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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Laws for women mere paper tigers - Madhu Kishwar - The Times of India

Laws for women mere paper tigers - by Madhu Kishwar- View From Venus - Sunday TOI - Home - The Times of India

One of the great challenges for those concerned with strengthening women's rights in India is the alarming gap between legal prescriptions on women's issues and actual practices prevalent in society. Many people expect that as women become aware of their rights, they will inevitably move in the direction of following "modern laws" enacted for their benefit. However, there is growing evidence that even among the avante-garde elite groups of our country, social behaviour runs contrary to social legislation.

For example, ever since dowry was outlawed in 1961 through the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, the practice has flourished in an unprecedented manner. Wedding expenditures have become more and more lavish. Several new amendments were made to the Act and the Indian Penal Code during the 1980's making dowry giving and taking a cognizable offence. And yet, the practice has spread to regions, castes and communities which did not have any such tradition. The biggest dowry transactions take place among the families of educated elites, especially those in high power positions in the government. High status families consider it an insult to send their daughters off to their husband's home "empty handed."

It is the same story with the law banning the use of sex determination tests (SDTs). In Delhi, SDTs invites jail terms for up to 5 years and a fine up to Rs. 100,000. And yet, the use of sex selective abortions has grown even as the law has been made increasingly stringent. This is obvious from the continuing sharp decline in sex ratio and drop in the birth rate of female babies, especially among the well-off. Doctors in the know tell you that the most persistent and desperate demand for these tests comes from senior government officers.

It is legitimate to ask: Why are these laws not followed by the parliamentarians who make them or by the police officers and judges who are supposed to implement them? I am certain that not one among the militant feminists who have campaigned to get such laws enacted can claim with honesty that in their own family circles they have successfully "abolished" the practice of dowry and in their own community families are not taking recourse to sex selective abortions.

A common response is to attribute the growing gap between social legislation and social practices to hypocrisy and double standards. When a law fails, the tendency is to blame its failure on the laxity of implementation machinery.

That is how all the failed laws are bolstered with more and more draconian provisions, while the original problem remains unsolved. Today, we are witnessing a severe backlash against feminist legislation because most of the draconian laws we have enacted lend themselves to easy misuse while genuine victims rarely manage to get justice through them. This is not to say, I support the present system of dowry, sex selective abortions or other injustices faced by women but simply to underscore the need for a more self critical and socially sensitive approach to legal reform and the need to create appropriate instruments of the state machinery that can implement social legislation with dignity and honesty.

The writer is a professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies

Related links:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

TV Program recording options

Many of us feel the need to record Tv programs which feature our activities and arguments, some of the ways to do it, other than having a conventional Video recoding facility at home are as follows.

There are two video monitoring service providers in mumbai who keeps back-up of popular Tv channels upto 2 weeks or so. There maybe similar services locally to you also, just check up the yellow pages or internet, if not available these mumbai guys can courier the clips to you. The only thing is that its quite expensive(in the range of Rs200 to 250 per clip of half an hour, even if its 1 minute the rate is of half an hour, courier charges will be extra). So you can use this option if there's no other way out locally.

The phone numbers are 1) News Stock Video monitoring services, Mumbai: 9920040986, 9892468552, 022 28677938, 65753191 2) Gold Video monitoring services, Mumbai: 022 24033559, 24025745, 24019755, 9773188556,

Since they keep back-up records of only popular tv channels(popular in mumbai), you have to inform them the program time, channel, etc in advance if you want recordings of non-popular channels, if they know in advance they can tune-in and record any channel I think.

Now a days many channels are uploading content to youtube directly too, so do ask them about this too(for example India Tv programs are uploaded by istreamhindi:, Aajtak:

Also check out they syndicate a lot content, has some zee Tv content online, its not fully updated). Any video which is displayed on your screens can be downloaded by softwares known as 'video grabbers' "video downloaders" , u can search for them in google. I use "replay media catcher" and "Realplayer SP, version 1.0.5" to capture any video displayed on screen.

Also check out this device which is not a Tv tuner card, but kind of a chord which has to be connected from ur Tv to computer and it will record the program in the computer, which can be edited , uploaded, etc.:USB 2.0 To AV Video Audio VHS TV DVD S-video Player Recorder Editor). Another option TV Tuner Cum Digital Vedio Recorder

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Domestic violence affects males, too - Need for Male Studies

To expose the incidences like this(in India especially, where there is a dearth of "Male Research" ) and explore the reasons for it, we need to start instituting research teams(students of sociology, MSWs, etc would be a good-fit) by tying up with reputed universities/colleges like Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS).

So that we can base our awareness programs/arguments on actual India-specific research work(we already have research models to emulate, like the US research which says the bad effect of single parenting on children, available on CRISP website).

FAQ on why Male Studies  (Courtesy

Why “Male Studies” and not “Men’s Studies”?

Male Studies refers to the multidisciplinary study of the male human being, boys and men. Men Studies, by definition, has focused on fully grown men. Male studies will be comprehensive of males of all ages.

How is Male Studies related to Gender Studies?

Male Studies is independent scholarship without ideological ties to Men’s Studies, which emerged within Gender Studies to complement Women’s Studies. Male Studies focuses on the experience of being male and not only behavior (masculinity).

