I am neither misogynist nor anti-feminist, and not even a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA). Many of my friends working for these organisations feel I should be one like them in a formal way, but being on a different route, I prefer not to identify with any organization, be they ones from spiritual or political background. So it would be useless to measure the worth of author’s views as someone acting as mouthpiece of any organization. Let’s not forget that to come up with entirely different set of facts, a different version of reality not in tune with set patterns, is not bizarre. On the contrary, it’s the result of having viewed the world from close angles! An open mind would certainly realize it. To follow a different route does not make anyone regressive, biased, much less a Talibani with a capacity to issue a fatwa! Ridiculous assertion!
Why should every analyst of our times present a syrupy version of happenings taking place in world of present times women, wherein “every bad thing any man has ever committed highlighted and exaggerated; every bit of good systematically undermined, vilified or ignored”? It’s only that I feel inclined to represent the cause of men, not out sense of any “same gender” feeling but only from justice point of view, which demands that other side should also be heard well. It’s the other side of the fence that I am presenting with total sincerity, different perspective and neutral stance !
कुछ नहीं दिखता था अंधेरे में मगर, आंखें तो थीं,
ये कैसी रोशनी आई कि सब अंधे हो गए।।
(Though we cannot see in dark with our eyes,
It’s strange that we cannot see even as there is light around us)….
Feminism, as a movement, was started in late nineteenth century to demand female rights in society. “At the end of the nineteenth century was that women began to realize that it is unfair for them to be constantly under the power of men simply because the social system has traditionally favored males.” At this point, it’s inappropriate to discuss the impact of this movement in West, but this movement seems to have lost its impact there in modern times. May be because women have gained enough rights there but, in my eyes, it’s because both have realized well that battle of the sexes serves no purpose other than breeding animosity. “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back”.
The Indian women, who have misplaced beliefs that having all the rights ensures better days should, at least, have the guts to critically analyze the impact of such divisive and lethal movement in Western societies. Anyway, it’s better that I confine myself to Indian landscape. It’s better to understand the essential elements of Indian society, viewing it not through the myopic terms coined by the so-called progressive elements, but in a conscious way to tear apart the great game of gender equality. It’s interesting that many arguments have been forwarded to show the worth of female mind. Many love to cite the growing academic excellence of Indian women as one of the parameters to upheld the intellectual superiority of women. However, wisdom and real understanding have nothing to do with academic excellence. Many of the great contributors, in fact, nearly all creative geniuses, were very poor in academic terms plus they were never part of institutionalized structures. I say that not to lessen the importance of academic excellence but to highlight the worth of education offered in Indian schools and universities, which are killing all the good elements which a child possesses.
The Indian society might have so-called patriarchal model but it’s a sheer diabolical myth that it was framed to suppress the position of women, much less, exploit the women. The Indian society has always been women-centered society. The concept like “”Ardhanareeswara”, aimed at equality of women, which ensured that Shiva without female principle “Shakti” means nothing, always made Indian women enjoy dignified position in Indian society. Even in modern Indian Hindu families, having a balanced and sensible approach, the women always gain upper hand in all issues. All important issues have her consent, wherein her views gain as much importance than any male member. Have a look at the marriage vows. They in clear terms ensure that women come to enjoy an equal ground.
Gribhnami te saubhagatvaya hastam mayapatya jardastirayathasah|
Bhagoaryyamma savita purandhiramahyam tvadurgaharpatya devah||
That is – “Oh dear! On this auspicious occasion of our life, I take your hand in mine in the presence of invoked deities. Oh blessed woman! You be with me as a fortunate partner for a very long time. I hand over the control of my family in your hands, discharge your duties joyously.”
It’s a fallacious assertion that men enjoyed privileges in past while the women remained an oppressed lot. “Society is largely constructed for the benefit of women and children and always has been, otherwise it doesn’t survive. …It takes a gigantic lack of imagination (usually the sole province of baby feminists) to believe that women wanted the economic and political involvement they claim now when the demands and risks of these endeavours were as they were then (ancient times)”. The Indian society is also no exception. It’s always portrayed as if women in the past were some sort of domestic slaves, devoid of any sort of right to decide by themselves. Well, such a claim can only be made by people who have not bothered to know Indian society in its entirety. Even the most ancient ladies in Indian history had the right to chose their husbands via a ceremony called Swyamvara. The women were well versed in scriptural knowledge and many among them were qualified scholars.
