First Among Equals

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Husain Cyclewala
Sep 17 , 2018 29 min read 192 Views Likes 0 Comments
First Among Equals

        History of discrimination dates back to the birth of humanity itself. When primordial Homo sapiens learned how to differentiate between things since then they have left no stone unturned to discriminate themselves from different aspects. At that time we were discriminating ourselves from other species. As the time passed, discrimination has only changed its bases from which we discriminate ourselves. As if discrimination of humans with other species was not enough we started discriminating among ourselves. We started discriminating people in terms of races, castes and religions. But of all, 21st century is supposed to be dominated by Gender Discrimination. 
 
        If you ask someone what is Gender Discrimination you will probably end up getting answer that it is society's injustice and discrimination towards women. Ironically, 'gender discrimination' in 'gender discrimination’! Why does everything has to be wrong about Females ? To give correct definition of Gender Discrimination, it is prejudice or discrimination based on a person's sex or gender irrespective of they are male, female, straight, bisexual or homosexual. Females sometimes can be ignorant about Males, their hardships and struggles. Being Man is not as easy as it sounds. To put in George Orwell's words "All genders are equal but some genders are more equal than others." I avow the fact that women face higher degree of discrimination but that does not mean men are impervious to it.
 
II
 
        Females have been favoured by the constitution of India for decades. We all talk about equality of all genders but when it comes to Indian constitution, it is far from reality- from availability of reservation to constitutional provisions. It is indeed truth that there was a time when the government had to make special provisions in the constitution for women to ensure equality, but lamentably, some of these provisions are clearly unfair to men.
 
Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code states a woman cannot be punished for the offence of adultery. Only a man who has consensual sexual intercourse with the wife of another man without his consent can be punished under this offense. Yes, you read it correct. Females are not punishable under this crime. This case is of both misandry and misogyny. Wives are not property of husbands as stated by the supreme court of India. They are not puppets to be owned by anyone. They are as free as their husbands. I assume woman who is married would be that mature to take decision whom she wants to have intimate relationship with. So if both man and woman end up in extra-marital affair they both are equally responsible. But will any feminist ask for equal right in punishment also? There are plethora of Indian laws which are biased against men.
 
The anti-dowry law introduced in 1983 was originally designed to safeguard women from abuse and sometimes death in the hands of relatives but the Supreme Court in 2014 ruled the act was now being used as weapons.
 
 
After Nirbhaya Case 2012, section 375 and 376 of IPC were amended and definition of rape was modified in order to give more freedom and power to women in registering FIRs against male offenders. But soon after amendments Delhi High Court in 2013  stated that penal provisions for rape are often being misused by women as a "weapon for vengeance and vendetta" to harass and blackmail their male friends by filing false cases to extort money and to force them get married. In 2014, as per a report submitted by Delhi Commission for Women 53% of reported rapes in 2012-13 were found to be 'false'. 
 
     To mention other biased laws- Under the Hindu Adoptions Act 1956, a daughter is given maintenance by her family till the time she is independent or she is married, whichever occurs first. Yet a boy is only supported till the age of 18 years. Only a wife can receive maintenance from her husband, even if she earns more than him and irrespective of the circumstances surrounding the divorce, but a man cannot receive alimony from a woman (The Hindu Succession Act, 1956). Upon divorce, Mothers are favoured to gain custody of the child and the list goes on.
 
     Women should not use these laws for their own personal agenda. Several cases have been surfaced when women misunderstood accidental brush of shoulder as teasing. Let us give benefit of doubt that it might be misunderstanding, if true, offenders must be behind bars as quick as possible. But what if fallacious allegations are intentionally made to take revenge of some kind from men. As stated earlier it has already been done before. Is there any punishment for women who misuse such laws for worse which are made to protect them? Has anything be done to forestall such incidents? The statute of limitations for filing a complaint of dowry does not exist, so even after 20 years of marriage a wife can file a case of dowry on her husband and family. Albeit this may seem to be a women-friendly provision, it is too friendly. Do not be surprised if you hear that small argument between husband and wife ended with husband and husband’s whole family in jail under IPC 498. What type of a proof will the man give to be exculpated? What if you are meeting a stranger woman and there is an altercation between you two and she just shouts “she is being harassed” in public place. You know what is going to happen to you. In this case you should be aware about how swift mobs are in today’s India to turn that day into your day of judgement. Eventually, the supreme court of India thinks that now Men need protection from misuse of such laws.https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-08-15/indian-court-rules-men-need-protection-women-making-unsubstantiated-domestic
 
