PRESS RELEASE: Men lack freedom of personal choices in a patriarchal world


Subject: Men lack freedom of personal choices in a patriarchal world

Vinay (name changed), aged 18 years wanted to become a jingles writer for ads as he enjoyed doing the work and was good at it too. However, his parents wanted him to do something more ‘traditional’ like service/job because that would guarantee regular income for his ‘future family’ and did not allow him to explore his passion.

Mohan (name changed), aged about 37 years was tired of working for 19 long years repaying education loan, marriage loan and then home loan as his wife had put a condition that she would marry him only after he owns a house.

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Why is Success so important in life?

This question – “Why is success so important in life?” had been haunting me for quite some time. The more I used to think about it, the more I used to get confused. So then I thought I will ask my friends and other people about it. I did do that and got interesting replies in return – a gist of which will be shared shortly – but before that I will share the story of the Pepsodent toothpaste ad which goes as follows.

A small kid is walking dejected and enters the school bus going back to home. His friend asks him, “What happened?” he replies, “Main fail ho gaya (I failed)”. His friend asks for details, he says, Pepsodent had come to their school for a germ test in mouth and germs were found in his mouth, as such he failed the “Germ Test”. And so the kid is completely dejected and feels lost in the world.

Suddenly, his friend says, “Par fail to tera toothpaste hua (But it’s your toothpaste that’s failed)”. Immediately the dejected kid’s face lights up and he elates with joy, “Arre haan mera toothpaste fail hua (Oh ya it’s my toothpaste that’s failed)”. And the kid’s joy knows no bounds.

A careful analysis of the above ad shows that the feeling of success/failure can have profound influence on our psyches, behavior and emotions. Till the time the kid was associating the failure with himself he was sad, but the moment the feeling of failure shifted to the toothpaste, he was fine with it. For him, success here was the dissociation of the feeling of failure.

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Marriage broken irretrievably? Grant Divorce

The Honorable Supreme Court has recently ruled that Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage is no ground for divorce in a ruling. Taking strong exception to the same, the Law Commission has ruled that, the same should be made a ground for divorce. As is evident both views being contradictory to each other, either one of them are beneficial to the society and citizenry at large.

Marriage is a social institution and is the first step towards the formation of family. It gives the people, the much needed support to face the adversaries of life and is a source of happiness for any individual. However, when there is a clash of expectations between individuals and hidden agendas are involved or the mutual trust between partners is broken, the marriage ceases to exist in spirit and remains only on papers.

Irretrievable breakdown of marriage has not been laid down as a ground of divorce in Hindu Marriage Act; however there have been judgments where divorce has been granted on the same basis by the Honorable Supreme Court. But very recently, as mentioned, the Honorable Supreme Court denied divorce on the same grounds saying the law does not permit it. Analysis of the contradictions led to serious revelations. The divorces granted on “Irretrievable Breakdown of marriage” were those demanded by wives while the one recently rejected was demanded by husband.

This is nothing short of discrimination against husbands by the Honorable Supreme Court and is a defeat of human rights of husbands. Be it a man or a woman, a right to peaceful and dignified life is an unchallengeable one and has to be respected at any cost. End of marriage is not the end of life and if two people, after having married to each other are not happy with each other and all means of restoring their marriage have been exhausted, one does not see any reason not to grant them divorce and allow them to move on in life.

A relationship is meant to give support to an individual in a social context and not to form a burden and all relationships are quintessentially trust based. If the trust dies, so does the relation, maintaining it on papers is another fallacy like the relationship itself? A true and mature relationship is one, where even if there is a tiff between the partners, the same can be resolved by making one phone call no matter who makes the call. If any relationship fails this One Phone Call Test, it is better called off and that too in a manner which ensures happiness and mental peace for both the partners.

The Law Commission must be lauded for being so quick in responding to the call of making “Irretrievable Breakdown of marriage” a ground for divorce and calling upon the Center to consider the amendment to Hindu Marriage Act. This call is a triumph of human rights, especially for men, whose rights are often trampled in an over enthused spirit of Women Empowerment which unfortunately is not synonymous with Male Entrapment, the way currently it is being executed.

Save Indian Family Foundation, an NGO dedicated to promote Family Harmony and Gender Equality urges the Center to consider amending the Hindu Marriage Act for including “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage” as a ground for divorce.

Speech Extract of Honorable Justice Shri G Raghuram

Do you feel men should have their rights?
( surveys) 

Honorable Justice Shri G. Raghuram gave the inaugural address at the seminar titled “Dynamics of Family Structure and the Role of Law” organized by the Save Indian Family Foundation team at Vizag. Here is the extract of his speech.

