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Most of us become parents long before we have stopped being children. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


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Divorce breaks fathers too? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Press Trust of India   

Bangalore: Thirty five-year-old Tarun gently caresses a pink teddy bear he has been carrying the toy along for past many days in the hope of presenting it to his little daughter if he is luckyto bump into her by chance or see her during one of the scheduled meetings.

Tarun is one of the scores of fathers who are fighting for the joint custody of their children. Tears well up in his eyes every time he glances at the toy or the picture of his daughter, who stays with her mother after the parents got divorced.

“The anguish of a father cannot be expressed and it is no less than a woman going through a similar separation,” says Kumar Jagirdar, one of the co-founders of Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP). CRISP launched on the Father’s Day, June 14 this year, was founded following a growing demand by separated parents, especially fathers, wanting to obtain custody of their child and hoping that the legal system was sensitised to the fact that fathers were equally capable of looking after a child.

“Indian legal system is still based on patriarchal mindset which considers fathers as not capable of nurturing children. When women can multitask it is baseless to say that men cannot take care of children,”, says Anil Kumar, member of the NGO.

The earlier policy makers, largely belonged to a generation of men who could neither identify themselves with child care nor emotionally connect to the child and assumed a disciplinarian role. The approach was patriarchal”, he says.

The same patriarchal approach appears to be reflected in the Indian legal system that favours women when it comes to handing over the custody of children, Kumar says.


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