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Jan 21 2013

Age of Kali – Misandry in India from A Voice for Men

Well as you know A Voice for Men wanted to tell us about how India really isn’t all that bad for women.

They want to tell the hidden stories, because clearly India is not a terrible place for women despite all that you hear about gender selective abortion, bride burnings, caste systems, dowry and rape. No no no!

Amit has come to tell us what we got wrong.

I learned about A Voice for Men calling for someone to write about men’s issues in India. I decided to focus on Misandry, as in India it runs deep in the ancient culture of this land.

Misandry runs deep in India.

But not as deep is the misogyny. For Fuck’s sake Amit! India is one of the few countries in the world where there are more men than women because of foetal and infant deaths (Girls are aborted, killed or straight up denied proper food and healthcare increasing mortality). Women in India often don’t live as long as men in India and women are straight up less educated and less free. It’s a society that keeps women down. If you think otherwise then you are straight up delusional.

Most of contemporary India’s history originates from the story of King Shantanu from the epic Mahābhārata. The period is approximated at over 5000 years ago. King Shantanu married a beautiful woman, only after he agreed to her condition that he would never question any of her actions. Per the promise given he couldn’t question her, even when she killed 7 of their newborns one after the other. He tried to question her on the attempt to kill the eighth child and she left him for breaking his promise. The epic tries to justify her actions, but never bothers to think of the abuse of Shantanu, the man, as a father or as a husband. This follows even now. Indians are never made to think about the anguish in a man’s mind.

Oh really?

India is a massive country. 1.2 Billion Human Beings = The same as Africa. To claim Raja Shantanu as the source of contemporary India is just plain silly since India was a lot bigger than the events in the Mahabaratha claim to have suggested. Also it’s a story where fighting at night empowers the son of a hero due to his magic powers… It’s NOT modern India so much as a “pretty good story”.

And the story dates back 3000 years. It’s older than the Bible and the Koran and yes it is older than the freaking Odyssey. It’s an old school epic filled with sex, drugs and violence and larger than life achievements. It is however NOT 5000 years old.

It is also an excellent moral study because the Mahabaratha contains one of the most important books in Hinduism which is the Gita which was a philosophical discourse into the nature of duty. It was the FIRST non-dogmatic religious code we know off because it analysed “duty” and action as more important than ascetic values or prayer or ritual bound thinking. It also is one of the first stories based on butterfly effects where small actions have major repercussions. It’s a phenomenal yarn too, just not appropriate for the modern child because the values have to be taken into context. Little decisions caused the tragedy. The entire point of the book is to make you think. It is not canon it is a primer to enlightenment by debate and by analysis of the different forms of morality. In addition?

Want to know something fucking bizarre? The entire book shares MASSIVE Similarities to a lot of Greek Stories and Vice Versa. It may be that either Greeks took stories from it  or vice versa. Or it may have to do with Aryan culture and it’s influence. Who knows but it’s kind of cool to go “Fuck a duck! That’s the story of Hercules! Except with more fantastic moustaches”

The story is as follows….

King Shantanu was the Kuru King of Hastinapura, and he met a beautiful woman on the side of the River Ganga (Ganges), enthralled by her rapturous beauty he asked for her hand in marriage (This is India, the trope of “One Love is Strong”), there were tasks to prove his devotion to her and he was the proper prince charming. That’s not important to this conversation.

When she agreed to marry him she set a condition, to never question her. She had seven sons, each of whom were drowned in the River Ganges.

At the eighth Shantanu stopped her, he wanted to know why she did that.

The woman replied that she was the River Ganges and that the eight children born were demigods who were cursed by sages to take mortal form (You can totally tell god to fuck off in Hinduism) but in mortal form they were doomed to  terrible life. To save them the pain of humanity she killed them because as a fellow celestial (yes we live in a hell!) she recognised the suffering they were to face. However the ringleader of these criminal demigods was to live a full life in this reality in punishment for his sins.

She wasn’t some random woman she was one of the most holy symbols of Hinduism. This was a man who stood up to a freaking river god and she didn’t drown his stupid face and this is a book where people get torn in half in wrestling matches. She instead gave him a son. The last son is called Devarata. She took the child away to live under the river he was taught both by the Deva and Asura (Angels and Demons) and he was the reincarnation of the ringleader of the criminal demigods.

The curse was that he was to live as a man but he would succeed in being one of the finest men on the planet.

