OPINION

The Great Indian Confused Male

April 27, 2006
The Hissing Saint

This incident happened about a year ago.

I was on a train, making my way to work when I chanced upon this rather interesting conversation. A group of about seven to eight men, ranging in their ages from the early 20s to 30s, was huddled together in the crowded compartment and avidly discussing the Marine drive rape incident.

I watched and listened keenly as all of them expressed their contempt for the now incarcerated cop and proposed various methods of punishment that could be meted out to him for his crime.

Interestingly as the conversation proceeded it began to take on a different shade. Some of the men began to propose that the victim herself was partly responsible for her fate.

"...and what was she doing alone with two boys," said someone.

"Once she had finished her work she should have headed back home," chipped in another.

"Who knows...maybe she was wearing something provocative?"

Soon enough the conversation shifted to college girls and how "horrible and cheap" their dressing had become. Someone began to describe the "obscene" sights he had seen outside a south Mumbai college.

As the discussion continued, I began to wonder for some strange reason about the backgrounds of these men and the circumstances under which they grew up.

I could almost imagine them as kids, watching as their homebound-mother slaved over domestic chores, took care of them and generally did everything possible to please her husband.

When they would come back home bawling after a fight with friends or nursing a bruised arm or leg, their mothers would chide them for crying saying "Are you a boy or a girl? Stop crying! You should be a brave man" or "If you want to cry like this, become a girl, wear some bangles and sit at home."

As they grew they would learn to celebrate a festival called Raksha Bandhan.

Raksha Bandhan is a festival celebrating the bond of affection between brothers and sisters. The day when the siblings pray for each other's well being and wish for each other's happiness and goodwill. As the name "Raksha Bandhan" suggests, "a bond of protection", Raksha Bandhan is a pledge from brothers to protect the sister from all harms and troubles and a prayer from the sister to protect the brother from all evil.

Soon enough the boys would watch as their mother began to involve their sisters in kitchen activities and teaching them the various domestic chores while the boy himself was strictly forbidden from doing the same.

When it came to academics, perhaps the boy's performance would always be lauded while the girl's achievements would be given a blind eye. Money would be spent on the boy's tuitions and extra classes but no such importance would be given to the girl because "she had to be married off and what use was education to her anyway."

Sometimes mother would have other female relatives or neighbors at home and the boy would sometimes hear them talking about family issues and lamenting about the increasing cost of running the household. Of course there would also be the occasional discussion about some hen-pecked husband who according to them was being tormented by his wife because he was sometimes seen hanging out the washed clothes or helping his wife in household chores. They would all agree that a man must know how to control his wife or he would end up like this person. And as they laughed mother would warn the boy to be careful or he too would end up being a "joru ka ghulam" or a "Slave of the wife."

Even while the boy was at play the messages never stopped.

As the boy grew he learnt from peers that certain games were girlie games and not stuff that boys should indulge in. If anyone was a little craven he was instantly referred to as a girlie.

Even the media did little to contradict what the boy was "learning".

The typical Indian family movie or soap would portray the female protagonist as an all-good, all sacrificing woman who silently bore the oppression of her evil in-laws.

The female antagonist character on the other hand was a woman with a keen fashion sense, indulged herself in jewellery and other luxuries, participated in kitty parties and was generally found plotting and conspiring to divide an otherwise peacefully living family.

There were no shades here - just black and white.

Invariably many of these family drama movies would also feature for comic relief, a hen-pecked tormented husband who finally finds liberation from his tyrant wife with a tight slap and the clichéd dialogue - "I should have done this a long time ago!". And voila the woman sheds a few tears, "has her eyes opened" and is suddenly transformed into the "good and loving" wife who seeks forgiveness from her husband.

Other similarly intransigent women are also bought on to the "right path" by the tight slap.

In time I assume all these messages leave a distinct stamp on the mind of this person. He sees himself as the superior one, responsible for protecting and taking care of the women in his family. He probably sees women as entities that must be controlled for their own good. His idea of the ideal woman is probably someone who sits at home, takes care of the kids, prepares the food and serves her husband.

