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‘Bride burning is a hoax... PDF Print E-mail
(0 Votes)
Written by Francis Steven   

...and Slut Walks smack of intellectual bankruptcy,’ claims Anil Kumar, founder of men’s rights organisation SIFF

From Slut Walks to The Dowry Prohibition Act, Bangalorebased men’s rights organisation Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) is taking issues head on. Leading the fight is SIFF’s founder and president Anil Kumar. The 39-year-old entrepreneur and former techie is largely responsible for making SIFF one of the leading men’s rights organisations in the country.
Fresh from attending the Fourth Annual Men’s Rights National Conference held on August 15 in Kolkata, Anil spoke to Bangalore Mirror on all things male and female. Excerpts from the interview:

What were the main demands of Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) that were tabled at the conference in Kolkata?

We MRAs want a domestic violence law for men. The present law — The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 — covers only women in the reproductive age. It does not cover men, aged women and homosexuals. It also excludes violence by women on men. A civil domestic violence law is the only way to prevent violence against women. We also want Indian courts to look into the tenure of marriage while deciding on alimony. It is unfair that a woman married for six months gets the same amount of alimony as a woman married for 20 years. This has become a huge incentive for newly married women to file for divorce. Why should a woman who divorces after six months of marriage get alimony of Rs 25,000 per month for the rest of her life? Even a retired judge does not get that kind of pension. We want limited duration alimony, similar to what is awarded in US courts. We also want courts to dismiss all alimony petitions if the couple does not have kids.

How do you counter allegations by women’s groups that people like you are anti-women?

We are anti-women? There are enough women fighting on our side. Over the last five years, about 1.63 lakh women have been jailed thanks to feminists misusing dowry laws and the Domestic Violence Act. Even President Pratibha Patil has acknowledged that dowry laws are being misused after an incident involving her nephew. The joke is this: Feminist leaders are secretly seeking our help because their daughtersin-law are filing false cases against them. The truth is, when men face discrimination, women also suffer and vice-versa. Injustice to men cannot ensure justice to women. Our sister organisations include women’s organisations like All India Mother-in-law Protection Forum and Mothers and Sisters Initiative.

Your views on gender war...

Gender war is a US phenomenon. Stop it there and it will stop everywhere. Feminism is not about equality. It’s a zero sum game. American women are more unhappy today compared to the 1950s because of feminism. Feminism is a dead end. Slut Walks are the result of the intellectual bankruptcy of feminists. It is their last penny. I have nothing against such walks. But I can’t help noticing that feminists have been dealing with the same problems over the last 40 years. They have not solved their problems. There are better ways to solve problems than having Slut Walks. If we understand males, there is a better chance of finding solutions. We will offer unconditional support to any feminist who is for gender equality. But we will vehemently oppose feminists who positively discriminate against men. Just like male chauvinists, there are female chauvinists.

What is your take on increasing instances of sexual crimes against women?

As an organisation, SIFF does not specialise in this area. We specialise only in family dynamics. Such crimes are a complex phenomenon. Maybe there is an increase in such crimes because of increased reporting. It’s our theory that the more protective a society is, the greater the chance of crime against women. Eve-teasers are extremely protective of women in their families. All male chauvinists are more interested in protecting women than the women are themselves. For instance, Haryana men are very protective of their women. And some of the most gruesome crimes against women are reported from that state. It’s also our theory that chivalry is a reproductive behaviour. But we need more studies to test our theories. We are for more studies on men in universities. Only when we understand men well can we come up with solutions to such problems. I do agree that men carry out more crimes against women than women on men. But that’s because society has always assigned violent roles like soldiering to men. After the Pratibha murder case in Bangalore in 2005, male employees became the first to be picked up and last to be dropped by office cabs. In effect it means, these males are unpaid bodyguards. Why do you assign such roles only to men? Why do movies show mostly men taking bullets? Society has been desensitised to violence against men.

On suicides by married men…

Married men are dying three times more than married women. And society trivialises men’s suicides. When a woman commits suicide it is assumed to be a dowry death. When a man commits suicide it is treated as an accident. Man’s life has become cheap.

On bride-burning...

Bride burning is a hoax. There is no official data on bride-burning deaths. The UNICEF said there were 25,000 such deaths in India every year without conducting a study on its own. Bangalore was dubbed as the brideburning capital of India. Recently, India was reported to be the fourth most dangerous country for women. All such media reports are the work of vested interests. I’m not denying bride burning deaths, but actual numbers could be less.

Is this activism for men’s rights an urban phenomenon involving well-to-do men?

The movement started with well-todo men. The movement in Bangalore comprises mostly well-to-do men. But men’s organisations in Nagpur and Lucknow do not have rich males. The fact is, educated men can be healed quickly. Poor men may take a long time to heal or may not heal at all.

SEEKING FREEDOM

MORE THAN 100 MRAs attended the Fourth Annual Men’s Rights National Conference on August 15 in Kolkata. These men were representing nearly 50,000 MRAs across India. Some of their important demands were domestic violence act for men and award of alimony based on tenure of marriage. The conference is always held on August 15 to highlight that MRAs “have no enthusiasm to celebrate… Independence Day as they no longer feel any sense of freedom inside India’s biased justice system.” As a protest, some men avoid taking sweets or sugar in their tea/coffee on that day.

 



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