-Nandini Parikh |
An Unconventional Story of a Women, Fighting for men’s Rights in India
A woman is the epitome of strength, sacrifice, and resilience. Today’s woman is breaking every stereotype, paving her way to a gender-equal society. On this International Women’s Day it’s important to tell stories of women who choose unprecedented paths to stand with right in order to bring a change in the society. So, here is an unconventional story of one such woman often labelled as meninist fighting for men’s rights and gender equality In India.
“Just like you don’t need to be a woman to fight for women, you don’t need to be a man to fight for men” – Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj.
Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj is an Independent journalist and, documentary filmmaker who is tirelessly working for nine years, highlighting the atrocities faced by men. It’s a fact that women are experiencing a lot of injustice and, crimes against women are increasing day by day in India. There are several strict laws in India like the Protection of Women from Domestic violence (2005), Dowry Prohibition act 1961, and Sexual harassment of Women at Workplace act (2013) to prevent such activities and deliver justice to victims. But sometimes the same laws which are for protection of women rights are misused in order to harass not only man but also his family.
Ms. Bhardwaj faced a similar unjust when her cousin was falsely accused of dowry. The case came as a shocking revelation to her as not only his cousin but the entire family was pulled to court. This incident made her realize that if this could happen to her, it can happen with anybody. Thus it was a turning point in her life. She did journalism after her job as a software engineer at Infosys. During that period she decided to quit her job at Exchange4media as a journalist to become a full time men’s rights activist to fight against such misuse of the law.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Just imagine getting arrested without knowing your side of the story, spending several years in prison for the crime you have not committed, losing your dignity and self-respect in society for an act you never did. Yes, there are such stories where men have fallen victim to false accusations of dowry, rape, and harassment. It is a sad reality that some men land up in prison and, some even end up with suicide due to the untrue allegation. A recent example is of Aman Baisla, a 22-year-old boy who committed suicide when a girl blackmailed him for money and threatened to file a rape complaint against him if not met with her demands. Another classic example is of Mr. Vishnu Tiwari, a 43-year-old man acquitted of rape after spending 20 years in Jail.
Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj is extensively fighting for gender-neutral laws and the National Commission for Men’s formation to protect men against false cases. She has made an independent documentary named ‘Martyrs of marriage’ that reveals various instances of misuse of Indian Penal Code 498A, known as Anti-Dowry Law. The documentary covers many such cases of false accusations and focuses on injustice perpetrated on many lives. Her upcoming documentary ‘India’s Sons’ is a feature-length documentary film highlighting lives that have been tear down because of false accusations of rape.
“Lot of men in the past and today have taken a stand against injustice to women. I have taken a stand against injustice to men, My belief through equality, equality where everyone has a voice, be it woman or man and everyone is heard be it a woman or a man”, said Ms. Bhardwaj addressing TEDxGateway. Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj is a gusty and fierce woman who #choosetochallenge gender biased laws against the men and has stood up with the reality that there exist #mentoo.