But unknown to him things are changing.

While there are women who accept the oppression or superiority of men (as the case may be) as a natural way of life and don't think twice about it, there is a significant majority that seeks freedom from this cycle. They see themselves not just as baby makers or housewives but rather playing a larger role in society. They are street smart, confident and do not need men to play the role of caretakers or protectors.

And in all of this our Indian man, with all his perceptions and ideas, suddenly finds himself redundant - a mere contributor of sperm. He finds himself being called insensitive, chauvinistic and many other not so flattering adjectives.

Every principle, idea and thought he held close to his heart is suddenly turned upside down. He finds it hard to accept this new reality and fights it tooth and nail, distorting reality to fit things into his own perspective.

The result perhaps is what I see before me.

The discussion meanwhile is interrupted by a group of women who enter the train and occupy a couple of seats a little distance away. This sight immediately attracts the ire of the group and they launch into a purposefully vociferous discussion aimed at heckling the women.

The reason?

The General compartment (as it is formally called) of the train is more fondly referred to by the men as the Gents or Men's compartment, although officially no such exclusivity has been conferred upon it. Yet any intrusion by the women (who incidentally are offered an exclusive ladies compartment) is viewed with much consternation.

"These females have their own compartment yet they barge in here and take our seats."

"...and if that weren't enough...they get angry if someone by mistake also touches them...."

As I listen to their angry voices I wondered, perhaps this was a battle to preserve what these men perceived to be their last stronghold.

Meanwhile a couple of seats away another group of men breaks into the opening lines of a popular Hindi film song. A number of voices join in and in almost no time an orchestra of bathroom singers is in concert.

Everyone's attention is now riveted on the performance. The acrimony is shelved for a while.

Gender Equality, it seems, could wait for another day.

Crazy...Sane...Wierd...Radical...Evil...Angelic?? Check out the Saint's Abnormal Outflows and decide for yourself!
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#1
deepti lamba
URL
April 27, 2006
10:06 AM

Well written post Hsaint, I could see myself giving those men dirty looks for most of their views;)

#2
Present India
URL
April 27, 2006
10:16 AM

"Gender Equality, it seems, could wait for another day"

Sorry allready the day had past for long time ago.

The link Specially written to achieve the gender Eqality, and it seems, could not wait for too more"

Great story by writer. KEEP IT UP.

#3
temporal
URL
April 27, 2006
10:46 AM

hs:

welcome to dc:)

As the discussion continued, I began to wonder for some strange reason about the backgrounds of these men and the circumstances under which they grew up.

perhaps you or a woman writer can continue in the same vein and write about the same folks...and their transformation in the presence of ladies...

***

wall of gender inequality can only be brought down one brick at a time

#4
rita
April 27, 2006
03:32 PM

Excellent writing and beautifully composed.

I could almost hear background music wailing dolefully.

The only time men think of gender equality is when it comes to opening doors, standing in the bus, paying the restaurant bill, and carrying heavy parcels.

#5
Preeti
April 27, 2006
03:55 PM

I agree too that men today have a hard time . When they were young they saw their mother and her role in a certain way. Sub-consciously they thought they too would get a similar wife.

With the changing roles of women now, men therefore suffer from their own role-conflicts, when it does't go the expected way.

The reason is that they are accustomed to thinking as taught that they are the providers, bread earner, and thus maybe dominate their wives sometimes.

Presently ,what comes as a shock to them the same role is done by women too, that of a bread earner, provider(if she is a single mom), thus taking the exclusivity away from men

This results in role-conflict for men and they are trying hard to accept it.

Most do and make a smooth transition. The others who don't....well!

#6
Gawain
URL
April 27, 2006
11:39 PM

Dear THS:

I don't have anything to agree with or disagree with. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading this.

#7
Sumanth
URL
April 28, 2006
03:57 AM

Gender Equality will be achieved, when

boys are freed from training to "Protect and Provide" women and family.