Is Male Studies grounded in one discipline?

No. While Men’s Studies grew out of sociology, Male Studies recognizes that all of the sciences have specialized knowledge about males. Most disciplines have something unique to contribute to understanding the experience of being male. They include anthropology, biology, psychology, medicine, history and education.

Is Male Studies a reaction to other scholarship?

No. Male Studies has emerged out of the conviction that the experience of what it means to be male can be approached while abstaining from cultural and ideological preconceptions about the phenomenon.

Is Male Studies a Western discipline?

No. Male Studies recognizes that while being male has been interpreted in a variety of ways in Western culture, it is experienced differently in different cultures and historical periods. Its goal is to be cross-cultural and international in scope.

Is Male Studies essentialist?

One fundamental question of Male Studies is whether there are essential features of being male. Having a male body is clearly one of them. Male Studies raises the question of whether there are other fundamental features of being male such as an inner experience of being male.

Does one have to identify as a male to engage in Male Studies?

Male Studies is based on the conviction that anyone is in a position to study the male. It is a scholarly discipline and as such is no more limited to work by males than any other discipline such as anthropology, biology, psychology, medicine or history. Males and females have made major contributions to all of these disciplines.

Why has Males Studies emerged at this time?

After thousands of years, previously isolated and independent cultures are now being exposed to each in unprecedented ways by means of the media, including especially television and the internet. Cultures previously divided from one another are meeting in an emerging global culture. Among the basic elements of this culture is the nature of being male. Bracketing ideological commitments is especially important at such a time. Instead, scientific research based on the view that it is important to allow the phenomenon to speak for itself must be given support. Male Studies is one area of such research. The effects of sophisticated technologies (birth control medications, sexual surrogacy) on reproduction are also of primary interest in Male Studies.

How is the concept of being male related to the concepts of gender, masculinity, and manhood?

Concepts of gender—masculinity and femininity—and their cultural institution as manhood and womanhood are of interest to Male Studies, but they are seen as secondary to a phenomenology of being male. Scholars in Male Studies believe that a complementary area of scholarship, Female Studies, would be a welcome addition to the scientific study of human beings.

What is the relation of Male Studies to misandry?

As a human science, Male Studies is opposed to the hatred of other human beings based on their genetic make-up, including misogyny (the hatred of females because they are female) and misandry (the hatred of males because they are male). It is opposed to hatred of a group of human beings based on sexual genetic variations (for example, Turner’s Syndrome or Kleinfelter’s Syndrome) or genetic variations leading to a unique physical habitus (for example, dwarfism). It is opposed to hatred of individuals based on their behavioral style, sexual preference or religious conviction. There is now a body of research, however, that suggests the presence of an unacknowledged underlying theme of misandry in popular culture, in recent legislation (international and national), and in academe. Male Studies is concerned to confirm or refute this research.

What are some topics of Male Studies?

As an emerging discipline, the topics of Male studies are only now being identified. Several topics are clearly of interest to scholars in the discipline: the documented deterioration of boys’ engagement and performance in education at all levels, and the remarkable extent of suicide among males as compared to females. Certain psychological disorders that are for the most part identified in young males deserve our attention. They include learning disabilities, conduct disorders (including violence against females and other males), and depression (which is often masked as irritability or lack of involvement in activities of everyday life). In the technology-dominated culture of the West, the declining numbers of males entering and completing tertiary education must be explained.

Also check out the first international symposium on Male Studies(you can register for its webcast -April 7, 2010 ) -

Monday, January 04, 2010

Friday, January 01, 2010

Govt plans punitive action against filing false FIRs

A moderately welcome news recently(Ms.Ruchika case effect) is the news that any complaint should be converted into an FIR. So at least in theory now the husbands who are threatened of false cases and extortion, etc can lodge FIRs for sure.

But who is going to implement this, and in case of wives/women misusing women-protection laws who is going to check the verity of each complaint(false FIRs attract 10 years of imprisonment, so says the upcoming Cr.PC amendment, read the news in detail below), who decides this?, police?, really?, our inefficient and buck-passing police?.

But yes this is progress, definite progress, from nothing to something, now its our duty too to ensure that the implementation of these useful changes in law.

News in Detail- Govt plans punitive action against filing false FIRs

PTI 29 December 2009, 07:46pm IST. Original report courtesy : TOI

NEW DELHI: Government is contemplating an amendment in the CrPC providing for a maximum of 10 years imprisonment to any individual who registers a false FIR at a police station.

Official sources said the government hopes this would act as a deterrent on those who file false and fabricated FIRs against anyone for vested interests and to score personal points.

The proposed move bears significance in view of the fact that the Government has decided to ask all state governments and Union Territories to treat all complaints as First Information Reports (FIRs).

Sources said the government feels that even if a complaint is false, police have to investigate it after registering the FIR.

"If the complaint is found to be false, police can always drop the FIR and can take punitive action against the complainant," an official said.

Do Men Benefit From Being the Norm?

Do Men Benefit From Being the Norm?

Also a related article "Male Disposability – Myth or Reality"

Gillette’s mischievous lazy stub ad falls flat!

Gillette’s mischievous lazy stub ad falls flat!

Listen to the radio clip, in the above post.