Thoughts on International Men's Day: Are Husbands Driven to the Wall?

By John Monteiro

Nov 19:
Today, November 19, is International Men's Day (IMD). Inaugurated on February 7, 1992 by Prof Thomas Oaster, the project was re-initialised in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago. IMD finds support from a variety of individuals and groups in many countries. The objectives of celebrating IMD include focusing on men's and boys' health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. It is an occasion to highlight discrimination against men and boys and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care.

But, for many men IMD stands for International Mourning Day. They seek to turn IMD into Justice for Men Day. There are many male malcontents or grievously aggrieved. Laws, ostensibly enacted to protect women from predatory men, have made men like Prometheus, the legendary Greek Titan who was chained to a massive rock by a curse of Zeus, for stealing fire, and birds pecked and ate his flesh. He was eventually unbound and his story is retold by Percy Shelley in a four-act lyrical drama titled Prometheus Unbound – first published in 1820..

Many men in India feel that they are bound and tortured by laws on divorce, domestic violence, marital rape, maintenance and child custody and more. These legal cobwebs ensnare and enfeeble them to the point of desperation and despair – and in some cases even driving them to suicide. But, like the proverbial ‘even the worm turns’, these suffering men being driven to the wall are banding together to fight with their back to the wall. But,first the facts.

According to a report in Deccan Herald (13/11/15) there is a helpline to rescue men framed in rape cases. According to the report, a love break-up almost ruined the life of a Delhi IIT graduate. The girl lodged a rape case against him with the police after learning that he was getting married. The IITian was on the verge of a complete breakdown when help arrived. His ordeal has not ended yet but the only solace for him is that he has the helping hand of Paritran, a group which assists those who are framed in heinous crimes like rape and molestation..

Started by 20 youth in 2013 in Bengaluru, Paritran has now 71 counsellors across the country. It has also set up a helpline (08882498498). The group has offered assistance to many high-profile people, including models, singers, film actors and software engineers. Chandra Shekhar Agrawal, who works for a multinational and is a founder member of the group, said there was a systematic attempt to destroy the social fabric and many youth were unknowingly falling prey to that. “Instead of contributing to the GDP, many youth are fighting false cases,” said Agrawal, pointing out that false cases of rape and molestation are being increasingly filed when pre-marital sex, live-in relationship and marriages go awry. Women then decide to take revenge on their partners. Criminal law in India has been drafted in such a manner that it unduly favours women whereas men do not have any say, he suggested. The society at large assumes that women do not lie, especially when they complain about offences of a sexual nature. “Tragically, law-enforcement agencies have a similar belief. Since sexual offences are generally a matter of shame and a social taboo, the agencies take the accusations at face value,” he said.

In another report, published in the same daily on the last IMD titled “‘People don’t believe men can be abused” wrote about the laws and enforcement of child custody biased against men. To mark IMD last year a non-governmental organisation called Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP) released a documentary film in Kannada called “Moustache” in Bangaluru, in an effort to spread awareness about how men suffer from gender bias in society. CRISP president Kumar Jahgirdar explained, “Men are just expected to give and not take, make sacrifices, and then everything they do is tagged as his ‘duty’. People don’t believe men can be abused, despite phrases like ‘be a man’ or ‘don’t cry like a girl’ being thrown at him when he seeks help for emotional distress.” Jahgirdar, who has been advocating for men’s rights, explains that the aim of CRISP’s efforts is gender neutrality. “There’s a ministry for women and children, and even one for environment and forests. Where is the ministry for men?” he asks.

There was another recent report from Hyderabad by Times News Network titled “Fathers say child custody law ‘lopsided’” When the entire country celebrates Children's Day on Saturday (Nov. 14), hundreds of fathers will take to the streets demanding equal rights over parenting their kids, in the tragic event of a divorce. While doctors warn that parental alienation due to divorce or separation has an adverse effect on a child's psychology, divorced fathers say the law is lopsided towards the mother, and have called for sweeping reforms in existing laws.

