In March 2021, Vishnu Tiwari, a 43y old man, walked on the streets of his village after 20 long years of seclusion. Not because he was working in some flamboyant land and has returned to his Swadesh, but he was framed under a gruesome charge of false rape case added with SC/ST act. A case that never got proved in the higher court; led him to live in hell for 20 years. And his only fault was that no rules in the Indian constitution show light to the freedom of men even if they are falsely accused. Unfortunately, Vishnu’s case is not an aberration. As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, about 74% of cases under Section 376 of IPC are false and filed to frame men on false accusations.
Gender inequality is at the spur, and, for ages. The debate on control and authorisation continued without knowing why to seek empowerment when it is a default affiliate of everyone living in a society.
The brief from the Ancient Times
When people learned to live in a society, and the relationship between men and women expanded to create a family, intelligence assigned them separate jobs. When going out to hunt food, required a lot of physical strength, and staying at home to sustain the family, required mental balance–males became the family’s beacon to acquire food and give protection, while women became the artisans of domestic necessities. Nature’s laws required women to regulate family demands and care for saplings of their affection. Men reconnoitred territories in the pursuit of a better life, while women cared for every penny earned to balance the two lives.
Inventions and gained knowledge were to be transferred to the next generations to ensure the liberation and growth of the family. Albeit, the men were the bread earners and doors of skills learning opened for them first, the civilisation balanced the knowledge among the dwellers. The women of yore had partnered with their male counterparts in knowledge and skills. When Adi Shankaracharya had a debate on critical philosophies with his friend Mandan Misra, Mandan’s wife Ubhaya Bharti judged their debate. When the religious movements were at their epitome, several female poets, like Akka Mahadevi, sang odes to their beloved deities.
The growing necessities necessitated leaving parent territories in search of better living conditions and sources of increased income. This responsibility came to men. They started leaving their families and voyaged across different parts of the world searching for a better life and wealth. This quest for upgrading and fighting for survival soon became the greed of beings to continue exploring the untouched lands. The greed continued propelling men to move farther. As one group of these men invaded other lands, a different set of men invaded their lands—sometimes for vengeance, sometimes to govern. Whatever remained the cause, the sufferers were the group left unattended—mostly women and children. The invaders continued their spree of plundering, leaving behind a large group of marauded, raided, and molested people—once again most sufferers were women.
The continual expeditions and power thirst opened the doors to several unknown calamities. The cacophony of greed and power began to drown out the cries, howls, and melancholy of the weak. Hopelessness began to prevail among the victims, ushering in the era of gloom. Before it could learn to balance itself, society went on a voyage of imbalance and ignorance.
The wealthy and powerful make use of existing knowledge. Bards, poets, and novelists were commissioned to compose and sing their praises. The writing brimmed with eulogies and depictions of manliness. This maleness was widely and repeatedly associated with aggression, competitiveness, rage, strength, perseverance, analytical reasoning, confidence, and intelligence. In contrast, femininity got associated with emotions, complaints, weakness, and submissiveness. When kings murdered tigers to save the life of a beautiful princess, bards created thousands of stories. The protagonists of such stories remained men, and the females danced to the tune of their male heroes.
Consecutively, the picture of maleness transpired from eulogies to the literature, and future writers started taking references from the writings of yore. Their literature continued to extol the charming and suave protagonist that holds all freedom to enchant any girl of the kingdom. The rage of the hero of the story began to raise the egos of commoners. Contrarily, the objectified female leads remained in the stories as mistresses with common archetypes such as virginity as a sign of purity, remaining submissive even to violent men, being emotionally stuck in bourgeois society, and striving to be beautiful.
The denizens saw the reflections of these larger-than-life characters in their smaller mirrors but were unable to differentiate the wrong from the right. This portrayal of males as sole breadwinners, dream fulfillers, achievers, and authoritative and domineering imposed pressure on men and barred them from expressing a wide range of emotions. These stronger emotions were passed on from generation to generation, causing the younger generation to lose empathy for the pain of others. Getting emotional and crying became a hallmark of femininity, whereas exacting retribution became manly.
The brief from the Contemporary Times
The emotional void continued to grow, resulting in gender disparity. Weaker succumbed to the whims of the dominant, while the oppressed remained deprived of necessities. Nobody noticed that the acquiescence was cementing the grooves and separating the people from civil rights. Survival became difficult, and a few prominent men began to see masculinity as patriarchy. Autocracy defined societal policies, attitudes, and values. The caretakers of society regulated majority beliefs while suppressing opposing viewpoints. The societal equilibrium was unbalanced, and the flow of power channeled towards the group having more physical strength and skills – often cunningness started decaying the intelligence.
A woman with the power to control the axis of life started believing in subordination to patriarchy. She, as a mother, demanded her sons to be manly and pivotal of patriarchy, while she, as a daughter, became the victim of the same.
It took centuries to realize the mistake and wrongs done by the policymakers. They influenced people living in the same land for their benefit to remain in power. It took several years for the new dawn to break when half population of the world unitedly demanded gender equality and parity laws. The civilization realized the need for change and hunted for opportunities. People became vociferous about equality, and the policymakers revised the constitution, to include special provisions for women’s rights.
