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Aiyyo Aiyya! After The Recent Zomato incident, Mard Khatre Mein Hain?

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Is the recent Zomato incident a gender or caste issue?

This question has divided everyone who’s picked their sides already.

Let me tell you at the outset, I’m supporting Kamraj. The recent Zomato incident is another possible example of how some women make use of material benefit. Of course, there are all kinds of men, but listening to both sides, I’m more inclined to believe Kamraj. It’s unfortunate to see Kamraj’s plight as he has much more, if not everything, to lose here.

He looked mortified and traumatized in his pleas for justice. Why would a highly rated employee who’s been with Zomato for a few years suddenly punch the woman in question and risk his livelihood? Knowing very well she’s in touch with the customer care team and can escalate the issue? It doesn’t make any sense, as that’s a sure-shot way of losing his job. It’s the police’s job to investigate who’s the abuser and victim in this case. I do hope the law is fair and listens to both parties objectively. May truth and justice prevail!

However, the support for Kamraj has exposed the reality of our society. The filth and ugliness of mankind. From being slut-shamed and called a ‘Randi,’ (slut) ‘Pishachini,’ (demon) ‘Soorpankha,’ (a jibe at her bruised nose), Hitesha Chandranee is the new scapegoat for men to bash feminism. Now, all feminists are fake and pseudo. And suddenly, “Mard katrey mein hain” (men are in danger) and “Mard ko bhi dard hota hain” (men feel pain too). So, there’s a dire need for a Men’s Commission to save all Indian men from Indian feminists, right?

But you know what? We are seeing women supporting the men’s commission. Hell, we have a men’s activist named Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj, who fights for mens’ rights? Women, including feminists, are secure in their skin and okay with the idea of a separate Men’s Commission as long as men have a place to fight their case if they’ve been victimized.

So, dear men, please calm your penises!

Feminism is equality and not blindly supporting women. If you don’t listen to both sides of the story objectively, you’re no feminist.

I’ve seen two responses of feminists in the Zomato case. Either they have disassociated themselves from supporting Hitesha Chandranee and offered their support to Kamraj. Or they’ve not picked any side and have left it to the law to make the final judgement. So, who are these ‘fake feminists’ that our Indian men are badmouthing on social media?

Also, where are the men supporting women who’ve been victims of gender-based abuse and violence? They’ll watch like zombies when women are being raped in broad daylight or like voyeurs of such scenes on screen. But they’ll roar like lions on social media when one of their kind is accused, like in the Zomato case between Kamraj and Hitesha Chandranee. You have to give it to men, though, for prioritising their interests at the topmost. We, women, have to learn from our male counterparts how to unite despite all differences and be selfish regarding our self-interests and rights.

Because we still have educated women who proudly claim they are not feminists as if it’s a fashion statement. Worse still, a sneaky opportunity to instigate the majority male population in our country, and get into their good books. These sexist women provoke and mislead them into believing that feminism is an anti-men mob. When the truth is, feminism stands for equal rights.

Feminism is not misandry, as is the popular misconception.

Forget about supporting women’s rights and feminism. Where are these men when there are incidents of caste-based abuse and crimes? People like Kamraj hold no value in our current social fabric. Most of our citizens don’t understand the concept of dignity of labour, and there’s unaddressed and widespread exploitation.

I remember a male relative who visited me at the hospital after my daughter’s birth asked my mother about the nurses and other help. He advised her to make the most of them. “Use them as much as you can!” he winked. Exploit them as much as you can! That was his crooked message.

Why don’t they use the staircase? We’re the ones paying for maintenance?” asked a male neighbour in our apartment who detests the thought of domestic maids, drivers, and the lower economic class using the elevator.

I know another middle-aged couple who’s known for extracting the maximum work in minimum wages from their domestic help. The man, who’s the official head of the house, sits mum, as his wife verbally abuses the maid for the slightest mistake. If the maid is late to make and serve the fatted couple their breakfast, both man and wife join hands to threaten and emotionally blackmail her.

You are poor because it’s your fault. All of you are just so dumb. You deserve this life of poverty,” I heard a rich lady once scream at the top of her lungs at her male house help.

These are not fictional stories. There are countless stories of abuse of the lesser privileged sections of our society.

Are these men sleeping when the abuse of lesser privileged people happens right under their noses in their homes, workplace, and elsewhere? No, they are silent bystanders, if not abusers and enablers. So, yes, I find it a tad amusing that the men have fully exposed themselves in their pursuit for a Men’s Commission in a nation where the crimes against women are the highest in the world.

Representational image.

According to a 2018 global study conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation,

  • India ranks No.1 at sexual violence, human trafficking, culture, and religion against women.
  • India ranks No. 3 at discrimination which includes discrimination against women in daily life like in education, in a job, lack of access to adequate nutrition, property or inheritance rights, etc.
  • India ranks No. 4 for health access and includes maternal mortality, lack of healthcare access, lack of control over reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.
  • India ranks No. 3 at non-sexual violence and includes domestic physical and mental abuse, conflict-related violence comes under non-sexual violence.

We’d have been a country with a majority of women had it not been for sex-selective abortions. It is a barbaric practise that reflects our nation’s sick mindset, which worships Goddesses on one hand for material prosperity and kills its female offsprings for financial savings.

The truth is that we Indians have scant respect for women or people belonging to the so-called ‘lower’ castes.

Still think “Mard katrey mein hain?

Yes?

Well then, Hypocrisy, thy name is Man!

Final Thoughts

Can a man be a victim?

Of course, yes! Even a man or anyone belonging to so-called ‘upper’ castes can be victims. But these are exceptions in the current social landscape of our country. Look at the statistics and the magnitude of crimes against women in our country and the world. There is no comparison.

So, let’s not tear down feminism and caste activism at the slightest opportunity to cover up for our hypocrisy, and lack of empathy, knowledge, and insight into the actual problems that plague our society

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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