The “dominant sex”— male — is not so dominant after all. Forming solidarity on the eve of International Men’s Day (IMD) on Thursday, pro-men activists in Bangalore are set to launch an All India Men’s Welfare Association and demand creation of a Men’s Welfare Ministry, among other things.
The Association has drafted a charter that asks for a holiday on IMD, paternity leave, and a study on the treatment men get in different spheres of socio-economic life. The Association has asked all male employees in Bangalore to take mass leave on Thursday and “declare their independence and celebrate their freedom”.
“Man is depicted as a fiend who is out to exploit women. It’s reflected in the societal attitude, right from the mother’s lap and lasts till the grave,” bemoans Virag Dhulia, a researcher for the Save Indian Family Foundation that was formed a few years ago to provide legal succour to men fighting marital cases.
Virag is rich in details and ladles out examples where men are silent sufferers: “First, discrimination comes in the form of false image of dominance: man should not cry, he should shoulder responsibility for the welfare of women, he must do all risky tasks. Giving them false values are the scriptures that put man at a psychological disadvantage. In society, right from the elementary schools to the judiciary, he is suspect till he proves himself otherwise.”
“The government even has an Animal Welfare Board but the sex that gives 82 per cent tax revenue and does all the unpleasant and hazardous jobs, the fruit of which is mainly enjoyed by women, have no place in India’s scheme of things,” regrets the new body’s website aimwa.info launched on Monday. “Men,” it exhorts, “let’s unite and fight societal attitude, not women.”
“No, we are not against women. We’re for gender parity,” clarifies Vivek Deveshwar, another activist in the forefront. “Men face humiliation in every step. For instance, government gives great importance to breast cancer and blood cancer in women, but hardly anything on prostrate cancer, a disease men are prone to. In advertisements and cartoons, a male is portrayed as stupid, while women are witty and smart.”
Mithun Kumar, one of the leaders, told DNA, “In every step, a man suffers ignominy. To take the latest example, look at how the media treated the case of a woman who barged into the marriage hall. The man had no voice, nobody believed him or asked for his view.” Kumar says even the World Economic Forum keeps harping on the dwindling population of girls without any valid study.
“It’s unfortunately true that men are becoming victims of ‘legal terrorism’ unleashed through laws like Indian Penal Code Section 498A, Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, adultery laws and many other laws, all loaded against men,” says veteran lawyer of many fights, MG Kumar.