Indian Men’s Rights NGOs is organizing the 5th Annual National Men’s Rights meet at Nagpur, Central India, August 16-18, 2013. More than 100 prominent male and female Men’s Human Rights Activists representing 40,000 activists from across India are expected to converge at a resort in Pench National Park, 50 miles outside Nagpur to attend the event.
The first National Meet was held at the western sea side beach resort of Goa in 2008. These were followed by National Meets held at Hill Stations Shimla in Himalayas and Yercaud in South India. The last National Meet was held at a resort a few miles outside the historic city of Kolkata in the east. There was no National Meet In 2012.
Images from previous Men’s Rights National Meets: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41332575@N02/ )
“The choice of the dates August 16-18 is no coincidence”, says Rajesh Vakharia of NGO Save Indian Family Foundation in Nagpur, who is organizing the meet. “India became independent on August 15, 1947 after M.K. Gandhi carried out decades of non-violent struggle.” Rajesh says, “Since last couple of years, we have stopped celebrating India’s Independence Day and instead we conduct a National Meet because we do not think men have freedom or democratic rights in India. So, we are fighting for our independence and freedom from Government and feminist atrocities which are perpetrated through gender biased laws and an anti-male judiciary.”
Famous Men’s Activist Virag Dhulia writes, “Men do not have freedom of choices and choice of freedom. Hence, for men, the Independence Day is meaningless. Until and unless men are freed from the tyranny of manhood, false patriarchy and stereotypical notions of gender, it’s a mere customary practice to observe Independence Day.” (link: http://www.merinews.com/article/mens-rights-activists-say-no-to-independence-day-celebrations/15888931.shml )
This National Meet is held at a very difficult time for Indian Men. The bill amending divorce laws to give a husband’s property to his wife upon divorce is getting listed in parliament’s upper house every single day as I write this article. Our activists are sending thousands of emails and text messages to Parliament Members urging them not to pass this bill.
Another set of activists are meeting Parliament Members. Yesterday, they had an opportunity to get inside the parliament and had a 30 minute meeting with the main opposition party leaders. If this law is passed, then a woman who chooses to divorce her husband will walk away with a part of his property acquired before or after marriage and also a part of his inherited or inheritable property. A man can not oppose her divorce petition and he will not have any claim to property that she owns during marriage. We are afraid that given the anti-male nature of Indian judiciary, many men may end up losing all their property to his wife and to legal fees.
Today about a dozen protesting activists were arrested outside the residence of Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and president of the Congress Party at New Delhi. They were eventually released. India is only 6 months away from National Elections. The ruling party is desperately trying to pass this bill before its tenure ends. The opinion polls suggest the ruling coalition will lose badly in elections in 2014, though no other coalition may also get complete majority in lower house of parliament. The majority party or coalition in lower house forms Govt and elects Prime Minister.
International Men’s Rights Activists can get the details about the this National Meet through facebook, twitter and some of you may be able to connect to activists via Skype, provided the wireless internet inside the National Park performs reliably.