot have decision making powers. It is believed that in a patriarchy, women are treated as puppets and chattels and are typically directed around. In my earlier article titled Child Gender Preference – India, we discussed the gender preferences in so called patriarchal states of India. Let’s analyze the decision making by women in some of these states:

Married Women aged 15-49 yrs who usually participate in household decisions

Area

%

Haryana

81.0

Punjab

75.7

Delhi

74.4

Himachal Pradesh

73.6

Uttarakhand

67.3

Jharkhand

63.5

Chhattisgarh

59.3

Uttar Pradesh

54.2

Rajasthan

42.8

Bihar

41.6

The north-eastern states of India are typically considered as matriarchal societies. The decision making of married women in those states were found to be considerably lower than the patriarchal states:

Married Women aged 15-49 yrs who usually participate in household decisions

Area

%

Meghalaya

69.8

Assam

61.1

Nagaland

56.7

Arunachal Pradesh

46.0

Mizoram

44.9

Manipur

41.6

Tripura

22.8

It would be great if someone could explain me the reasons for this difference in household decision making and as to why women in so-called patriarchal states enjoy a higher decision making power as compared to women in so-called matriarchal states. Or is it that India is ‘not’ a patriarchal society as touted, but infact an ‘egalitarian’ society?

You Decide ….

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Data Source: MoHFW_National Family Health Survey, 2005-2006, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi_2007

Home Page: Stand Up for a Cause…

Child Gender Preference – India

In recent past I have read news articles wherein gender ratio is linked to patriarchal societies. This seems to give an impression that patriarchy is a reason for lower gender ratios in states such as UP, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. Let us delve deeper into  the preference of married persons for the gender of their child in these so called patriarchal societies.

Married persons (age 15-49 yrs) who want more Sons than Daughters – %

Area

Mother

Father

Bihar

39.2

38.5

Rajasthan

34.3

24.0

Uttar Pradesh

33.5

27.8

Madhya Pradesh

30.8

27.9

Jharkhand

28.1

24.6

Orissa

24.2

20.3

Gujarat

22.7

20.0

Haryana

22.0

18.4

Uttarakhand

20.7

13.6

Punjab

17.7

13.4

Further, for Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Jharkhand more men want daughters than sons as compared to women.

The above data shows that in the so called patriarchal societies of India it is the womenfolk who prefer sons over daughters as compared to men, and that too over a wide margin. The lower gender ratio in these states could be due to this preference of womenfolk. It would be great to know how come this gender preference of women be related to patriarchy, as claimed…

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Date Source: MoHFW_National Family Health Survey, 2005-2006, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi_2007

Home Page: Stand Up for a Cause…

Rebutting Patriarchy Theory

Crazy Evil King

As per Wikipedia[i], Patriarchy (rule by fathers) is a social system in which the male is the primary authority figure central to social organization and the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property, and where fathers hold authority over women and children. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination.

In the recent past most of the feminists talk about their movement as against patriarchy and not against men or demonizing men. Per the definition of patriarchy there are 2 important points to it –

1)      Female Subordination

2)      Creating a social system them deliberately subordinates them with pressure.

As per the feminists we are living in a patriarchal society which means you and I deliberately, with pressure subordinate women. Now these are not women of a different country or a different sect / religion but our own family members with whom we share an intimate bond like mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. Meaning, men are ready to hurt and subordinate with pressure, the very person they love and share a bond for their own gains. We can only think of a Sociopath or a Narcissist who does like this[ii]. Read more of this post

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