He addresses all people. Then, he acknowledges the statistical presentation, “The presentation is impressive. The inferences are another matter.” He said, “Domestic Violence disturbs the equilibrium of civil society and creates familial disruption.”

With due apologies to police, the administration of police and magistracy are working in a mechanical manner which comes in the way of pursuit of prosecution.

Regarding criticism of any legislation he said that he and his fellow judges are least empowered in this auditorium regarding free speech. However, he would like to make a general comment that “most criticism of legislation (read 498a) is not unfounded. Discourses in civil society are non-existent in this facade called democracy, where sensationalization has become a norm.

In India, retrofitting of laws and non-involvement of civil society in law making has created difficulties. “Dynamics of Family in India” are in distressing state. Laws are meant to replace, Chaos with order and brutality with judgment.” Civilization is heading towards “barbaric age”.

The Judge said, he has consulted and referred the views of many neuroscientists, anthropologists, evolutionary biologists including “Al-Gore” and has come to a conclusion that Audio-Visual Medium (for example TV) has a deep and disproportionate impact on human brain and it disturbs the cognitive part of human brain.  He categorically told, “Too much audio – visual input jeopardizes the cognitive ability”.

He expressed, “I am a member of a judicial fast food joint. I get the salary of a high court judge and work as a Manual Revenue officer, for example like deciding, who will get 50 ration cards.”

He added, “The social audits are non-existent. The marriage evolved since the hunter-gatherer days. It is not clearly known how it came into existence. In Hinduism, there are some 9 different forms of marriages/Vivaha mentioned including intra-family marriages with different motives. The Christian marriage has also involved with some preaching “no divorce”. For Muslims, it is a contract.

The joint family system of marriage is a male dominated, patriarchal set up loaded against women and it has become psycho-socially fragile. The nuclear family can be classified as a first generation and second generation nuclear family.

In the first generation of nuclear family, it still inherited some positive values of joint families. However, in the second generation of nuclear families, the inheritance of values has become weak and children became cultural orphans. No new values could come up to replace the old cultural structures. Pubs and rave parties, wealth acquisition and its dispensation have taken over in the ensuing confusion. The cognitive home sapiens has regressed.”

The “rural” have become victims of confusion and self indulgent consumerists. In this con carnival called democracy, things are at a dismal state.

Now, is there a way out? Yes.

Will Rhetoric do? No.

Will Status Quo work? No.

What is needed is, “love and care for people and civil society has to play a continuous mentoring role.”

Spirit of moderation has to be exercised. Today, marriages have become PowerPoint presentations with complete alienation and disorientation of marriage guests. Marriage guests have become parasites. I say this with due apologies to the parasites in nature.

It is the citizens and civil society that has to direct legislature and representatives. However, there is no regard for citizens or public. When a Govt servant makes a serious mistake towards public, he apologizes to the court and not to the public. In short, democracy has not seeped into our society.

Recently, I came across a lawsuit in a consumer court where a man has filed a complaint that the woman he has married to is an imperfect product as there are a couple of marks on her breasts. So, he wanted to be compensated. No layman can ever get such ideas. A perverted lawyer has told this idea to the man. Lawyers are supposed to be mentors of judges. This mentoring role has become devoid of any sense of values, if they ever had any sense of values.

PS: This speech is as recorded during the seminar and is not the verbatim record. Exact and actual wordings may vary but the gist remains the same and is open to interpretation as well.

Do you determine your beliefs or your beliefs determine you?

G’day Kids. So this study on beliefs has turned into something of an epic. Let’s look at a snapshot of what we’ve covered so far in parts one and two

1. We’re all largely driven, motivated, limited, empowered and controlled by our beliefs; this can be both good and bad.

2. We have positive, negative and incidental beliefs.

3. Beliefs typically form over a long period of time. From the day we are born that computer on top of our shoulders is being programmed.

4. They often develop with no real effort, input or awareness on our part. We rarely make conscious decisions about them; they take root in spite of us.

5. They are the result of our influences and our experiences.

6. We know that in certain situations and circumstances (home, work, clubs, church, politics), there exists a level of pressure to align our beliefs and thinking with the majority in order to be accepted, valued and respected as part of that group.

7. Having different beliefs to the majority (in your immediate world), or changing your beliefs won’t always be well received. In fact, it will often be resisted and strongly discouraged.

8. Quite often we adopt the beliefs of others. We grow into the thinking of our parents, teachers, preachers, bosses. We don’t explore or discover our own truth, we simply make theirs.. ours.

9. I like the idea of being part of a group where identical beliefs and consensual thinking is not a pre-requisite for membership. Or acceptance. Or respect. That kind of group appeals to me.