The judiciary and policy owners realized that women have equal rights in thinking, competing, participating, and leading. The constitution amended and added several articles to ensure the upliftment of women. The corporate houses joined the wagon, ensuring the equal participation of all genders in all positions. It has resulted in women reaching higher positions and surpassing their male counterparts at several levels.
To combat the crimes against women, numerous sections in the Indian Penal Code were added, allowing women to come forward and speak about wrongs done to them. Medical counselors and associations collaborated with government programs aimed at improving women’s health. For women’s health, old taboos have become the norm. The education awareness programs for young girls prevented early school dropouts. Much is being done, and much more is required, to guarantee that these policies and programs are properly implemented for a brighter and balanced tomorrow.
Who is the victim now
Change comes with the threat of transfer of power. And history has witnessed how the lust for power destroyed several civilisations. At present, when a large group is beholding the progression and walking on the road to success, another larger group has started observing the heat of misuse of powers. Comparatively, it is just the start of power equilibrium, but the number of false allegations and forceful incarcerations has increased multi-folds in recent times. To judge the authenticity of the hypothesis, this article has covered the responses from men working in different domains and capacities, and the later part of this article will have a few citations.
The powerful Laws in IPC to protect the rights of women have increased the threat of false accusations. The laws aren’t gender neutral, and most of the time, the course of action moves towards women. These unclear definitions set the tone against men. The unwanted media trials and social media attention make the case for men weaker even before the actual courtroom trial starts. Police meant to act neutral in these cases tend to follow the sentiments of the general masses.
The historical wrongs done by the advocates of patriarchy and their emotional negligence sprouted the default anger towards the males. This default definition is so deeply engraved in the roots of current society that, in the blink of an eye, people pass the verdict against males. The grave intentions behind the allegations, even false, are never judged—nobody pays attention to them. An engineer working in Bangalore finds it fears consequences as there is no support from society. He says that men mostly fear speaking against the wrongs that happened to them as they lack the support of their peers. “There is always a soft corner of females because people judge men from the historical wrongs. Even judiciary and lawmakers have biased opinions,” adds a social activist from Delhi.
Our society is a giant pool of judgemental people that behold others through biased lenses. An officer in Indian Air Force jokes, “This mess is our own. A man runs to wipe the tears of a woman till she isn’t his wife. And woman feels every other man is monster till he isn’t her brother or father.”
This thought of witnessing people critically is seconded by a famous architect working in Chandigarh when he observes that the men are treated irrationally. “Irrespective of the position they hold, they easily get tagged as perpetrators,” he remarks. “But haven’t men only begotten this situation?” questions an Indian Army Major, “Men always have been at the helm of affairs, and for ages, they have molded the society as they desired, so why this finger pointing now?” However, this question loses its relevance when a large portion of men start becoming victims of false allegations.
Domestic violence, the violation of consent, stalking, and adultery, are, by default, considered unlawful crimes committed by males. By large, the sufferers of these heinous acts are women. But no provision in the judiciary observes these crimes otherwise. Therefore, police and lawyers also get perplexed when the victims in these cases are men. “Try saying ‘Man’ is subjected to domestic violence. Watch how many will believe! They will mock you. It is the bitter truth!” remarks a campaigner for men’s rights in Bengaluru.
Most issues develop when one decides to use protective laws to gain an advantage. Not everything is binary. “A few women taking advantage of laws, particularly Section 498A, is common and growing more widespread,” a lawyer adds. The remark gets cemented when a disgruntled male victim of a similar instance from Delhi says, “Men’s rights are a myth. When even the female family members of a trapped man are not spared, these rules become draconian.” Ironically, the laws intended to protect women sometimes kill other women.
A senior executive from Hyderabad points having no clarity on men’s rights obscures the existence of the fundamental system of co-existence. “I embrace women coming forward and working together, but not at the cost of staking my dignity,” he adds with conviction. The government and corporate programs on women upliftment bring imbalance when recruitment becomes gender centric. An interviewer in an IT giant mentions that they are always extra vigilant while shortlisting candidates. Often, the recommendation comes to select candidates from specific gender which makes selection difficult, and the real talent suffers. “Not only hiring, but it also impacts promotions and appraisals. I fully support equality but bringing nepotism and bosses showing extra support for few employees, create the differences,” adds a marketing Guru from Bengaluru.
Gender inequality needs debate. Gender bias needs eradication. The perception that “men don’t cry” should be challenged. Men’s tears matter too. Feminism, in the past, did the mistake considering each man as an equally powerful patriarch. The belief trapped them in the social dogmas. At present, the count of women with similar thoughts hasn’t decreased. Women shouldn’t use the laws for their vendetta. The false allegations about one man destroy the entire generation. It can’t be women’s empowerment when empowered women always give a different definition of empowerment.
The article hopes to kindle few questions and help finding answers soon
- Are men facing brutal laws because of their deeds in the past where they never paid heed to women’s rights?
- Is this another political gimmick or left-right-wing agenda?
- Who is feeding these incorrigible views in the brains of influential women that they start thinking radically in most cases?
- Were men only responsible for the wrongs done against women in the past?
- Are historic wrongs against women acting against men now resulting in more biased laws?
- Aren’t men being abused, in the name of responsibilities, and everyone thinks that is normal?
#MeToo is important, and so is #MenToo