True, with advent of time many of the glorious traditions (the great spirit which led to their origin) faded away to give way to their corrupt versions. It would not be out of place to mention that practice like dowry was basically the Streedhan to ensure that a woman is “not left wanting anything after the wedding”. The impression of men being unconcerned about the rights of women is quite powerfully projected but lesser known aspect is that men have played an instrumental role in any movement aimed at improvement of women. The greatest example in this category is abolition of Sati Pratha and banning of child marriages. Anyway, the division in labour in Indian society was done by the sages, who played an impartial role while framing laws related with basic structure of Indian society. It favoured none.
Had Indian society been truly patriarchal in nature, as suggested by new age scholars, it would have never led to emergence of bold Indian women who always played equal role in Indian society. Be they queens of ancient era, or the women freedom fighters of pre-Independence era, the Indian women played a significant role. It would not have been possible had women been denied the right to make choices. The modern Indian society is facing new set of complexities but the solution is not devaluation of ancient practices. The empowerment of Indian women does not mean women be entitled to make arbitrary choices on the grounds that men also did the same! In fact, it presupposes that men enjoyed unlimited freedom of all sorts. It’s totally false and erroneous notion. Their choices were also determined by the prescribed rules, keeping in mind the interests of women and children. Let’s be clear that the empowerment of women does not mean to give way to propaganda that “women alone have sufferings and women alone have problems in life”.
At present, the situation has become pretty confusing and dangerous for the growth of Indian society. The men are being repeatedly portrayed as abusers, leading to anti-family and anti-marriage laws. Indeed, there are problems related with Indian women but then effective measures in form of stringent laws are already there to take note of them. There are many institutions to take care of plight of women, whose recommendations have led to new rules, fresh amendments and etc. in form of Domestic Violence Act, Dowry Act and Maintenance Act, to name a few. In Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court of India in 1997 laid down the guidelines to ensure that sexual harassment at the workplace does not take place, which resulted in framing of the “The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012”. The problems pertaining to women are being systematically dealt with, and much of the problems have not arisen out of lack of concern for the cause of women in Indian society, but because of lack of effective implementation. So it’s really shrewd to suggest that patriarchal society favours men!
Let’s understand that in name of personal freedom and personal choices one cannot give way to lifestyle which ensures conflicts and dilemmas of disturbing nature. A choice has to be in league with prevalent norms and customs. Or else, women need to effectively satisfy that their choices would not lead to turbulent state of affairs. There is nothing like absolute freedom. She has to convince what would be the state of affairs in such a society, which allows women unrestricted freedom in name of personal choices? That’s because, if there comes no plausible explanation, and still we went in for such a society, it would be hard to wipe out the new set of complexities. That’s the case in other parts of the hemisphere. To see the resistance offered by men, or by the people belonging to old order of living patterns as an attempt to hold back the privileges enjoyed in the patriarchal set-up is not the right interpretation. It’s also not fear to lose the power or monopoly. On the contrary, it’s an attempt to prevent the citadels of society from crumbling down.
It’s simply not issue of having choices/making choices in free manner; it’s more about long term consequences of having choices, which indicate the high probability of single women, pills, abortions, extra-marital relations, same-sex relations, stress-related burdens, broken families, deviant kids and etc.? What about the dangerous interference in the evolutionary process, wherein for ages men played the role of protector and women the role of nurturing the kids? With this kind of perverted “role reversal”, are’t we on the wrong track? One of my friends, during gender related conversation, referring to Sunita Williams ( as if only after that Indian women learnt the art to make exceptional choices) stated that she did not have kids for the sake of work! It would be suffice to say that if all women made such a choice, it would not be hard to imagine the fate of evolution of human species! However, this is classic example of selective approach, wherein a woman seeks benefits of traditional society when she feels trapped by her weaknesses but she is absolutely modern when it comes to making choices and rights. That’s paradox at its best since.