10. We should re-examine, question and test our beliefs to determine whether they empower us or limit us.

11. Just because you’ve believed something for a long time doesn’t mean it’s right; it just means you’ve believed it for a long time!

12. We have an emotional attachment to some beliefs and the thought of letting go of them scares the crap out of us. But sometimes it’s in the letting go that we have our eyes opened.

13. In an effort to align our beliefs, thinking and behaviour with the group, we often lose US. We lose our own identity and individuality, waste our potential and live a life of frustration, compromise and under-achievement. We don’t become the best US we can, we become what is expected of us; we succumb to the enormity of conformity.

So the smart plan would be to keep the positive beliefs and lose the bad ones.

The time to consider change is when we realise that a particular belief is having some kind of negative impact on our life; our potential, our productivity, our relationships, our possibilities, our career, our family, our physical, mental and emotional health. Changing beliefs is easier said that done, keeping in mind that we are emotional beings who have been thinking, doing and believing a certain way for a very long time. The good news is that change is very possible if we’re serious about the process and we’re prepared to do the work.

So how do we change our beliefs?

1. De-emotionalise the process. The greater the level of emotional investment we have in a certain belief, the more likely we are to be irrational, defensive and even protective of that belief, no matter how much of a negative it has been in our life. The challenge comes in being brave enough to open our mind and expand our thinking to the possibility that some of our long-held beliefs may be wr..wr…wr…ong! Scary I know. Deep breaths, you’ll be okay. A good question to ask ourselves is “what do I believe?”, but the better question is “why do I believe that?” When we discover the ‘why’ then we will find it easier to change the ‘what’.

2. Do what scares you. Of course we need to wrap some logic and common sense around this piece of advice; I’m not suggesting we throw ourselves of a cliff because we’re scared of heights! But working through challenges that force us to confront and deal with our fears is one of the most effective ways to change the way we think, believe, behave and produce in our world.

Most of our limiting beliefs are about US (what we can, can’t, should, shouldn’t do, be, create, achieve), so when we confront, rather than avoid the things that scare us, we typically experience an instant shift in our thinking. When you do something that you believed wasn’t possible for you (running a marathon, holding a snake, completing some study, standing up for yourself, speaking in public), not only do you experience a shift in your thinking about that particular achievement, but you also start to question other self-imposed limitations. “Wow, if I can do that, what else can I do?” When people run their first marathon, the biggest shift is usually in their psychology not their physiology. It’s like they open a door to a world of possibilities. That potential (to do amazing) was always there but it took an experience (facing and overcoming a fear) to open that mental and emotional door which had been locked shut for far too long.

3. Hang out with different people. Hang out with negative, paranoid, miserable, fearful, excuse-making, under-achievers… and pretty soon you’ll be just like them! Who we hang out with doesn’t determine who we become but it sure does influence us. As much as possible, spend time with people who you admire, respect and trust; people who will empower you, not handicap you.

4. Expose yourself to different environments, cultures, ideas, thinking. Some of us have lived in our little boxes for so long that we think the world starts and finishes at our doorstep. Spend time talking to people you would normally avoid or people you might consider yourself to have nothing in common with. They will teach you something. Travel, explore, see different things, do different things. Occasionally expose yourself to things that are ‘not you’. Consciously and proactively set yourself to learn new things.

I recently had a conversation with someone who was being very critical of a particular religious group that exists here in Australia (and many other countries). When I asked him which parts of their theology, philosophy and doctrine he disagreed with, he looked at me blankly. The truth was he that he was criticising something that he knew nothing about. He’d never read any of their religious texts, never had a (meaningful) conversation with anyone of that faith, never been to a service and never even considered that the group he was criticising could possibly teach him anything or be a ‘viable’ (for want of a better term) religious option. After a little probing, I learned that he had simply adopted his ignorant, arrogant beliefs from his equally uneducated, opinionated and intolerant father.

5. Think for yourself. Stop trying to fit in, and start being you. Don’t be a sheep. Question the way you think, behave and believe right now. Explore where those beliefs came from and identify them as a positive or negative in your life. Don’t adopt someone else’s beliefs because you like that person, make those beliefs your own when you’ve questioned them, explored them, tested them and discovered them to be true.

6. Work hard to over-ride your default setting. Sometimes there’s a tendency for us to feel (yep, it’s an emotional thing) that our old, destructive beliefs are somehow more real than the new ones we’re trying to install into our hard-drive. Yes, it’s only a feeling but it can become a reality when we let it happen. If you’re like most people then you will have regular battles between emotional you – the one with the unhealthy emotional attachment to those old beliefs, behaviours and habits – and logical you – the one who understands what you can do and become and is prepared to do what’s necessary.