It is the women(not men), who condition boys to take risks, stop being expressive. Just think of scenes in Movie Rang De Basanti where even the mother keeps criticising the guy for not being ready to give his life for country.

Oppression of boys/men by society has to stop, if you want gender equality.

Take a look at Suicide stats, murder stats to know who(boy or a girl) has a good time in the society.


#8
The Hissing Saint
URL
April 28, 2006
03:57 AM


A big thanks to all of you for your comments!

Just wanted to say that women have a much larger role to play to bring about a society where gender equality exists.

#9
Sumanth
URL
April 28, 2006
05:41 AM

Its doubtful, if women organisations or feminists can bring any positive social change.

Women always played much larger role (than perceived) in the family. They shaped the minds of the children (including boys).

Well, I remember Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir and Benazir Bhutto, Khaleda Zia, the ladies in SriLanka and their inclination towards wars.

This article was written with the assumption that boys/men get a much bigger share of cake in the society compared to girls/women. This assumption is questionable.

When women are freeing themselves from their gender roles, the same has to be extended to boys/men as well. This is not happening and in fact, nobody is discussing about this.

So, men are confused. When they are expected to stick to their role of "protectors", they will dictate what women (whom they feel like protecting) wear. For example, it is quite awkward for a guy being expected(by society) to be a protector for his sister in a public place, when all she does is market herself for the window shoppers. Responsibility and authority comes hand in hand. In short, Men, who are expected to "protect", will dictate.

Btw, I believe everyone must have a choice to wear what s/he wants.

#10
Sumanth
URL
April 28, 2006
05:58 AM

"finds himself redundant - a mere contributor of sperm. He finds himself being called insensitive, chauvinistic and many other not so flattering adjectives."

It is fashionable to use these adjectives (in media and in literature) against men (I mean every man).

But, this tide can turn soon, when a woman can find herself being called selfish, treacherous and feminazi.

After all, life is a mirror.
Nature always creates balance in one way or other.

I thought flattey is something that women only crave.

Gender Equality should also mean both male bashing and female bashing should be equal and women learn to take female bashing with a brave heart (just like present day men).

#11
The Hissing Saint
URL
April 28, 2006
06:08 AM


@Sumanth

You say - "Gender Equality should also mean both male bashing and female bashing should be equal and women learn to take female bashing with a brave heart (just like present day men)."

I say Gender Equality means no need for male bashing and female bashing. Just individuals who respect each other for what they are!

#12
Present India
URL
April 28, 2006
06:42 AM

The Hissing Saint , is your story say that?

"I say Gender Equality means no need for male bashing and female bashing. Just individuals who respect each other for what they are!"

At least the Indian IPC Laws , media, feminist bloger..etc, also does not support your logic.

So what is your Opinion on those LAW maker and their supporter?

#13
The Hissing Saint
URL
April 28, 2006
07:14 AM


I am not so qualified to comment on the laws though I think that the aim of any society and the laws and rules it exists on should be the equality of sexes.

#14
Arun
April 28, 2006
07:18 AM

After reading this article I started thinking why there were reservations for women? In trains, it's somewhat acceptable, but not in parliament and other places (though ideally reservations in trains, etc. should only be available for elderly passenger, and for those who pay more for the ticket.)

In parliament, I think women should get elected off their own merit.. and the electorate doesn't consist of only chauvinists, does it? So why the reservation proposal? It's supposed to be equal.

#15
The Hissing Saint
URL
April 28, 2006
07:31 AM


I completely agree with you!

Reservations as a policy itself is unfair.

About trains - think about it this way. Would you risk taking your sister or girlfriend or wife or mother in a crowded gents compartment.

#16
Present India
URL
April 28, 2006
07:42 AM

The Hissing Saint, once again are you sure?

"I am not so qualified to comment on the laws.."
or
trying to hide the truth, as the same proves the gender Inquality in India?
or
You also does not want that some one should term you as Anti-woman, if you support to age old mothers and sisters instead of wives/daughter-in-law?
I wonder !!!!