After all, it involves taming of the men species to ensure that inequality gets reduced! That has begun in a cruel fashion. Men are now supposed to do something which is never their strength, and a retaliatory gesture on their part is enough to get them the tag of being an abuser and an oppressor! Who will bear the consequences of “placing men and women in a conflicting role and creating confusion in values”? But that’s still not as ominous as an attempt to create a society which denies even the right to protest on part of men. “Under cover of the notion of chivalry, as understood by Modern Feminism, Political and Sentimental Feminists alike would deprive men of the most elementary rights of self-defence against women and would exonerate the latter practically from all punishment for the most dastardly crimes against men. They know they can rely upon the support of the sentimental section of public opinion with some such parrot cry of: “Treat a woman in this way!”/ “What! Hit a woman!”.
It’s interesting that women learnt to move out of their houses, refusing to remain confined to prison like state of affairs within the home, and began to notice that world outside is a different affair altogether. It missed the “having all the pleasure factor” which they had assumed prevailed in men’s life as they began to venture outside. The world would remain a hell’s replica and it would not going to change whether women remains inside the home or moves outside, fulfilling their aspirations and dreams in fullest manner. However, having said that, let’s make the world safer and better for the women community. Nobody said that problems pertaining to women’s life, be they of any type, sexual assault, low wages, discrimination, should be ignored.
What I wish to suggest is that while dealing with women’s issues, the gender politics should not get mixed with the reforms. An attempt to distort the intimate relationship with men and women should not become the prime motive in guise of welfare. Sadly, that’s how one feels while analyzing the current state of affairs, wherein right from biological facts, psychological facts and legal truths, all are being selectively quoted, or quoted in perverted manner to suit the vested interests acting as agents of change in world of women.
That’s why all conscious souls, interested in right developments, should become alert when “there is no distinction between potential and probability. An allegation suffices for proof. Hearsay is taken for gospel.” (Charles E. Corry). Rohan, Men’s Rights activist, Bangalore, conveys the same sentiments in a different way: ” Women have the right to be seated when in a bus or in a train. They have the right to 50% reservation in govt. jobs and academics. They have the right to claim alimony and maintenance, even in a live-in relationship. They have only rights and men only have duties. This is called equality, according to feminazis.”
Precisely, it’s for the very same reason it has become need of the hour to present the happenings taking place in world of men in an aggressive and conscious manner. The happier side of the movements aimed to improve the life of women has been “demolition of the idea that women are inherently nice”. The thing that’s now taking place is that discrimination and abuse stories related with women are being presented both in right and wrong way, with help of paid media. Facts, right and wrong, are flowing thick and past to show that how women have been underprivileged and suppressed lot. No one is bothered to check either the authenticity of facts nor the source, forget about probing them from wide angles.
Anyway, since all this is happening in the name of ensuring a better world for women, I am but compelled to endorse them. But with a condition and appeal: Let’s also reveal the true picture of the sufferings, pains, humiliation, torture faced by men side-by-side the stories which talk about sufferings of women, with the same honesty and intensity! That alone will bring the true story, true picture. At present, we are witnessing with abuse stories related with women only. That’s unfair to hear/see only one side in any story and jump to flawed conclusions applicable to totality.
Why such a wish irks those concerned with rights of women? Will society be a better place only if you enable the women to have all the rights? Why shouldn’t the rights of men be discussed in the same breath? Why should not adequate attention be paid to silent sufferings of men? It leaves me aghast that tragedies, stories of discrimination associated with men, their precarious state of affairs being involved in hazardous and tough activities and regular interaction with dilemmas and ironies of peculiar type are being talked about in matter-of-fact tones. Worse, any attempt to bring the truth get checkmated by giving the impression that since men are about to lose the power, lose the privileges, these are reactionary backlash. That’s an absurd and fleeting observation. The right interpretation is that men have now begun to get organized to make “gender equality” attain a right shape, a right balance, a right proportion. And this would never stop.
P.S.: Many thanks to my friend, Rohan, whose views I have borrowed from the conversation we had on Instablogs on one of my posts having the same theme. He is Men’s Rights Activist hailing from Bangalore.
Society Always Tilted Towards Women