After the International Year of women there will follow, I hope, the International Year of Man. I call for mobilisation of world opinion against oppression of men and restoration of equal rights to them. We must work for their liberation and emancipation and see that justice is done.
That this is a man’s world is a myth. Except for the twenty one gun salute and jubilation after his birth, life is pretty grim for him. While his naughty little sister gets away from punishment with a dimpled smile and winsome ways, he has to bear the walloping he gets with fortitude. Right from his ‘baba suit’ stage, he is supposed to be a man. If he grazes his knee or falls from a tree, he has to keep a stiff upper lip while the doctor tries his sartorial skill on the wound. One tear in his eye and he’s branded a “cry booby”. Papa is strict with him, for to spare the rod would spoil him. Mama reads Benjamin Spock and is afraid to “mollycoddle” him, lest he become a “Sissy”. All this time – who, pray – is wallowing in the luxury of “coochy coos” and “cheety pies” from papa and Mama? This imp of a sister, of course!
In school, the girls giggle in class and whisper to each other. The worst that can happen to them is an order to write an imposition a hundred times. This only improves their handwriting while they continue to giggle and whisper. But the poor boys! The master is itching to wield the rod. One slip on the little fellow’s part, and out he’s asked to stretch his palm.
In college, the girls get into formidable groups; and any male passing by will have to possess either a pachyderm or a blocked ear, not to blush at the raillery! The Policeman nearby smiles benignly at the girls and looks elsewhere for a prey. The boys in their enthusiasm sing snatches of romantic ditties and whistle appreciatively when a girl goes by in tight skivvies and trousers; a policeman pounces on them from nowhere and hauls them off to the nearest cell. When “eve teasing” can be punishable, why should the “Adam teaser” go scot-free?
In grandma’s days, the daughter of the house got her diamond earrings a couple of tholas of gold, a wardrobe of clothes, some household effects and pushed off to her husband’s house to scrounge on his earnings. The son collected the cash and property and sent his sister an occasional gift. Today, thanks to various changes in law, the daughter gets all that her predecessors got, plus a first class education, a reception at a five star hotel, and a chunk of the property. What is left is given to the son. To make matters worse, all Hindu festivals are sister-oriented: while she applies some paste on brother dear’s forehead, he has to dive into his treasury!
As a husband, the man has to support his wife even if she’s a high-powered executive with a four-figure salary. She can live off her husband’s earnings and squander her own on jewels and chiffons. Why can’t the husband live off the wife’s and use his own to buy designer suits and jeweled tiepins? What a social solecism that will be! He is branded a parasite, and society cries shame on him.
I ask you; in what way is it a man’s world? To boost a self-created image of chauvinism, men have to be strong and bear the atrocities committed on them. Men of the world – unite and fly high your flags of freedom, and ask for equal rights- same as your sister’s! Do not spoil your case by raping women , beating the wife and burning her for dowry! Real men don’t do that.