Collateral Damage is what I begin to feel can best describe the situation for treatment of men in India, after watching a discussion by parliamentarians. The Indian parliament passed a bill that would amend the Hindu Marriage Law introducing new grounds of divorce under a situation described as “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.” Needless to say it is heavily loaded against men and is being passed on as “social justice.”
India had a hierarchical caste system, wherein the lower castes were denied certain opportunities, while the higher castes carried certain responsibilities and enjoyed liberties. In some ways, when the question of emancipation of the neglected came, it was found justifiable that sharing the limited resources by denying rights to one section and handing it over to another was social justice.
Later another form of social justice came up. This time with the baggage of a false notion of “patriarchy,” India was convinced that women have been deprived of rights and they need empowerment. Although, the definition of women remained, and even now remains only restricted to, being a wife. Any other role of woman in a household -mothers and sisters of a husband- does not evoke the same emotions due to some convoluted perception of a marital set-up by feminists and their backers.
Laws after laws are being created, which are being called pro-women, but in reality are only anti-men. When the flaws in these laws are highlighted the arguments usually end-up with mentioning of the historical disadvantage that women have had in India. Misandry like a hydra-headed monster rises in all of its forms. Somehow, it has become acceptable to unnecessarily punish the men of today to try to salvage the situation of women.
The men of my generation have begun to wonder if they are being used as fodder, so that the proponents of social justice could counter the sense of guilt in their hearts. Every politician we meet says he understands we are being discriminated against. Every person agreed that the law being framed for Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage was biased against men. Most tried to explain to us how the society in general is going through a transitional phase and ‘some’ men will suffer until equilibrium is attained. Never mind that they want to dismiss the facts about the ‘some’ men being a humungous number of 65000 married men committing suicide every year in India. The urge for the soothsayers to live in denial, makes them forget that the figure means every 7 minutes a married man commits suicide in India.
They can continue to become reason for someone’s death. But we refuse to become ‘Collateral Damage’ in their process of attaining self-satisfaction to achieve some irrational form of social justice. The Men’s rights movement in India is only getting stronger and it reflects in today’s discussion on the amendment to the marriage law in Rajya Sabha – the upper house of parliament. The discussion on this law has been another landmark for men’s rights in India, with many members from opposition regional political parties voicing the agenda of men’s rights in parliament which will go on record in the annals of history. The Law Minister had to misinform the house, at certain points to gain support, for e.g. he said the bill is gender neutral, when he knows it is not – a husband cannot oppose a petition filed by a wife, property(self-acquired before or after marriage, inherited and also inheritable) of only the husband is considered for division. The statements will be well documented in the records. History will judge that the people who brought this law were on the wrong side of justice.
The discussion has been storified here http://storify.com/antidespondent/irretrievable-breakdown-of-marriage-discussion-in
The only fear is the passage of this law, should not accelerate the numbers of suicides by men, who might feel there is no hope of help from the society. Thereby lies, the next challenge for the men’s rights activists in India, to continue reaching out to a populace of 500 million men.