It’s just that Devarata took finest to a different attitude to what it meant to a normal Hindu. Devarata shows us the folly of selflessness without common sense. It is in this tiny flap of a butterfly’s wing that the entire horror show that is the Mahabaratha comes to pass. The entire theme of the book is that your actions need to be considered on effect as well as on intention. That good can come out of evil actions and evil from good actions.

But back to the story? If you recall correctly a mere man managed to stop a goddess from doing what she wanted because he was “her husband”. The justification was “stupid”, but in retrospect you can argue within the context of the Mahabaratha that the fault lay in Ganga for not drowning Devarata (If you guys are nice, I will tell you the story of the Mahabaratha or run some sort of contest where I get a copy in English for you to read).

Starting from the concept of “Mother Nature” as elsewhere in many cultures, we also have terms like Mother Tongue and Motherland. Protectionism is bought easily by attributing the term ‘Mother’ to all things ephemeral. The role of protector is such a deep-rooted attitude for men that there is a ‘Protector Day’ celebrated every year in India. It is described as a bond between a brother and a sister, where the sister ties a decorated string around her brother and he vows to protect her, come what may, even if he has to do it with his life. The festival is called as Raksha Bandhan and the string is called Rakhee.

There is a saying in Sanskrit. Mother, Father, Teacher, God. It’s the order in which you are supposed to value the people in your life. Oh yes, god is last on that list.

Raksha Bandhan is a festival where your sister, female cousins or female friends  tie holy string around your wrist to indicate you carry her blessings and to affirm that you will protect her as a man. It was a practice in North Indian Kshatriyas and is akin to the practice of favours in western chivalric tournaments. Instead you ride on behalf of your family.

Traditionally women weren’t trained to fight so had to rely on men to be “protectors”. Which is why the ceremony exists. BUT it is not mean the same things that it used to mean. The ones tied around my wrist don’t mean that I have to beat every idiot who harasses a woman who tied the band around my hand. It’s a ceremony that dates back to the time when you had to punch other kshatriya or kill Mughals.

It’s in spirit, there is no actual repercussion for not honouring the protective bond and it’s often treated as sort of reverse Valentine’s day in some groups (Why wouldn’t a female associate not tie a Rakhi around your hand? HMMM??? OOOH! Scandalous).

The tradition itself took root in the northern part of India which saw the ‘Red Age’ of constant invasions, wars and killings. The more dangerous the region, more is the need of protectors. So the Indian culture dressed the lives of men in the garb of veneration and glory as protectors.

Actually the tradition of Rakhi becoming popular dates back to Humayun and the Mughals not the Red Age of India. It is believe to be popularised by Rajputana culture which is treated a lot like Samurai culture. Because they are the same (Strict Chivalry, Honour, Glorious Suicide, Art, Beautiful Death all the stuff that makes Samurai so romantic) type of culture and people sought to emulate them.

It’s not the garb of veneration and glory it’s ACTUAL veneration and glory. As a Rajasthani boy you get to go to school, as a Rajasthani girl you may get to suffer an unfortunate well related accident.

It is no wonder that the same society which over-protected women and exploited men, is now crying hoarse over women not preferring to venture out as providers. This attribution of women’s reluctance to take up riskier tasks, is again being put forth as men’s responsibility and patriarchy.

Overprotected women?

Amit mate, you really need to open your eyes. Women in India have little to no protections afforded to them. The current anti-rape stuff is a relatively new thing and caused by the assault on a STUDENT. One of the most politically active groups of people on a liberal standpoint are the youth of any country and so they got “fucking pissed”. When they got pissed their mums got pissed and took to the street. Basically? Delhi had enough of the way women were treated and decided to solve their problems the way Indians know how.

Mass Civil Disobedience.

Women weren’t protected, they were kept in cages. It doesn’t matter if the cage is gold it’s still a cage. I can show you Saudi women who live in palaces but they can never leave. Women are taking up riskier jobs but at a slower pace because men often prevent them from doing the job.