Replacing your old destructive beliefs with new empowering ones will be an on-going (life-long) process. This means being more aware and conscious of your beliefs and how they impact on you in the moment. Right now. Not in theory but in practice. Sometimes that will mean consciously over-riding an urge to conform to a pre-existing belief (way of thinking, doing, being, reacting, communicating), in order to create better results in your world. And as always, in order to create different, you need to do different.

Ciao x




Craig Harper (B.Ex.Sci.) is a qualified exercise scientist, author, columnist, radio presenter, television host, motivational speaker and university lecturer. For the past 25 years he has been a leading presenter, educator, motivator and commentator in the areas of personal and professional development. You can visit Craig’s blog at Motivational Speaker.

Part three.

Marriage – The other side of the coin

Marital problems have started contributing to stress in a very big way. Day in and day out we hear people succumbing to marital problems with the growing numbers of suicides among married people especially males. As per suicide statistics provided by National Crime Records Bureau, for the years 2005 and 2006, close to 52, 000 and 56, 000 married men committed suicide respectively. And the same years noted a splurge in the number of dowry harassment cases filed as reflected in the number of such cases filed – 58319 and 63128. Coupled with that, if a study conducted by Center for Social Research on the conviction rate of such cases is anything to go by, it shockingly reveals that there is only 2 % conviction in such cases. This means 98 % of such cases are false, and thus a false claim of dowry harassment was made.

Not only that, based on that false statement, the husband and his entire family was arrested, put behind bars, made to cough out huge amounts to get a bail and had no choice but to fight a legal battle in an otherwise defunct and dead judicial outreach and was also subjected to malicious prosecution. For the charge of dowry harassment being false, the concocted stories of alleged torture would also bear no ground. Having thus said, section 498A IPC, being heavily misused has actually turned out into an assassin’s weapon rather a protector’s shield as rightly pointed out by the Honorable Supreme Court of India. Instead of making families, it is breaking families, for any woman who has falsely implicated her husband and in – laws in a false criminal case has lost their trust and the marriage has been dead for all practical purposes.

A recent study in Mumbai claimed 40 % of marriages registered in Mumbai end in a divorce. And most of such cases involve filing of a false dowry case in order to get a quick divorce with a hefty alimony. Unscrupulous girls, supported by ill – minded parents, especially mother, pampered by a biased legal system who is highly de – sensitized to husbands (read married men) have found this as a very easy way to earn tax – free money. And to add to that all of those so called marriages have been performed on some auspicious date / time in consultation with some purohit / pundit etc.

When marriages could last so strongly for ages down the memory lane, and those too were conducted on some auspicious date / time in consultation with some purohit / pundit etc., what has changed so drastically in recent times that marriages have become a source of business opportunity for women and a source of ignominy and stress for men? Save Indian Family Foundation, the single largest NGO committed to the cause of spreading the message of Gender Equity and Family Harmony in addition to providing free legal, moral and psychological support to the victims of false dowry harassment and Domestic Violence cases, receives on an average of 200 calls a week over its various help lines spread all over India and abroad as well from battered and harassed men who are either victims of the misuse of these laws or are subjected to Domestic Violence at the hands of their wives.

Have we come of the time to consult a lawyer rather than a pundit or a purohit to decide a marital knot? Especially a male does need to do so before tying the knot. For if the marriage does not work (which is quite possible in today’s dynamic socio – economic scenario), he will have to bear the brunt of the fallacy. A false case lodged with the help of the corrupt police force, sleeping judiciary and mercenary lawyers robs the man of his health, wealth, life, career and happiness. Even with a low conviction rate, the mental trauma that the man and his family including his mother and sisters and his father and other relatives undergo cannot be described in words and is by no means less than actual conviction.

But does life end there? Is the end of marriage, the end of life? Perhaps yes, but probably no. Looking at the alarmingly high and surprisingly suppressed suicide statistics of married males as mentioned in the first paragraph, it is probably true that for married males, end of marriage is end of life. But seeing the spirits of a few thousand volunteers at Save Indian Family Foundation, reality shifts. Here people have not only gathered strength to fight against the system and stride against the tide, but have also developed high amount of positivity in their life and learned to remain happy despite a despicable and pathetic married life.

Marriage can definitely be the first step towards family foundation but cannot substitute life itself. Life is too big and diverse and there are many things to be done in life than to waste it in crying over the split milk called a bad marriage. Like the volunteers at Save Indian Family Foundation has taken cudgels against not only the biased laws and their faulty implementation but also against the mindset that a woman will not break away from a marriage without justifiable reason. This is a bitter truth which the society needs to know, imbibe and live with it, till the time it refuses to change itself.