Then there is a law, Domestic Violence Act, that got Presidential approval on October 25, 2006, which for the first time introduced the concept of “Invisible Violence” at home – physical and verbal abuse, withholding of financial rights and sexual cruelty. Denial of company, indifference and abstinence from sex are legal grounds for divorce. The woman can cite “marital rape” as ground for divorce. In other words, she can turn round and say that she had not consented to have sex which she has had with her husband. This is the intrusion of law into the marital bedroom. This might lead to the farcical situation of having consent forms, like condoms, stored in the bedroom. Sexual foreplay may have to start with signing of consent forms and keeping them safe from subsequent destruction. If you think that all this is in the law books and in the realm of the mind, there is enough evidence to show that women are very conscious of their rights and are moving in the direction of enforcing them.

This Act is preceded by a succession of Acts and court rulings that have made life miserable for men. They are now vulnerable to blackmail by wives threatening to take recourse to the anti-male laws. There has been strong reaction to this trend and men have banded together. In Kolkata there is an organisation called Forum of Oppressed Husbands to take up the cases of battered husbands. The Forum, which has got 1500 members, takes up the cause of men who suffer mental and physical torture at the hands of their wives and offers help ranging from counseling to fighting cases in courts. Ironically, the President of this Forum is a woman lawyer, Aruna Mukherji, who explained the rationale of forming a body to fight against women by men. She said: “Incidents of men being on the receiving end are gradually on the rise specially in the urban areas. For women there are many laws to deal with such problems and many bodies like Women’s Commission and Women’s Grievance Cells while there is no facility for men who face problems from their wives." Still more ironically, 30 % of the Forum’s membership is accounted for by women who have come forward for the cause of suffering men. The Forum demands the amendment to Section 498-A of IPC (Punishment for subjecting married women to cruelty ) which is loaded in favour of women. According to Aruna, there were several instances when women have taken undue advantage of this law. The Forum wants that charges under Section 498-A be made bailable or a new Section be added wherein males would be able to lodge complaints of domestic torture against their spouses.

Fortunately the courts and police have given some relief to the males. In a judgment delivered in November 2014, the Supreme Court held that filing false criminal complaints against one's spouse amounts to "matrimonial cruelty" and creates sufficient ground for the aggrieved to seek divorce. The court said that the legal position on this issue has been dealt with comprehensively in previous judgments. "It is now beyond cavil that if a false criminal complaint is preferred by either spouse it would invariably and indubitably constitute matrimonial cruelty, such as would entitle the other spouse to claim a divorce," the bench said. The bench allowed a plea for divorce made by a man from Hyderabad, whose wife had filed false complaints against him and seven of his family members, which led to their incarceration. In such a situation, the marriage could be dissolved under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, the bench reiterated.

There have been corrective move on this front. According to a Bangalore-dated report in The Times of India (7-7-12), men falsely accused of demanding dowry can breathe easy. Checks and balances have been put in place to handle dowry harassment complaints that have often led to accused husbands and in-laws being arrested. Police officers in Karnataka have been told to exercise restraint while making arrests on plaints relating to offences under Section 498-A of the IPC. A circular has laid out guidelines to handle such complaints. "An arrest under Section 498-A should be made only with a written order from a police officer of the rank of superintendent in the districts or deputy commissioner in commissionerates. Arrests should be resorted to only for acceptable reasons," the circular said. The police officers have been instructed not to accept dowry harassment cases at face value, and study them well before pressing ahead. This could spell the end - or, at least, reduction - of false and trumped-up cases.

The police initiative comes because of the sustained nudging by higher judiciary while handling divorce and dowry harassment cases. It may be recalled that Bombay high court judge had famously said that wives should be like Sita and follow their husbands even to vanvas. In this case, the judge was telling the wife to follow her husband to Andaman (originally meant for life convicts) on his transfer to that remote island.

So, are men angels or saints to be put on pedestals? That is another story for another time. For now let us conclude a grim story on a light note.

He must pay

Husband and wife have a tiff. Wife called up mom and said: "He fought with me again. I am coming to live with you."
Mom said: “No darling, he must pay for his mistake. I am coming to live with you."

Today’s short reading from the Bible

From Genesis: "And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the earth".

Then he made the earth round ...and he laughed and laughed and laughed!



Top Stories

Comment on this article

  • Marcel J. M.Govious, Mangalure

    Wed, Nov 25 2015

    It is said, once experience is the best judgement. John Sir, if yes, What you have to say about it ??. And if you answer is yes, how come you were not a over comer. Please laugh out....ha ha ha.....