My mother was prevented from going into mathematics because she was “A Girl”, My mother LIED to her dad about her speciality until she qualified because then he couldn’t do anything about it. She said she was studying Obs/Gynae when in reality she would be in Surgery. To fool him she would read Obs/ Gynae at home and read surgery at her friend’s house or at the ward.  Many surgeons REFUSED to teach her because she was a woman. She had to work so hard that her two pieces of advice for me were “Don’t Be A Doctor” and “Don’t Take Surgery”. The thing she is best at she became best at in spite of men holding her down. People straight up would IGNORE her in the room. Do you grasp how bat shit insane that is? And that’s medicine where everyone is educated and smart or even engineering. Imagine how bad it used to be in other jobs. India has come a long way since then and in some places is beating western nations (India sends more female engineers to the USA than local engineer education produces because India has a 50:50 gender split in engineering. Because Maths is hard).

You think they are over protected? What a joke, they aren’t protected at all, they were prisoners. It’s getting better but it needs to go a lot more before you can call what they get “protection”.

In modern day India, all things developmental are considered due to encouraged participation of women in public life and all things bad and lethargic are due to patriarchy and the attitude of men. For feminists in India, “Patriarchy” is considered to be a virtue worth jettisoning, without giving up the women’s privileges that come with it. Indian feminism is caught up largely in the 1980s with help of increased funding from the West. There were a slew of laws created which haunt the Indian men to this date.

No. Many things bad and detrimental are due to the caste system but I am going to let you finish…

The first weapon feminists used, was a woman’s share in her paternal property, termed as “dowry”. India saw an increased reportage of bride-burning and dowry harassment cases in media. The cry was made shrill enough to drown any sane voice, if ever there was any. An anti-dowry harassment law, Section 498a of the IPC was created in 1983 which is draconian and most misused. It gives a woman complete power to get anyone from her husbands family to be arrested. Then came the Dowry death law –Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code. It considers any unnatural death of a woman within 7 years of marriage as dowry death – meaning it assumes the husband and his relatives as guilty for her death and they are put behind bars immediately. There have been many other anti-men laws that have come up regularly.

What’s that? I can’t hear your movement over the sound of all the bullshit it’s supporting.

Because bride burning and dowry harassment are a fact of life. And what voice is that? The law states that women are now eligible to inherit property. Thus making the “rationale” behind dowry perfectly fucking pointless. The fact you just defended dowry alone makes you a horrible person as is the movement you are part of. Not one person seems to have said “Amit supports a practice that is harmful to women”.

Also? In India the traditional method of giving women their inheritance is via their gold jewellery. Rather than “Cars and Motorcycles and Houses” like the modern Dowry market.

A dowry is a bride price or the price a family pays to the husband to get their daughter married off. Often the women has little to no say in the matter on who she marries and indeed women often find that they have to pay massive dowries since in effect they are purchasing a husband. I have seen millions of rupees spent on “husbands”. It’s not a small amount of money.

It’s a simple way of seeing it, go see any Indian matrimonial site and be prepared to be amazed at how women and men are sold to each other. Oh yes there is EVEN a caste/community method of searching.

The Anti-Dowry law is one of the LEAST used of all laws. It doesn’t give women the power to get men arrested, it gives them the power to arrest men who ask for a dowry. The important point is “must demonstrate that the man asked for a dowry”. Not “Any Man”.

Any unnatural death of a woman in the first 7 years of marriage is INVESTIGATED as dowry death. If the causes of the death were directly linked to or indirectly linked to bullying or harassment of the woman then it is treated as a dowry death (Yes suicide due to bullying is considered as a Dowry Death). If the woman gets run over by a car or bitten by a snake then chances are the husband and the relatives aren’t guilty of a dowry death.

Amit here simply doesn’t understand the law or even how it works. There has to be a sensible reason for the law to be used. All “unnatural” deaths are subject to inquests and those that turn up “Dowry” and “Bullying” as a cause are treated LIKE murder.

Even if it’s a case of suicide. HOWEVER if it is due to a genuine accident then the case is overturned.

You do know we can tell when someone has accidentally burnt themselves or been set on fire right? We aren’t stupid (The pattern of burns is different as is the nature of burns. Someone set on fire will burn upwards while someone who has caught on fire will burn “along” their clothes.

To portray these laws as some major harassment against men is a delusion of the highest order. It is a complete disconnect from the reality that is life for many of India’s women. Not all women are treated like this but a LOT are.

Misandry in India, overall, can be gauged with the high number of suicides of men and crime against men:

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs – 62,433 married men and a total of 87,839 men committed suicide in 2011 — and this figure is increasing every year. The same bureau report shows that 92% of all crime happens against men and the society is still not even considering issues of men as a topic worth attention.