#17
Present India
URL
April 28, 2006
07:54 AM

"The Great Indian Confused Male"

How you will react, if I change the same as under :

"The Great Indian Confused People"

Or
It will be termed as Gender Inquality?

#18
Sakshi
URL
April 28, 2006
08:15 AM

SIFs, ki kya hai baat...

Wah wah !! kya hai baat...

Ek baar, joh woh peeche pade,

toh na chode tuhmara saat.


(Sadly) Janne na simple se baat, Bhagwan !

"Naar aur Naari, hai dono saman".

Shadi hai do dilhon ka bandhan,

not just...

bonding of two badans.

#19
The Hissing Saint
URL
April 28, 2006
08:31 AM

@Present India - Well! All I would say is congratulations! You it seems you finally found an appropriate name for the group that and your ilk belong to - The Great Indian Confused People.

I read your blog today and frankly PI - I seriously think you are in need of some psychological help. Or perhaps you are some kind of voyeur who peeps into peoples bedrooms after the male-folk have left to come to the kind of conclusions and scenarios you present in your stories.

I am confident about the views and opinions I present though I am not so sure about you!

#20
Present India
URL
April 28, 2006
08:38 AM

The Hissing Saint and Sakshi
Thanks,the discussion is about your story not regarding SIF.
About my blog, the way I see I write and I stick to that, there is no double standard.
I am little different than others.

#21
Present India
URL
April 28, 2006
08:45 AM

Sakshi,really Domestic Violence Law,

(Sadly) Janne na simple se baat, Bhagwan !

"Naar aur Naari, hai dono saman".

#22
Ash
April 28, 2006
10:33 AM

Little different!!!! Man you are fully different.

#23
Ash
April 28, 2006
10:35 AM

His stories work in reverse direction. He knows what the end or rather wants. Then works in reverse to build the story.

#24
Present India
URL
April 28, 2006
11:16 AM

Are you sure Ash?

#25
Ash
April 28, 2006
11:23 AM

I am very sure. Do not question me.

#26
Aaman
URL
April 28, 2006
11:46 AM

That's a very interesting way of writing - some writers adopt that model, it's easier on the creative juices, it is somewhat limiting, though, the characters can be somewhat lifeless or restrained, unable to develop their own identities. Try the other direction and see where they end up, they might surprise you:)

#27
Arun
April 28, 2006
11:53 AM

Rita, you wrote...
"The only time men think of gender equality is when it comes to opening doors, standing in the bus, paying the restaurant bill, and carrying heavy parcels."

I can also say that the only time a feminist DOESN'T think of gender equality is during these situations. "It's a tradition," she says. But he doesn't reply saying, "Wake up! It's the 21st century!"

#28
Aaman
URL
April 28, 2006
11:56 AM

I'd rather have today's woman than yesterday's, and can't wait for tomorrow's:)

#29
Arun
April 28, 2006
12:04 PM

In other words, you can't wait for dating today's pre-teenagers?

#30
Aaman
URL
April 28, 2006
01:00 PM

Hmmm, I'm going to be dating the same woman tomorrow I dated yesterday, taking her on a whale watch, actually:)

pre-teens better be interested in more than they are nowadays when they grow up, if they are to be attractive, for someone like me at least.

#31
sumanth
URL
April 28, 2006
01:17 PM

When men are termed as "arrogants, egoistic, chauvinistic, insensitive" by default, then whats the point even if they are reformed? Still, they would be termed with the same adjectives. May be one has to wait till the last man on the earth to comes to 21st century.

The present hate literature by feminists and their ideologies will not be helpful anyone. It will only worsen the situation for everybody including women.

#32
rita
April 28, 2006
03:22 PM

The Hissing Saint said: "I say Gender Equality means no need for male bashing and female bashing. Just individuals who respect each other for what they are!"

Hear, hear.