    Late marriages, Mangalurian do not buy it because only some Mangalureain did not learn anything from their life. Hence, negativity was the order of the day. Another joking factor, there will be no Mangalorean progidy say after 40 years, since, late marriages can not bear children. Hah hah ! there is one option first procreate (bearing the child) than get marry...does it make any sense dear Mangalureian. If yes, than only register marriages will flourish. Just take it lighter vein if at all you had meant in the similar fashion....

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rems, Mangaluru

    Sat, Nov 21 2015

    Driven to the wall if men are the willing goats. In the community I live in, boys report to their Mama until they marry. Then they report to their wife and wife's mother. So what's wrong in driving them to the wall ?

    DisAgree [5] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • sudhi, byndoor

    Wed, Nov 25 2015

    So then what's wrong if its vice versa?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • jimmy noronha, Bellore, Lucknow

    Sat, Nov 21 2015

    Certainly not, husbands are not driven to the wall. If it were the case relating to the state of affairs in some Western country, yes, it does stand to reason, but husbands back home in India, driven to the wall? Common, sir, it is just the other way about, it is the women who are driven to the wall. And to bolster your point of view, of all the instances, you come out with none other than “ Prometheus, the legendary Greek Titan who was chained to a massive rock by a curse of Zeus, for stealing fire, and birds pecked and ate his flesh. (as far as I know, it is his lever). He was eventually unbound and his story is retold by Percy Shelly…”. How hyperbolically do you dare to put it!! Common sir, don’t be so very cruel to women folk, when day in and day out, we hear women being raped, women commit suicide, and you say that sacred bed room needs those forms to be filled for consent!! Sir, aren’t you going overboard? Spare a thought for the women folk a while. You make men cry, women cry, and then say God laughed, and laughed and I won’t be surprised if you begin to laugh??

    DisAgree [9] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Sun, Nov 22 2015

    Sir, every woman deserves to be treated with respect. Our society must work towards preventing all types of crimes against women. There is absolutely no reason to deviate from that position.

    However, you must also note a few major changes that have taken place over the last 2-3 decades.Over the last 2-3 decades, the children have been growing up in 2 children families. No more 8-10 children families.

    While having no more than two children has many benefits, a few problems too have cropped up.

    For example, the noise, quarrels and the talk among siblings - and consequent socialising skills - have reduced by 95% at least. Today's families are incredibly quiet in comparison to yesterday's families.

    Other equally troubling consequences of this situation (of having 1-2 children) are:
    * increased spoiling of the children by the parents
    * children having focus on only the self
    * increased levels of depression among the children AND the parents
    * reduced levels among children in empathy towards others

    Brought up in such an atmosphere, when a young woman marries, she is suddenly forced to go though a massive behavioral change. And that is near impossible! How can someone who has enjoyed being a child always suddenly transform herself into a matured adult?

    A child wants to remain a child. That, in my opinion, is one of the fundamental problems facing the marriages today.

    So I have recommended that the society must give time for the child to really grow up! The marrying person must be a complete ADULT - responsible for her own actions - whether to get married or how to remain married.

    Someone who remains a child in mind just wants to get back to the parents! To achieve this goal, all sorts of problems are thrown at the unsuspecting husband.

    PS: By "common", did you by any chance mean "Come on"?

    DisAgree [3] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • jimmy noronha, Bellore, Lucknow

    Sun, Nov 22 2015

    Yes, sorry, it is my fault, it should be "come on" thanks a lot. I reckon it shouldn't be taken as a common mistake.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • sudhi, byndoor

    Thu, Nov 26 2015

    Understand the main intention of this article. It is not anything against women, it is about the discrimination made to men due to one sided laws made in favour of women. I have read many articles about women where most of them shows men in total as bad. Most of them seems to be made out of frustration due to their personal problems with some men. But instead of blaming few men they blame the entire male community. Majority of men never blame entire women community eventhough they have personally suffered directly or indirectly. This article is highlighting the problems faced my men due to misuse of laws. Just for writing truth about problems of men how can it be very cruel to women folk?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • John B. Monteiro, Bondel, Mangaluru