Suicides? This argument is stupid to the extreme for a variety of reasons. Because the reason fro the preponderance of suicide in men is purely a societal issue that comes from the domination of men.

In every country EXCEPT China more men commit suicide than women. There are two reasons for this.

1. There is a “Cult of Macho” around men, with any man discussing his feelings being deemed as “A Pussy”. This means that men are unwilling to seek ANY help with regards to depression. It’s culturally pervasive and indeed talking about your feelings and being open about them is considered weakness by society as a whole. However this concept is mainly enforced by other men. It’s not women telling you to not express your feelings, it’s other men doing so. This has to do with domination and dominance and success. If you are not successful you are nothing and you may as well end it all. In addition men are lumped with extra stress due to cultural gender roles which further add to this stress. These are all things feminists have fought to destroy. So that men can express their feelings, aren’t expected to do everything and aren’t considered weak for needing help. For all the fears about men being left on the way side there are precious few MRAs who work in suicide care or who run suicide lines. The best example of this kind of attitude is to watch the Big Bang Theory. The protagonists are promoted as less than “men” because they are not attunded to a cultural stereotype of what it means to be a man despite them all being pretty damn smart. India’s cult of macho is pretty damn big and India’s rat race is pretty damn big so a lot of men fall on the wayside while women are expected to sit at home. SInce women don’t compete as much in the rat race and have the option of housewifery they have less “stress” than men.

2. This may be a surprise to you but suicide attempts are higher in women than they are in men. This is because men choose more violent methods of committing suicide than women do. In India a woman is more likely to hang herself at home or swallow pills or try to drown herself or cut her wrist. Hangings at home are more likely to be interrupted, many pills are perfectly harmless, it’s actually pretty tough to drown yourself and cutting your wrist while visually impressive on TV shows if done incorrectly will mean you survive and have no functioning hand. This sounds morbid but it’s part of my job to know. Men however prefer drinking deadly deadly poisons and hanging from heights and jumping from heights and touching live wires. Stuff that’s pretty fucking instantly deadly. Hence the increased death rate. It may genuinely be the fact that women are much more likely to ideate suicide but their methodology seems less reliable than men who have fewer ideations but prefer more reliable methodology.

Amit is an idiot. This is basic knowledge on suicide, if you are going to quote stats you should know why those statistics exist and to analyse them further.

It is going to take a lot from us all men’s rights activists to expose the feminists and fight their funding and control over the public discourse, but we believe we shall prevail!

Urgh, it’s not just the complete lack of understanding about the reality of India it’s also the complete ham fisting of the Mahabaratha which is a lovely epic but it is misogynistic as fuck.

Interestingly enough?

Devarata was killed because he wouldn’t shoot at Transsexual (Female to Male) because he was dressed as a woman on the battlefield. Arjuna (his great great grand nephew) killed him by hiding behind a female to male transsexual because he knew that Devarata would not attack a woman, but hiding behind a unarmed woman is a mortal sin. So to get around that he hid behind someone who was accepted as male but had the body of a woman.

It’s misogynistic, it’s silly, but it is an epic tale. It has everything. Humour, Romance and Epic wars, Monsters and Adventures. Everyone is larger than life and everyone fights through magic powers and awesomeness.

To claim it’s the source of “Misandry” is an outright lie. It does a great injustice to an actually nuanced piece of literature.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    the practice of favours in western chivalric tournaments

    I believe that was mostly victorian-era nonsense. The medievals were a whole lot more practical than that. It’s standard fodder in the romantics like Sir Walter Scott. BTW, Scott’s female “characters” were pretty much cardboard cut-outs that only existed to be captured and threatened with rape. If you think about it, “chivalry” was not about treating the women like they were venerated it was treating them like they were valuable. Prize chattel, but chattel just the same.

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    To portray these laws as some major harassment against men is a delusion of the highest order.

    Or the purest intellectual dishonesty.

