MRM or the men’s rights movement, as it is popularly known, had actually started in India many years back. With groups like Men Cell, Pidito Pati Parishad (PPP) and a few others being formed in the various parts of the country, however, it took quite some years before the movement got widespread recognition and mainstream status.
One can clearly see the advent of the movement getting prominent focus and attention with the rise of the Save Indian Family (SIF) movement. The SIF movement started in and around the beginning of 2005 with a few men’s rights activists calling the situation as “Enough is Enough”. The abuse of men and their families, by the society, law agencies and the Government going unabated and harassed men, especially husbands, having no solace in sight, the growth and foundation of the SIF movement was long impending and waiting to happen.
However, this current movement with the existing impetus did not start as SIF movement. It just started as a desperate attempt by a handful of husbands, who were trapped in bad marriages and frivolous marital litigations, to make their voices heard over the internet through blogging.
Sanghabalaya existed in Bangalore, which was provided some semblance of a support to men and their families trapped in false dowry cases. When, in 2003-2004, Pandurang Katti (popularly known as Bharti) and Anil Kumar (popularly known as Gorky) joined Sanghabalaya, they had to traverse 10 pages of Google search results to be able to reach the website of Sanghabalaya.
One year into it, and with minor initial successes of Sanghabalaya in getting some media coverage about the “Misuse of Section 498A”, resulted in the formation of Asha Kiran, an offshoot of Sanghabalaya and a product of in-fighting. In December 2004, Asha Kiran conducted a seminar with 30 judges in Bangalore on the abuse of men in the legal system, child custody issues and various other problems. That sensitization led to yet another in-fighting and the realization sank in that the problem was much more complex than perceived and needed a social uprising.
And, so the need for a widespread movement was felt terribly. And thus was born the SIF movement (conceptualized and designed by Bharti and Gorky jointly) which was based on the internet – so that it is not easy to break it. The concept of local chapters was introduced – to prevent the movement from it getting centralized. And as the awareness campaigns became intense, along with the rising abuse of men, especially by the women-centric marital laws, the SIF movement also gained momentum in various parts of the country.
The years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 marked a serious growth in the history of the men’s rights movement. SIF had grown beyond proportions imagined with almost 32 local chapters, all over India, about 110 helplines and at least 300 media mentions yearly. Dharnas, roadshows, TV Debates, various written presentations before various Govt. agencies, research reports being presented to the Law Commission – SIF movement and its activists have done it all.
The word’s out – men have raised their voices against the silent mutilation of the male gender and have taken a stand for themselves, some men have stuck their neck out and are challenging not only anti-male laws, but also anti-male and pervert societal attitudes.
Men’s rights activists in India were early to know that abuse under law is just a symptom and merely attacking the law won’t suffice. The real root cause of such abuse is the attitude of the society towards the male gender. Society considers the male gender as disposable and finds it perfectly fine to abuse males. And the males, in turn are also brought up in a similar fashion – wherein they are imbibed with values that a man sacrificing his life for wife, children, parents, society, country is worthy of glory.
This mindset change is the key to the success of men’s rights movement. Without any attempt to do so, any attempt to change the law is like trying to cure the fever, caused due to lever imbalance, with paracetamol. Unless the liver imbalance is cured, the fever won’t go. And this realization is the key to the success of SIF as the men’s rights movement in India compared to the other movements mentioned at the beginning.
I would like to end this article with a note, that every man (read male) in this society has a “A Right to stay alive