       This biasness does not only exist in Indian constitution but also around the globe. Nowhere it is written that men should get harsher punishment than women but data suggests that in fact they do get harsher punishment. In USA, when Prof. Sonja Starr looked at federal criminal sentencing she found that men received, on average, 63% longer sentences than women for the same crimes. Heinous crimes like rape and murder should be dealt with severe punishment irrespective of offender’s as well as victim’s gender.  But at present, even if a man files a complaint against a woman for committing these offences, she goes unpunished because Indian Penal Code believes only men can commit such crimes. These sordid attempts to show women as victims need to be stopped.  https://www.indiatoday.in/mail-today/story/men-victims-too-pil-in-supreme-court-wants-women-punished-for-rape-1142456-2018-01-12
 
III
 
      After talking about laws favoured to women, I think I should throw light on how Men are enervated by so called responsibilities they have no option but to take up. I am sure the most of the men have come across situations when they have been standing in queue for hours be it railway ticket window , post service or any bill payment service and suddenly “the queen” comes in and triumphs over the cluster of men . You have to give up your seat because it is reserved for women. After marriage why Men have to take every financial responsibility. Women are fighting for equal rights, then where are equal rights? After divorce why women need maintenance by their husband.  This is 21st century, each woman as well as man has to earn for their own sake and should not be dependent on anyone. Then why financial burden on only Men’s shoulders? Does equal right claim not apply to this situation?
 
      Now, possible argument I can predict is ratio of women misusing such laws to women not misusing is very less, so generalization would be inappropriate. I totally agree. In fact that is what I believe in. so from where I see things ,“Men are trash” would also be an inappropriate generalization, wouldn’t it? We will not dump full box of salubrious mangoes just because of one deteriorated mango but at the same time if we want to prevent another mangoes from getting rotten the deteriorated one has to be alienated. Same way guilty criminals irrespective of their genders have to be outcasted before it becomes too late.
 
 
       Do not confuse me with far right male chauvinist or misogynist, all I am asking is what a scholar feminist would be asking - EQUAL RIGHTS. The fact is there exists disparity between urban and rural women population. At one hand, because of unawareness about rights given to them, mass of women in rural population is struggling to stand equal in society while on the other hand mass of women who seems "extra aware" misuse such rights. ‘Ladies first.’ Neither a lady nor a gentleman has to be first. You are first if you are the first to take advantage of. We, both Men and Women, need only one fight for EQUAL RIGHTS not separate. If someone is to blame for such discrimination then it would only be law makers. We, the people, are at the bottom of pyramid whereas law-makers are at the apex. Unless and until there are gender neutral laws, this flow of biased laws will be indoctrinated upon us. And if bottom of pyramid wants its voice to be heard then whole pyramid has to be shaken off. We both have to realize that we both are victims of bunch of anti-social elements be it males or females because of which all males and females are getting maligned. Males and Females are like two sides of a seesaw where imbalance is bound to happen that does not mean we go on war for that. To keep it balanced we both need each other’s help. Like Adam and Eve, Ram and Sita, Krishna and Radha needed each other thousands of years ago , today also Men need Women and Women need Men and we will need each other till the last breath of mankind. Journey seems to be long. So why don’t we learn how to live in harmony. None of us has to be superior to another. Whatever happens, why don’t we both share EQUAL share in successes as well as failures of mankind on this enduring journey.  
 

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