Arun said:I can also say that the only time a feminist DOESN'T think of gender equality is during these situations. "It's a tradition," she says. But he doesn't reply saying, "Wake up! It's the 21st century!"

I can tell you, where opening doors and helping with heavy parcels etc is concerned, I myself have helped old men and women and women with children with their bags/stroller/prams up or down stairs, given them seats on the bus or train, and helped them off trains and opened doors for them.

My children do the same.

One doesn't give a thought to gender equality when someone needs help. One just helps. This is instinctive, or should be.

(One also doesn't let go of the heavy door when leaving a cinema without seeing that the person behind is okay and has gotten hold of the door.)

By the way, I read during a similar heated discussion, one person said,"After all, there is very little difference between men and women!"
And a Frenchman said,"Vive la difference!" (Long live the difference)

#33
Mrs Desai
April 28, 2006
10:12 PM

Only foolish men are termed as egoistic, arrogant. The level headed ones have no problems.


PI you said
"Naar aur Naari, hai dono saman".

Since when do you beleive that. Why do I see a reformed PI, the ones that I saw in abla nari blogs wanted crimes against women to increase.

#34
anon
April 28, 2006
10:53 PM

sumanth,
I think you are 12 to 15 yrs. faster than present Indian men in all. There is no way unless waiting those years to digest, what you are telling them...

if one goes to search for a girl @indian dating site around 35-45 yrs.one would easily find majority of western women asking for Indian men.

Western men escaped by 20 more years..so all in all they are 32 to 35 yrs ahead if Indian guys with diabetic effect in 40s..suffering..

pls. wait..have patience

#35
Present India
URL
April 29, 2006
01:52 AM

PI you said
"Naar aur Naari, hai dono saman"

Mrs.Desai, Before my birth itself......

Don't know about our Women activist and Indian Law Maker.

#36
Present India
URL
April 29, 2006
02:18 AM

Madam ,read the same again:-

"...Domestic Violence Law,

(Sadly) Janne na simple se baat, Bhagwan !

"Naar aur Naari, hai dono saman".

Come out from "The Great Indian Confused People"

#37
GB
URL
April 29, 2006
07:31 AM

it is too simplistic to say that women were slaving for their husbands.

one of my teachers had an interesting aside on this subject. 50% reservation for SCs/STs/other (politically supported)backward classes + 30% reservation for women so where will the 20% "forward men" go.

apparently the power of an individual to decide whom to help is being slowly eroded by the principle of active governmental interference in the name of public good.

already there is a discrimination in US and elsewhere against black males as against black females because black females satisfy the criterion of so called gender equality as well as black equality.

this imposition of ideas helps more the leaders of the respective movements beyond some point until it goes to ridiculuous extents and then becomes extinct.

#38
GB
URL
April 29, 2006
07:34 AM

As another aside to the Marine Drive incident, what happens to the women and family members dependent on the accused police person. don't tell me all those women and children should start trying for modelling assignments and positions in "mahila mukti morcha" of all definitions.it is too ridiculuous.

how can this one-sided justice be justified in the name of gender equality?

#39
SidDes
URL
April 29, 2006
08:36 AM

Well, sometimes women do like the roles they have been put in. Example most women i know and have seen, like to be the home maker. Its not as if gender inequality is all bad. In a controlled manner, its actually good.

#40
bharati
URL
April 29, 2006
09:25 AM

The confusion for the indian male starts becuase there is a confusion of what is equal and what is greater . In feminist literature and also in many nmale bashing articles there is clear trying to twist such staright forward concepts.

We say we want gender equality and yet accept concepts like women paying lesser taxes then men at same salary levels.

Either we are for resevation for women in parliament but against 30% reservation for men in child custody cases.

We find it funny to slap a man but yet we sould not find any reverse situation funny.

