Sunday, August 22, 2010

Men in India

 *Disclaimer* What I write is based of what I hear or see. But I don’t know many men personally in this country {Three, actually} to generalize and say all are like this. I do know that this is a problem in India, it does occur and that it should be addressed. So until I have money or power or the ability to help in some big way, I am going to you readers about this issue. And maybe you can throw out a little prayer to the ones who have to deal with such people day in and day out.

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Hate is a strong word, especially when I’m generalizing in this post. So I’ll have to say I highly dislike the men of India. Old men, young men, middle men. Etcetera etcetera.

Most of India is poor. Last time I checked, over forty percent of the population was below the poverty line. The rich keep getting richer and the poor even poorer. They are uneducated and many of them don’t know the importance of getting an education. Or maybe they know do, but they also know that an even if they pass their tenth standard exams they can’t afford college; and a shot at a better life. So they stay illiterate. What’s the point, right? The government schools aren’t any good. To their credit they have started a mid-day meal program here to encourage parents to send their kids to school. A free meal and a free education. Most just come for the meal. Otherwise they won’t get anything at home.

However, I can’t accredit education and illiteracy for the behavior of many of the married men in this country. Even the educated or wealthy ones {these two are not related} act like such jerks. It drives me insane. The way they treat their wives here is so upsetting.

Will you believe me if I told you on the way to school I saw a man kicking a woman in the face in broad daylight? She was on the ground and I couldn’t tell that what he was kicking was actually a who until later, after it set in. I say his wife because people don’t get involved with husband-wife relationships. Even if it has to do with domestic violence. Maybe if they were boyfriend-girlfriend. The police generally do not get involved. Fortunately, the times are changing, and I hope they’re changing in this regard as well. So I assumed it was his wife because people were walking around them, not really offering help to the woman.

My experience with them is next to nothing. I know about them through the stories of many women. And I’m very grateful that I don’t have to deal with them. But it sucks because so many women out there do.

I might not know much but I do know that something’s not right when the maid will come to work with a swollen face and blue and black bruises on her arms and legs.

I will know something's not right when she comes with cuts on her face and walks with a limp.

I will know something's not right when a man desert his wife {even the educated class, including doctors and engineers & lawyers} when she gives birth to a daughter instead of a son. This has happened to a few people we know, actually. And it really sucks. I mean, REALLY? Are you really blaming your wife?? Some men don’t leave their wives. They just make them have baby after baby until they have a son. Sons here are considered valuable, because after marriage the daughter goes off to her husband’s family, while the son stays with his wife and takes care of his parents. Interesting tangent: Sex determination is illegal in India because most of the time they couple will go for an abortion in the case of a girl. India has more males than females.

I will know something isn’t right when my maid tells me her husband spends most of the money on booze and he cannot sleep without it. If there is no money for booze, he cannot sleep. No one is allowed to sleep that night either because he was denied “his right”. No one is allowed to sit. They have to stand all night long. It’s ridiculous. He does not work. He sends his wife and daughters out to earn and takes it all. But this fact must be hidden from the extended family. It’s still looked down on here if the women of the household must work. It looks bad on the man’s part. It’s seen as if he can’t earn and provide for them. Random tangent: my mother is generally not old school but still feels this way and would not let me get a job in the mall in high school. She said I’m not allowed to work until I get a proper college education and a “dignified” job.

I can’t speak for many of them and I know that there are good and bad people everywhere. The good tends to outweigh the bad and I tend to see the glad half empty on certain issues. But why don’t people get involved to stop such actions? Why don’t I get involved? The thing is, a divorced woman here will have a hard time remarrying. Sad but true. Since she is most likely illiterate she won’t be able to support herself, earning a maximum of 1,200 rupees a month as a full time maid. Twenty-five dollars and some cents. Will her family take her back or will they be shamed that they have a divorced daughter?

But I will not be sensitized to these horrible incidents. But it’s still going to make me unhappy after hearing story after tragic story. It’s not something I’ve gotten used to these past five years. And I don’t plan on getting used to it. So for these reasons I hate the men here in general. It’s not fair for me to do so, but I will.

There are good men out there, too. There are men who work so so hard to earn an honest living. They work long hours, come home dead tired, but still have time to spend with their families. They do everything they can to make their kids smile. {This information I have gathered from Bollywood films} Men here are also family oriented. They respect their parents and blood ties aren’t severed so quickly.Children are safe in the hands of men here. Pedophilia isn’t as rampant as it is in the States.

The prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, “The best among you is he who is best to his wife.” In many cultures men are seen as the protectors of women. But who does one turn to if their protector has deserted them?

I am so grateful that I my father is the way he is. I'm grateful to have someone who loves his family, does what he can to give them financial and emotional security. I'm glad to have someone in my life who goes out of his way to keep his kids and family happy.

I feel bad after writing this. I really do. I don’t know many men here and my opinion of them are solely based off stories I hear from friends, family, the maids and a few observations. People tend to talk when there’s something amiss and the boring happy stories are usually ignored. Happy gossip isn’t as juicy as sad gossip, you know. So this is based off what I hear and have observed, but I can be wrong about them. I hope I am, but I honestly don’t think so.