    Sat, Nov 21 2015

    Women on top is not about copulation position in Kamasutra but about dominance of women among the gentry in Tulunadu. There were large landowners who lived in mansions and farm-workers living in huts on the periphery of their property.
    The houses of the affluent had a bedroom where the owner-couples retired for the night, with the door and window closed. There they multiplied their brood beyond the visual view of the rest of the household but within their hearing if there were unusual sounds like coughing. In this sanctum the couple had their conflicts. One of the subjects of the conflicts was the women (keeps) the husband visited for extra-marital forays.
    Exhausted by such secret frolics, the husband had no much use for his wife. In some cases she got physical and the guilty husband had to submit to her fury because she had the option of opening the door and exposing his misdeeds. Those outside the room could only make guesses of what was going on inside. The male tribe invented a trick. Even as the husband was bearing the beatings, he would shout for the consumption of the eavespers outside the room: “Yava, boda?” (Is this enough or you want more?”
    So, some women were on top even before the laws biased against men came recently.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • ravi, udupi

    Wed, Nov 25 2015

    Sorry,Not able to understand the head n tail of ur comment.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, Mangaluru

    Fri, Nov 20 2015

    Not only driven...but made to climb also..The wall that is...
    Men from yore are willing to be driven, climb and do what not for women. This is an open secret.
    On the other the so called flip side(is it?)November 19 is also Madam Indira Gandhi's Birthday who was often described as the only 'Man'in her Cabinet of Ministers!
    What a contrast it was!!
    Sir Monterio certainly knows more than a thing or two of being 'Driven to the Wall'...
    Very well written.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Max E Rasquinha, Mangalore, Houston/Dallas, Texas

    Fri, Nov 20 2015

    Nice meeting you, John, yesterday at Rahulads. Your message and your opinions on various topics in different times and different occasions is well appreciated.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Fri, Nov 20 2015

    Thank you Mr Monteiro for a great article.

    In my humble opinion, a simple question from me to the society is, can men postpone their marriages until both the bride and the bridegroom are in their late thirties or forties?

    It has been observed that the all accusations and issues arise where the bride is much younger in age. She readily gets plenty of sympathisers and supporters to her many complaints.

    The young man that gets married and faces issues from the wife is in a quandary: does he continue working towards his profession (the fruit of which is shared equally by the wife) or does he spend all his waking hours dealing with the problems heaped upon him by the wife, police, lawyers, society, courts etc.

    A much older bride (in her late thirties or early forties) is likely to have more confidence in herself, is less likely to spend 24x7 in complaints, and busy making the best use of the lost time.

    So, my advice to young men: Wait until your bride is much older - to have lasting peace in marriage.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Fri, Nov 20 2015


    I agree with your point, cent per cent. Not only an older bride but the one who has her own earnings/savings, no contribution from her parents. You bet, the marriage will be rock solid with no problems faced by neither of them. Even one or two minor issues come up, they solve them without interference by any of parents.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rudolf Rodrigues, Mangalore/Mumbai

    Sat, Nov 21 2015

    Sir at the 'age' you suggest marriage, there will be a very big problem of getting a progeny, already infertility rates are mounting among youngsters due to various reasons, lots of wealth but difficult to get a child!!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rudolf Rodrigues, Mangalore/Mumbai

    Sat, Nov 21 2015

    Sir at the 'age' you suggest marriage, there will be a very big problem of getting a progeny, already infertility rates are mounting among youngsters due to various reasons, lots of wealth but difficult to get a child!!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr Mohan Prabhu, QC, mangalore/ottawa

    Thu, Nov 19 2015

    It is always a delight to read John Monteiro's pieces. He has given a very delicate subject but has provided a well-balanced and somewhat humorous touch. Politicians seem to have pandered to the rights of women by giving them a draconian set of laws which put men at a considerable legal disadvantage - arrest and trial on flimsy evidence. Fortunately, such cases are very few and are taken by the proverbial woman who has been scorned by her lover because in such cases, as the saying goes "hell hath no greater fury than a woman scorned..."
    Politicians and lawmakers are as much to blame for this plight of the minority of men who as Mr. Monteiro has suggested, are often driven to extreme measures - suicides and perhaps also murders when they have nothing to lose.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Antony D'Cunha, Permude/Muscat

    Thu, Nov 19 2015

    Well written article. At the current scenario, even the God must have stopped laughing with a question mark - what went wrong with my creation???

    DisAgree [1] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • sudhi, byndoor

    Thu, Nov 19 2015

    Great article with very good and meaningful jokes at the end.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

Leave a Comment

Title: Thoughts on International Men's Day: Are Husbands Driven to the Wall?

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.