Is it time for a men’s welfare ministry?

Written by Priyanjali Ghose

Some men in the city certainly seem to think so, with a save the male event being planned for International Men’s Day on November 19

Indian men who believe that the dice is loaded against them in the battle of the sexes now have reason to rejoice. For, the Bangalore chapter of a US-based NGO is all set to give gender equality a whole new meaning by marking Friday, November 19 as International Men’s Day.

The day will see the city’s men taking part in various fun activities as part of an event titled save the Male, with the theme ‘Men Are Emotional Beings’. The event is being organised by Indian representatives of The National Coalition for Men (NCFM), a US based non-profit organisation that started the International Men’s Day in 1998 in Trinidad and Tobago with support from the United Nations.

Celebrating manhood
Explaining that International Men’s Day is a day to celebrate manhood, Virag Dhulia, the Indian Liaison Officer of NCFM said, “Everyone knows about March 8 as Women’s Day and a day to express their issues. But, when you ask someone about men’s problems they draw a blank. On November 19, we want to make people aware of the issues that lie hidden.”

However, men don’t want this day marked with dharnas and seminars. Instead, the event will feature fun games like hitting targets with a bow and arrow, in which even women can participate and win attractive gifts for the men they love. But, the event will also highlight and encourage discussion on issues like a father’s rights, dowry cases against men, high suicide rates and domestic violence.

“There may be an idea that men who celebrate International Men’s Day are losers. We want to prevent this thought and hence the entertaining events. It is also a day to celebrate the achievements of men through centuries,” said Vivek Deveshawar, coordinator of Save Indian Family Foundation, another NGO participating in the event.

According to Kumar Jahgirdaar, a father’s rights activist from CRISP, an NGO dedicated to the cause of child custody, the day is also for men to speak openly about issues they are facing everywhere.

“We live in a country where men pay 82 per cent of the tax and even animals have a ministry. Through celebrations like this, we want to say we also need a men’s welfare ministry and want society to understand that even we have a heart.”

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