There is ample amount of coverage happening about Tata’s Jaago Re campaign about PowerOf49, i.e., Power of 49% Indian women voters. Here I dissect the points in their manifesto, and then go onto explain why men who constitute the of 51% of voters have the real responsibility of saving Indian democracy from the same mistakes made in the West.
- Politicians must lead by example by displaying zero tolerance for perpetrators of domestic abuse and dowry in political parties
- Address the under representation of women in the parliament through increased representation in party ticket distribution as well as cabinet
- Make gender sensitisation for boys a compulsory part of the school curriculum from Std. V to XII in order to counter eve-teasing
- Increase percentage of women police personnel from current 5% to at least 33%
- Build a combined ‘front line army’ of government workers, NGOs, local health and sanitation workers with accredited social health activists
- Build 1 crore women toilets within a year with privacy and 24/7 access to water
- Provide mandatory creches and women-friendly maternity policies that include long-term leave-both rural and urban
- Incentivise schooling for girls by providing financial saving schemes and free transportation
- Install GPS on all buses, double the number of street lights and provide round-the-clock public transportation for women
- Provide complete medical, legal and psychological support to victims of domestic violence by instituting special family counselling centers in government buildings and policy centres
My rebuttal of the points in manifesto:
1. They mentioned the word dowry. Are they kidding? Dowry Act has been in force since 1961 and the number of people convicted under that is miniscule. One might as well say that if the law was there or not there, it wouldn’t have made any difference. It is a issue of social attitudes, and so called dowry is a way of wealth and property division in favour of daughters. Most women will refuse to marry unless they go to in-laws house with enough ‘dowry’ as per their family’s status. The most famous case of anti-dowry proved out to be a total hoax perpetrated by one Nisha Sharma who did it probably to hide from her already married status.
And Domestic Violence. Let’s not even get started here. According to various ‘studies’, 70% of Indian women face domestic violence, and if the same yardsticks of definition of domestic violence are applied to men, 100% of Indian men face domestic violence.
Or to put the argument in another way, if 70% of women face domestic violence, it can be safely said that the number of men inflicting domestic violence will be close to 70%. I mean if I am a wife beater, I can’t possibly enter into 10 of my neighbours’ homes and beat their wives too! So let’s ask all the powerful women whether in business, politics, arts, literature come out with the list of men in their lives who have been inflicting domestic violence on them! Let’s find the these cruel beasts of 70% men in judiciary, police, IAS, IPS, politics, MP/MLAs who are beating their women. It should be a pretty easy exercise. But everyone knows the reality, this domestic violence canard is just like that word dowry, everyone wants to shout about how evil it is, but it is never easily found even though it is termed to be an epidemic.
2. Women’s representation in parliament: Parties want candidates who can win. The simple fact is that parties will not give tickets to you and me unless you and I are somebody who can win the constituency for the party. It has nothing to do with gender. India has had women in most powerful positions for many number of years: Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi etc. Why did they not do something to increase women’s representation? Because it doesn’t make political sense, and every politician wants to safeguard his/her own position before venturing into idealism.
3. Gender sensitisation for boys in school. Good luck with that. These things are better done in families and boys and girls pick it up from their peers and authority figures. Schools are the places to distribute condoms to both boys/girls and morning after pills to girls, as is happening in Western countries now in the name of safe sex and preventing teenage pregnancies. I am glad they did not mention the words sex education, because for the same reason if educating boys/girls about sex could prevent unsafe/premature sex and teenage pregnancies, it would have happened by now in the West.
4. Increase women in police. And that can only happen if being in police is a good career option for either men or women. In the US, there are families with tradition of being in police, and they take pride in being cops. But with the kind of low salaries and unpredictable work hours, not to mention constant interference by politicians, being a cop is hardly considered a ‘career’ in India.
5. Front line army of government workers, NGOs, local health and sanitation workers. I am ok with health and sanitation workers. But everything else which has the name government in it (including NGO) is a no no. This is nothing but another name for domestic violence and divorce industry. I am against women NGOs because they are a hotbed of propagation of false DV complaints against men, and almost always they presume the guilt of men and the innocence of women (actually that’s the DV Act law too), the simple reason being that they are PAID to provide SERVICES to ‘domestically abused’ women. The more the number of women serviced, the more funds they get from government.
6. Build 1 crore women toilets within a year with privacy and 24/7 access to water. Fine idea! Though I am just little curious, will these WOMEN TOILETS be specially designed so that they can be used by women only? Or will men be barred from using these toilets, since they are after all men and can exercise their ‘male privilege’ and relieve themselves anywhere they want to, their need of privacy and dignity be damned!
7. Provide mandatory creches and women-friendly maternity policies. Let’s add men-friendly paternity policies to the demands by men. Women in India already have 3 months of maternity leave by law in India. As regards mandatory creches, while we support right of everyone to work, it smacks of attempts to move towards and glorify paid work outside the home as opposed to work of housewives (homemakers for the touchy/sensitive types). The same attempts in West were successful with the result that Western society looks down upon women who give higher priority to children and family than paid work outside the home. They want more ‘choices’ for women but if the women want to choose family over full-time career, that choice is considered demeaning to women.
8. Incentivise schooling for girls. There is nothing wrong with implementing this by area or by demographics for those girls who are being deprived of education compared to boys. But let’s not get carried away in the often repeated propaganda that girls are worse off than boys always. Refer to this news about how proposed quota for men in St Stephen college, Delhi was blocked even though the percentage of women students is now 65%, AND a 25% quota for women students was instituted in 1975.
