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The beauty of "spacing" children many years apart lies in the fact that parents have time to learn the mistakes that were made with the older ones - which permits them to make exactly the opposite mistakes with the younger ones. ~Sydney J. Harris


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'Dads can mother' PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Pallavi Srivastava   

Pallavi Srivastava, TNN Jul 27, 2008, 12.15am IST

It's tough to find a Mrs Kramer in real life. Or so many Indian fathers, who want primary custody of their minor child, would say. These dads contest the general view that mothers are best suited for the caregiver's role, and want the law to be open about the fact that in many cases the father may be a better custodian.

"A man can also multitask between domestic work, business and taking care of the family," says Bangalore-based stockbroker Kumar Jahgirdar, who has been fighting for primary custody of his 13-year-old daughter for almost nine years now. "Giving a father visitation rights, like spending one hour a week in the park or meeting the child in the mother's presence, are not fair," he adds. While such views have already formed support groups of fathers on the Internet, Jahgirdar has gone a step ahead. Last month, he founded Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), an organisation that aims to "fight for a child's right to have access to both parents". Over 200 fathers are already said to have joined him.

Jahgirdar's initiative may strike a chord among many divorced fathers in India. "The courts are much more in favour of the mother," says Supreme Court lawyer Geeta Luthra. "But you cannot negate the father's role completely, especially in cases where the mother has gone abroad, or there are psychological reasons to be considered." The gender of the child is also often held significant by the court in granting custody of a female child to the mother. "But a girl child is safer with her father and a stepmother than with her mother and a stepfather," says Naveen (surname withheld on request), who counts himself "more fortunate than most". Naveen, who has had full custody of his 13-year-old daughter for three years now, believes his is a rare case. "I don't know any other single divorced father, whereas I know of many single mothers," he says.


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