Jaz said...

I can't believe that story about the man kicking his wife in the middle of the street!

C said...

Asalaamu alaikum

This is horrible and after reading White Tiger I can believe it. Is it just the hindu men or the muslim men too? Aren't there any organizations for women there? I'm sure if you try you can find a way to help. I always heard that the reason they don't want girls is because for hindus and many muslims follow this for some reason, the girls have to pay the dowry to the man. This is crazy and I can't believe they have this idea that the woman is someone the family has to get rid of and that she is so low she has to bribe a guy to marry her. As for the woman being blamed for having a girl they sound like Henry the Eighth...but hello this is 2010 and every man should know by now that the gender is determined by the man not the woman. And for that they should get an education!

.::Tuttie::. said...

its changing alhamdulillah. The women are standing up for themselves and the men are listening.

regarding C's comments about which men are doing it, it doesn't matter the religion. A crooked person will take any and every excuse to commit his injustice.

May Allah swt guide them all to the truth and give them and us hidayah. ameen.

The Kid In The Front Row said...

Thank you for writing this. I don't know if you realize how important and relevant your blogs are. They cut to the hard truth in ways the media really doesn't -- and I am thankful for the honest accounts you give.

Even when you speak of not having much contact yourself with men, or not being a 100% sure; these are important facts.

The voice of women can often be oppressed and silenced; especially in India it seems. I am so happy that you are speaking out, and that other women are standing up for themselves. Please keep doing what you're doing. Your awareness, your thoughts and your words are important to India and the World.

ZimimeXoxo said...

I have heard of that - Alhamdoullilah, Moroccan guys ( From what i've seen ) don't beat their women or care if they have a girl or boy. And the men that want boys so badly : The Prophet pbuh ONLY had daughters - Allah never let his sons live past the age of 2 - The best of human kind had NO sons, Do you consider yourselves BETTER deserving of a son then him ? This is so jahiliya ! On judgement day girls who were burried alive will ask their parents '' Why did you kill me ? What did I do ? '' . Do you want to be asked ', Why did you leave me ? what did I do ? '' . Astaghfirullah, Poverty is the problem too , I understand why someone would want a son. But we should strive for the Akhirah not Dunya.

Anonymous said...

i think this post was really eye opening.

you really need an editor.

ZINAH said...

that is so horrible :( may Allah protect all sisters in the world!

Mashallah, what a lovely blog :)

feel free to check my blog:

Ramadan Kareem

MarjnHomer said...

you shouldnt let a few rotten apples spoil the bunch.

controlled chaos said...

Marj n Homer...only problem is you have more than just a few rotten apples..more like a there's only a few good apples...or fewer at least

Falling Up said...

Regardless of how many bad apples there are out there, it affects the whole family. The sons grow up to imitate their fathers. It's a vicious cycle.

Thank God things are starting to slowly change, but mainly in the rich {aka forward thinking} households. Unfortunately, that leaves out the majority of India.

Religion is not a factor, but I know the dowry system comes from Hinduism and that Muslims in India have adopted it. I know in some sects of Hinduism women are treated like property, as women from other cultures and eras have been treated.

I'm sure there are support groups for women here. But regardless of whether you're married or not, to walk out of a relationship is way easier said than done.

PI said...

thank you for writing about this. i wish it was talked about more and i hate a lot of our culture forreal

Wael - said...

I'm not going to address the larger issues of misogyny and abuse in Indian culture. I'm not qualified. But I do think that it's an important issue and you should continue to write about your experiences and observations.

I do want to speak up for Indian men, or at least for one Indian man. I have an old high school friend who is now a doctor. His family owns a hospital in a small town in Kerala, India. He has a wife and three children. He is the most gentle, soft-spoken man you will ever meet. His name is Fuad, and that's appropriate because he has a kind heart, a soft heart. He is a good man, one of the best I know.

I'm denying anything that you wrote in your article. I just want to point out that it's not all bleak, there are many good men.

Rationality said...

Hi there Falling up;

How are you doing gurl?
I’ve read the first two paragraphs of your post since you post it but I did not have the time to reply and read it all. I’ve been busy with Ramadan and Eid too. But I got back now :)

Great post anyway although it’s deeply tragedy. Somehow the stories you’ve mentioned made me feel bad. I always sympathize with women and weak people in general who I consider their lives like an absolute agony *sighs* May Allah help them.

Not only Indian men are practicing the domestic violence, we inhabit such negative masculine realm, and that happens even here in UAE (United Arab Emirates) I had wrote a post discussing the same issue.
When the husbands beat their wives, always wives choose not to speak up against the abuse they have suffered, for fear of divorced losing their children and being of neighborhood gossips so they face new agony.

My country offered some solutions helping them but I don’t think that help enough.
Take a look plz :)

The only worse thing you mentioned in India and it’s not allowed to happen in here is that no one intervenes when it comes to violence between spouses! How on earth Indian men see such scenes and just walk ignoring!

And yes unfortunately you are not mistaken BUT the good and bad ones are available everywhere.
Kind regards:)