  3. 3
    SidBB

    Every time I read a post in this series (which is excellent, by the way) I think about sharing the following anecdote and then decide against it. I’ll finally take the plunge this time:

    My parents live in a large cosmopolitan city in India. They have distant relatives in the US whose son was visiting India when my parents introduced him to the daughter of their friends. Eventually, the two married and the young woman moved to the US to be with her husband where, after a few months, the couple had a falling out. I don’t know what transpired between them, but she returned to India and filed for divorce. The woman’s father was angry at the guy and his parents because the “divorced” label is still quite a stigma in India, but because they lived halfway around the world, he directed his frustration at my parents instead (who hadn’t even seen the woman since the wedding) and filed a dowry harassment case against them. My parents were promptly arrested and spent several hours in jail before being bailed out. It took a few more months filled with stress, anxiety, and damage to their professional reputations before they could prove that the woman had been coerced into make a false statement by her father and the case was dropped.

    My point here is not to disagree with you, Avicenna, or any of the commenters here. You’re right when you say that associating Indian culture with misandry is laughable. And you’re right that the anti-dowry laws are absolutely necessary, especially in rural India where the culture is deeply patriarchal and misogynistic.

    But I have to concede that the laws do lead to harrassment of husbands and their families on rare occasions. The laws aren’t unjust in themselves, but the Indian justice system is highly disorganized and moves excruciatingly slowly, and that’s the root of many problems. Of course, this same corrupt system also results in injustice against women when their complaints about rape or dowry harassment are ignored as we often hear in the news, and I’m sure the overall effect of this messy system on is disproportionately higher on women.

    I guess my point is that I do sympathize to a small degree with some of the activists who complain about the perceived injustice of the anti-dowry laws, but I laugh at the complaints of misandry and I reject their claims that these laws are primarily unjust towards men. The injustice does not stem from these laws in particular; I have seen examples of all kinds of laws being used to persecute innocent people. I’m glad that in the aftermath of the Delhi rape case, the world is turning a critical eye towards the terrible Indian police and judicial systems.

  4. 4
    Rob

    Surely if the dowry system is the result of the patriarchal society (which it seems to be from my understanding), the blaming of women for the legal effects of said dowry system is yet more victim blaming. The use/misuse of the dowry laws is all about property (women and money/tradeable assets).

  5. 5
    Marcus Ranum

    For every law, there will probably be someone who tries to game it. But they’ll be a noticeable minority. Which’ll mean that in general the law is being applied right.

  6. 6
    Kulamarva Balakrishna

    Vienna,January 22,2013
    Boy Amit, you had indeed missed what no male child missed
    in India as he began to recollect himself being his penis almost
    swallowed by women in the family! That with great orgasmic swoon
    all in the open as the rest of the family members watched the love
    shown to a male child!You lie or you had never been aware of yourself.
    I pity you a million times not a thousand times.You are ungrateful.Our
    women are so LOVING.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

  7. 7
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    SidBB
    You know, some years ago somebody drove backwards into our baby-stroller with our daughter in it.
    As a result the owner of the car sued us for damages. My husband was accused of being a raving madman who had damaged the car in anger and it cost us a lot of time, money and nerves (at least the money was paid back) to get clear of that.
    Why do I tell this totally unrelated story?
    Because it shows that there will always be assholes who’ll try to play a system for themselves. Sometimes they win, often they lose. The risk of being the target of those people is one that you pay for living in a society with law.
    Would you rather like to face one without?

  8. 8
    Twitter28

    Hi, just wanted to say i liked this article.

  9. 9
    Kulamarva Balakrishna

    Vienna,February 6,2013
    Now may I add about the dowry. It is not substitute for property inheritance.
    It is meant voluntary gift but obtained by harassment. As for property,we have
    tradition that all property is inherited by the eldest daughter and remains at her
    sole disposal.Brothers have no more than the rights to have meals together
    with sisters.
    Those who coerce for dowry are cruel to the parents who do not own enough
    property movable to part with. I hope I am clear I am speaking about the
    families where men have inheritance rights.For example:Aishvarya Rai, the
    beauty turned actress has full inheritance rights, her brothers do not have.
    So there is no point in generalizing Indian culture.We are a vast world you
    see.

  10. 10
    different photographers

    If you desire to obtain a great deal from this post then you have to apply
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  11. 11
    Ekalavya

    LOL, how we missed this. Seriously, you need to know much more about laws in India. And how they are underused at same time misused heavily. India is a circus as well as musium, you will all amazing things and amusing things here. Wo ever that amit is, my heartly congratulation to him for writing an article that made you write this rant.

  12. 12
    Dhritiman deka

    ”women in india often don’t live as long as men in india”- your article begins with a blatant lie, mate. Because women outlive men by 4 years in india.

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