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We Need Purush Ayog, But To Fight Patriarchy, Not Wives

#WEF Davos: Fourth industrial revolution and gender, Full Gender Equality

BJP MP Harinarayan Rajbhar has called for the formation of Purush Ayog (National Men’s Commission) to protect men from their wives. Rajbhar’s proposal stems from the revelation that numerous women are misusing Section 498A to harass their husbands. The low conviction rate under Section 498A, or popularly known as “anti-dowry” law, is indeed concerning. And it is necessary to protect men from false accusations, as much as it is to make sure that no woman ever gets mistreated by her in-laws and husband for dowry. However, this is where Rajbhar loses the plot.

Along with Rajbhar, another BJP MP, Anshul Verma, are of the opinion that the widespread “abuse” of Section 498A has scarred young men so much that now they are “scared” of marriage. As per an article in The Print, Verma has said, “It is why young men increasingly prefer live-in relationships these days. The law needs an amendment as law enforcement agencies are reluctant to verify the veracity of complaints and end up harassing husbands.”

He also said that false arrests in such cases have led to overcrowding of prisons. “People like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi are contesting their extraditions by citing these unlivable conditions brought on by overcrowding in prisons”.

Rajbhar, on the other hand, feels that wives mistreat their husbands, and hence we need a commission on lines of National Commission for Women for men too

https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1036484566515503105

Sure, Men need a Purush Ayog, but not to “protect” them from wives

Judging by the tweets in support of these two from men, it is evident that numerous men feel indeed threatened by their wives. It feels oddly satisfying to have such an impression on men, having spent our entire lives looking over the shoulder and forever being wary of hostility from men.

The drive for women’s empowerment has instilled a feeling of being at threat among men, since they are at risk of losing several privileges

SOME TAKEAWAYS-

  • Two BJP MPs have proposed formation of National Commission for Men or Purush Ayog, to protect men from their wives.
  • The two argue that numerous innocent men end up in jail as their wives use Section 498A to falsely accuse them under the “anti-dowry law”.
  • We agree that there are many men who suffer mistreatment at hands of their wives. But this Ayog shouldn’t become a witch hunt against women who strive for equality.
  • Eventually, both men and women share a common enemy – patriarchy. It is this enemy which we must join forces against, instead turning on each other.

Of course, it would be torturous for Indian husbands, if the wife refuses to treasure hunt stinky socks throughout the household. Or meekly tolerate the erratic behaviour of one’s mother-in-law and “complain” about it. Or demand that they seek their consent before sex every time. Of course they are afraid of marriages today, because the institute is now shedding its misogynist skin and evolving into a relationship, based on equality. It is just too much progress for Indian men, who are brought up believing in their superiority and entitlement.

I am not saying women don’t mistreat men. Some indeed do falsely cry dowry against their husbands just to settle scores or extort money from them. Their conduct doesn’t just harm the well-being of men, it makes people question women who are true victims of the dowry culture in our country. The fact remains that dowry is still a big menace in our society. We cannot scrap Section 498A unless this practice stops in our society altogether. Even if one woman faces violence or mistreatment due to dowry, then we need Section 498A to protect her.

So who is the real enemy here? Scheming wives, or patriarchal mindset which justifies dowry as a being a part of our traditions?

Which has given men the privilege of being called a superior gender. But with so many responsibilities that it breaks their spirit. If men look beyond this general idea that women are out to make their lives miserable, they will find that the root cause of all their grievances is patriarchy. It is patriarchy which crowns them as sole and prime earners in a family. It makes a compulsion for men to care for old parents, despite financial or personal difficulties. Men have to give up on dreams, marry as per society’s wishes and basically live a life based on ideals attested by patriarchy. All this is sugarcoated with privileges which men now feel they are losing due to our quest for an equal society.

All women are doing today is to reclaim their place in society. They want equal rights and the cost of which is a drastic change in gender equation in our society. Many men understand and hence stand by feminism. But a large chunk still feels threatened. But dear men, we are your allies and patriarchy is our common enemy. So a big yes to your welfare commission, but please don’t make it an anti-women/wives commission.

Also Read: Feminism Isn’t Trying To Create A Gynocentric Society

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.