9. Install GPS on all buses, double the number of street lights and provide round-the-clock public transportation for women. Again I will use same logic as made in point 6 about women’s toilets. All these points are related to providing necessary infrastructure for citizens which for whatever reasons be it corruption, implementation ineffectiveness, laziness has not happened in India so far. We need to create the necessary infrastructure for men, women, children, elderly and stop harping on these as a women’s only issue.
10. Provide complete medical, legal and psychological support to victims of domestic violence by instituting special family counselling centers in government buildings and policy centres. Same as I mentioned in point 5, this is nothing new and has been tried in ‘successfully’ to create a domestic violence and divorce industry in the West, where, for example, if a woman commits adultery, she on being found out files divorce on husband and takes his house, 70% of his income in name of alimony and child support; and proceeds to create the next generation of criminals which are raised in single mother homes. 70% of divorces filed in West are by women and the percentage is 85% in India. So you can very well imagine the result of these special family counselling centres for women, they will get counselled there on how to exercise their options to get a divorce and full child custody, and how to get maintenance and alimony from the husbands.
Picture: Is above the result of ‘domestic violence’ and ‘family counselling’ centres in the West?
Now that all the points in woman-ifesto have been rebutted, and a summary of my rebuttal is as follows:
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1. Most problems mentioned about women are not exactly women-only problems, but they have to do with poverty, lack of infrastructure, and societal attitudes.
2. Some of the points about women NGOs, domestic violence, family counselling etc are not very different from what happened in the West in the last 40 years where a whole women’s movement was hijacked and converted into rabid anti-men movement with the result that 50% of first marriages in West end in divorce, 75% of second marriages end in divorce, and men have been reduced to second class citizens where they die 6 years before women and only 38% enrolment in US colleges are of men; but they continue to harp on the ‘gender gap’ which always means gap against women, not against men!
Now let’s take a look at manifestos of various political parties:
I have highlighted the women’s issues with a blue rectangle above.
Nobody will say that women should be unsafe, even though many more men die in road accidents, suicides, murders, work related deaths; but men have been the historically disposable gender anyway so that does not merit a consideration by political parties yet.
Here is a quick analysis of the parties’ manifesto:
1. BJP: cash in on rape hysteria. BJP’s Sushma Swaraj is mostly heard in media about death penalty to rape victims, without first explaining to public even how many murderers or terrorists are given death penalty in the first place! And even to give death penalty, first you have to convict the accused but the acquittals are rising to 75% because of false rape cases.
2. Congress: The official anti-men political party of India, having passed IPC 498a in 1983, PWDVA or DV Act in 2005, and having pushed for and passed Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill for Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage (IrBM) in Rajya Sabha in 2014 which will allow wives to take property and alimony from husbands simply after separating from husbands for 3 years.
3. CPI(M): If you want to vote for CPI(M) as a married man, you might as well vote for your own castration. Their manifesto clearly states matrimonial property (just like in proposed IrBM law), and strengthening laws for maintenance for women and children which means bye bye to husbands, hello to divorce and alimony.
4. AAP: Law against sex-selective abortion is already there for many years. With AAP’s track record consisting more of conducting protests than governance, I am curious how they will enforce the law better than anyone else! About 33% reservation for women in parliament, let me just add that the proposal is against constitution because it allows women to elected from all seats, but doesn’t allow men to stand for election from women’s reserved seats. So that phrase 33% reservation is itself a huge misnomer.
That brings us to Samajwadi Party (SP), which is the only party to have specifically mentioned about misuse of rape and dowry laws.
“There is a large scale misuse of laws including anti-dowry, SC/ST (atrocities prevention) act and the new anti-rape law that came into existence after ‘Nirbhaya’ rape case…SP is in favour of implementing them strictly and at the same time will initiate strict action against those misusing them,” the party’s manifesto said, adding that the laws are currently being misused without elaborating how.
Samajwadi party may not be popular all over India, but it is a welcome step that for the first time in India, a political party has recognized the misuse and abuse of laws and specifically 2 of these laws are to do with men’s rights violations – IPC 498a (dowry harassment), and IPC 376 (rape).
How should men vote?
What is easier to decide is who not to vote for if you want to support men’s rights. Congress and CPI(M) are a definite no no for the reasons mentioned earlier. From their actions and utterances it is clear they are driven by a feminist agenda and will not stop to make Indian men as second class citizens. AAP is the new kid on the block and if you are AAP supporter, I can only wish good luck because many of their utterances in media can’t be fulfilled without stricter implementation (read violation of men’s rights) of women protection laws.
From the manifesto and previous track records, BJP may be the least worst party in the national parties, since they haven’t passed any bill like DV Act during their rule; though they have supported 33% women’s reservation( even if not in this manifesto), and have supported passage of IrBM even though they were not the main backers unlike Congress. They may not end up passing new laws against men, though I doubt they are unduly worried to stop misuse of existing laws wither.
SP is the only one which has shown some nerve and proclaimed in manifesto about protecting men from false cases, and they had earlier expressed reservations against 33% women’s reservation in parliament.
When women vote, they vote for more welfare, more subsidies for single mothers (ok in the West but who are we kidding that India will be different?), and more laws to kick men out of family life but retain their house and alimony. Don’t be shocked, it happened in the West, and I don’t believe for one moment that the notion of great Indian family system will survive once the incentives to easy divorce and enrichment from divorces are put in place.
When men vote, they vote for betterment of whole society, for women and children (they are hardwired for that), and betterment of civilization. Men have built the civilization from living like apes to what it is today. And it is their duty to make sure we don’t go back to living like apes again!