We would want special laws for women but would be against special laws for men .

when a man sucides we balma men for not having the guts

When WOmen suicdes we agins try to find some man to pin the blame

When Manmohun desai or Mukesh Agarwal we do not try to find a female scrape goat but when NAfisa joseph we try to find male scrape goats

We try to tell young boy child father bad , grand father good yet the courts twice admonishes the grandfather for misuse of power

Women allowed to legally kill unborn child but men still blamed for foeticide

Higher percentage of children are killed by women and still we say fathers bad for child and not give custody

All this will obviously confuse men.

#41
bharati
URL
April 29, 2006
09:31 AM

what about the prathiba rape case in Bangalore . why was the husbands name dragged by his mother in law . It is not being trated as defamation .
So Again I guess men will be even more confused

#42
bharati
April 29, 2006
09:41 AM

It is very funny to slap a man who refuses to give a life time guarantee to a women.

Puhleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese there are enough cases of men being slapped by wife , mother etc in films. Somtimes we fin dit funny and sometime justified.

In the hum aapke hain kon the real punishjment for that lady who was doing the mental torture to her huband should have been put three years in jail under section 498B IPC ( failed abbement of sucide or sucide ) It is these kind of women who have driven there husbands to sucides she get away with one just tght slap instead of three years in jail whcih that lady deserved . I do not know why you are wasting your sympathy on that mental torturer

#43
bulbul
April 29, 2006
10:03 AM

What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

#44
Kush
URL
May 5, 2006
12:03 PM

"Either we are for resevation for women in parliament but against 30% reservation for men in child custody cases. "

Now I am fully confused!!!

#45
Rahul Doshi
URL
July 14, 2006
02:37 AM

Gr88! All I would congratulations! U found an appropriate name for the group and your ilk belong to - The Great Indian Confused People.

I read your blog today. I seriously think you are in need of some psychological help. Or perhaps you are some kind of voyeur who peeps into peoples bedrooms after the male-folk have left to come to the kind of conclusions and scenarios you present in your stories.

I am confident about the views and opinions I present though I am not so sure about you!

#46
Kush
URL
July 15, 2006
03:21 AM

Rahul Uncle, Read the Ms. Sobha De what she had written in her famous book:-

" Indian men still in 16 th century mind set, where as Indian women far far away than 21st century. It is the time to change the Indian men mind set"

Reality is always hard to digest and truth is always bitter....

Child killing, incresing single parenting system is the voice of today's--"The Great Indian Confused People."



#47
Anon
July 15, 2006
03:24 AM

Hey kush

did any 498a guys be victims in the train. or no. darti mein rakshash ka bhoj kam hoona hai like 498a

#48
Kush
URL
July 15, 2006
03:31 AM

My hiding Ghost auntie, "darti mein rakshash ka bhoj kam hoona hai"---impossible, take it grantee.

Goverment every day teaching do terrorism, supreme court says stop terrorism, but who cares?


Very very right, that may be the reson the LAW like TADA/POTA abolished , Right?

In this country Terrorist have all the Right to do the Terrorism, otherwise why the TADA/POTA had been changed?

Once again :--"The Great Indian Confused People."
- Otherwsie how our Pimp dadhu will earn the money from our ...aunties/uncles?

#49
Anon
July 15, 2006
03:35 AM

U bloodly dowry sucker, family breaker and womaniser. Take control of that fucking tongue, it wags too much like the dogs tail.

Bloody dead stay in the grave and have a good time with maitree bootni

#50
Anon
July 15, 2006
03:38 AM

Pimpis you and your father. for dowry money he killed.

came from a low family that is is in poverty

#51
Righta
URL
July 15, 2006
04:36 AM

Yeh kaisa toofan hein? or is it flatulence

#52
Kush
URL
July 17, 2006
05:34 AM

Hey hiding Ghost auntie..

If your Pimp and prostitutes business had been stopped by my father for that I am not responsible.

Still the question unanswered waht is dowry and waht is streedhan and what is sowry.. or it is your dadagari.

Regarding my father bank statement/marriage Cd allready available in the court. Any time wellcome.

Stop your pimp business, as still we have not thaouth to love the Pimps and prostitutes , my dear hiding Ghost abala auntie...

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