Dozens of men have formed a men’s rights group that advocates curbing the almost-non-existent rights of women in India, by citing “abuse” by the fairer sex.
If this isn’t one of most supreme example of chauvinism, nothing is.
Apparently, these men also believe dunking themselves in the highly polluted Ganges River will help them get rid of “toxic feminity,” reported Indian news channel, News 18. So last week, that’s what around 150 of these men did. They packed their bags for a cross-country journey to the river, which they deem sacred, and hiked to Varanasi in the province of Uttar Pradesh, where part of the Ganges flows.
The men were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the organization, Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), which, as the name suggests, purports to save a man and his family. Yet, surprisingly (in fact, not so surprisingly, if you look at the misogynistic goals of the group), a man’s wife is not considered part of his family that needs to be saved, said founding member Rajesh Vakharia.
He believes all Indian laws are discriminatory against men, because, apparently, “There is an Animal Welfare Ministry, but there's no ministry for the protection of Indian men. Should men be treated worse than animals?”
Another activist, Amit Deschpande, who came up with the plan to dip husbands in the Ganges, asked “harassed” husbands to perform the last rites — “shraadha” — of their “marital relations” for their living wives who don’t cohabitate with them anymore. They also performed a “pishachini mukti puja” for their ex-wives to rid themselves of the “bad memory of past marital relationships.” According to these men, they have been “harassed” by their so-called abusive wives and “their peace of mind was taken away from them. The baggage of their marital relationship was tagging them,” Deshpande, who himself is a “happily married” man, said. “It had a cathartic effect on them.”
Deshpande said that they also cut the nose of Surpanakha, a lustful character in an Indian epic poem “Ramanaya,” whose nose was cut by another character, Lakshman.
“This is a sign to protest against female false rape accusers, they are not punished in this country. So this is our way to symbolically punish them,” the member said.
He also believes that by tying “rakhis” — an ornamental thread tied in a ritual — on men’s wrist, women force them to turn into their protectors. So the group is now sending out Rakhisto female ministers because they believe men need “protectors” too.
“Feminism in today’s form has deviated from its core values of equality and is trying to create a gynocentric society. This was our way to bring in balance,” he said.
Vakharia said 92,000 husbands commit suicide every year because of “mental torture” that results with fights with their wives. This is a very high number compared to the suicide of women, which stands at 24,000, he added.
The SIFF members believe Indian men have been fighting for their rights amidst the new wave of feminism that makes them feel it’s a “crime to be born as a man in India.”
This seems quite ironic, since India, like many developing countries, have very few pro-women laws. One of these laws include the “dowry law” of 1983 that protects low-income women, whose family cannot provide her with a lavish dowry, from her in-laws’ harassment, violence and abuse. This law was in fact the first and only criminal law that defended women from all kind of extreme women.
However, these men are trying to eliminate the legislation, stating “women who have ego” misuse it and file sexual harassment cases.
The male-centered group also counsel men whose wives file a criminal complaint against them and ensure the husbands don’t have to pay money to women who have only lived with them for a few days. Vakharia, who was detained for five days following a domestic abuse complaint by his wife, said his own negative marital experience pushed him to form the organization.
In more than a decade, the SIFF has opened 200 centers across India and has 4,000 volunteers. Meanwhile, the country women’s rights record remains arguably the worst in the world. A 2014 UNICEF report stated 42 percent girls in the country have been sexually abused. About 27 percent of girls under the age of 18 get married to men who are often times much older than them and violate them. Over 50 percent of Indian men believe women still deserve beatings. According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, one woman was killed every hour for not bringing enough dowry.
Yet, organizations like SIFF still believe the majority of the Indian women lead a privileged life. Nothing can be further from the truth.
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